Much as we love Christmas, there’s no denying stress levels can go through the roof in the lead-up to the big day. We spoke to the experts to find out what you can do now to avoid a festive flip-out…
1. Start end of November with a big clear-out, so you’re not drowning in clutter by the time Christmas Day comes. Involve your children in bagging up toys, clothes and gadgets, then visit the charity shop or recycling centre together. 😇
2. Have a family meeting to compile a present list of everyone you need to buy for including friends, extended family, teachers, tutors, etc. Discuss whether to buy or make a gift for each. Order a Personalised ‘masterpiece’ stamp, as children love putting their name on homemade gifts and cards:
And how about giving a more original gift than chocolates to your teacher this year? Club together with another parent to buy a Personalised ‘Well done’ teacher stamp.
3. Give your kids a deadline for submitting their present lists to you/Father Christmas. There’s nothing worse than feeling smug that you’ve completed all your shopping early, only to receive a ‘letter to Santa’ with desperate pleas for an entirely different set of presents. 😵
4. Why do schools only ever tell you about ‘Christmas Jumper Day’ the week before? Buy your kids’ Christmas jumpers NOW before all the best ones sell out. If you’ve accidentally left it to the last minute, use the ‘order by midnight’ service from Next for next-day delivery to your home or local store.*
5. If you have a noisy toddler, then avoid the embarrassment of them sabotaging your older child’s Christmas assembly by doing a childcare swap with a fellow mum. Leave your little one behind so you can relax and enjoy your older child’s performance.
6. Chunk it down. Before you start to feel overwhelmed by that ever-growing mountain of things to do, jot everything down, then break it into smaller, more manageable tasks.
7. We know they always nag for a chocolate advent calendar but are you sure you want to start each day with the kids on a sugar high? Try hiding the calendar and bringing it out after school each day, or give them a non-edible calendar with gifts instead.
8. Delegate your Christmas card-writing to older children and they could even help with present-wrapping too. Play some cheesy Christmas music to get them in the mood. If you want to minimise the Christmas admin further you could purchase a Personalised Christmas Stamp!
9. Plan your on-line Christmas food order at the start of December, so you can simply input your list into your chosen supermarket’s website a week before the big day. Some supermarkets allow you to book your delivery slot up to three weeks in advance at Christmas.
10. To avoid a present mix-up, use red Father Christmas wrapping paper for ‘stocking gifts’ and a different gift-wrap for ‘under the tree’ presents. Remember to hide the roll of Father Christmas wrapping paper from little eyes – or risk being caught out! 🎅🏻
11. To avoid sibling rivalry, spread each child’s presents out on your bed before wrapping to check you have a fairly equal number for each. Younger children don’t understand that some gifts are higher in value than others.
12. Once the Christmas holidays start, adjust routines but don’t drop them completely. Even in the holidays, children still need structure and rules.
13. Make sure you get them outside in the fresh air for a walk or a trip to the park every day. See if a relative will pop out with them on Christmas Day to give you and your partner/husband time to prepare the Christmas dinner.
14. Avoid pester-power during Christmas outings by giving each child a small amount of money to spend as they choose. This should scupper constant pleas for random souvenirs or junk food. Bring your own supply of water and snacks and emphasise beforehand that the real ‘treat’ is the outing itself.
15. If things do go wrong on Christmas Day – the dinner turns to charcoal or Trivial Pursuit ends in a family bust-up – remember to keep it in perspective. It won’t ruin the children’s memory of Christmas and you’ll no doubt see the funny side by New Year’s Eve (or be too merry to care 🍷)
Thanks to our expert panel:
• Nöel-Janis Norton, Director of Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting, www.calmerparenting.co.uk
• Jenni Donato, life and family coach, www.chancecoaching.com
• Janey Holiday, mindset coach, www.janeyholliday.com
*subject to conditions