By Parenting Expert Holly Zoccolan, Founder of the Carol app
As parents, we are expected to do a lot at Christmas and this can ultimately lead to Christmas Overwhelm. We put so much pressure on ourselves to make sure Christmas is perfect for their little ones and it’s exhausting. From decorating the house inside and outside, spending more money than anticipated and making sure each gift is perfectly wrapped, all 500 cards are written for the kids’ entire school, friends and family, planning Christmas activities, events, organising the food – where does all the food fit into the fridge/freezer? The list goes on..
Christmas is a special time for families and friends to get together and have some quality time together but can also be stressful depending on family dynamics, family drama and making sure you see everyone on the list. Here are some tips to help reduce Christmas overwhelm and try to reduce the pressure on yourself, especially this year when things feel a little more unsettled in general.
Make your own Family Traditions
The most important thing you can do for yourself during the festive period is say no to things that you don’t want to do or that won’t fit into your schedule. It’s the most freeing thing you can do! Saying yes to everyone is exhausting and from my own experience from a split family with a lot of different people to see who are living all over the place, saying no to the things you don’t want to do frees up so much mental space – especially with little ones. Driving to and from so many different houses in one day is exhausting, never mind with toddlers/babies/being pregnant! I remember one Christmas a few years ago we ended up driving to 5 different family members’ houses on Christmas Day and since then it’s been a firm no!
Making your own family traditions means that you do what you want to do with your family and it makes it that much more enjoyable!
Discuss the Jobs!
Sharing the jobs around the family means that you don’t end up doing everything yourself! For example, ask your other half to do the Christmas cards with the kids while you organise the presents, ask your husband to share the cooking with you and get the whole family involved in decorating the tree! Making it more of an activity as opposed to an annoyance.
Create your Budget and Stick to It
We all know that the cost of living has increased significantly this year, so having honest conversations with family about whether you need to buy everyone presents and if it’s necessary considering things are a little tighter this year. Make your budget and stick to it – don’t get me wrong I do love Christmas but purely for spending time with loved ones, I do find the spending on gifts that you know either a- won’t be used or b- is just to give a gift, to be a waste of money, especially if you are conscious of consumerism. Being more mindful of gifts is important not only for costs and budget but also for the planet, too!
Have a think about what each person would like and keep your budget in mind. Spending a certain amount on your children, your other half, parents and siblings helps you to stick to what you want to spend. Get creative too, creative gifts that you and the kids make together are often much cheaper!
Make sure you have some time for you
Making just 5 minutes a day for you can be a gamechanger. Ask your other half to take the kids to the park for 5 minutes, take a bath when they have gone to bed or wake up a little earlier to have your coffee in peace. Making time for yourself is so important especially at this time of year!
And remember, you aren’t alone! We’re in this together mums!