Christmas can be stressful for many of us, but especially parents. You want Christmas to be good for your kids, then you have to balance your job, managing various family members, pets, buying presents decorating the house and maybe you want to have some Christmas fun yourself!! - But how are you supposed to get it all done?
Well, I can't promise to solve all your festive problems, but here are the 10 top tips that I always bear in mind to get me through the festive season.
Then post them by the 2nd December. Yeh right! OK, I don't often get them done on 1st December but you will feel a whole big weight off your shoulders if you get them written in the frst week of December. You can check out the UK Last Posting Dates here.
You don’t have to spend exactly the same amount on every child in the family. If you buy one child just one expensive item, don’t buy the others lots of small presents to equalise the cost. The one who gets only one present will feel cheated. If you must, at least try to make it look like they get several gifts even if you only wrap something separately like the charger or a pack of batteries (not recommended for younger kids though). This leads onto….
Spending money you don’t have is a sure-fire way to make Christmas and next year stressful. Presents work on the ‘80/20 Rule’. The kids will spend 80% of their time playing with 20% of their presents, so a lot of extra money spent doesn’t go a long way. These are some more tips for how not to overspend this Christmas.
How long are the shops shut over Christmas? Most supermarkets are only closed for one day, and if you live in an area with a diverse ethnicity many shops will open for a few hours on Christmas day too. You end up spending lots of money on food no one wants but everyone feels obliged to eat up.
Because your doctor’s surgery probably will be closed for a few days over Christmas.
Make sure that at least one parent shows up to each nativity play, carol singing or Christmas concert. If need be, rope in grandparents, aunties etc. to provide a friendly face. Because if no-one shows up for a child’s big moment it really hurts.
Newsflash! Brussels sprouts don’t go off if you buy them a couple of days before Christmas! Also, the assisants in your local supermarket will be sniggering at you if you get hysterical because they have sold out of mince pies by lunchtime on Christmas Eve. (I can speak from experience here, having worked one Christmas at a well know British chain store. People got really nasty with us when there were no mince pies. Really.)
Or make sure you charge up plenty of rechargeable ones. Otherwise there will be tears before bedtime. And whatever you do, never take the batteries out of the smoke alarm to put in a toy. Here are some more Christmas safety tips.
Life isn’t perfect. Is the rest of the year perfect? Forget what all those TV ads say about making Christmas 'perfect'. In the words of that great philosopher, Elsa from Frozen, Let It Go. The world will not stop turning if dinner is late or your decor doesn't look like an interior design magazine.
Yes, even if you didn’t get them one of this year’s must-have toys. Unless you have brought them up to be totally materialistic and mercenary, in which case you deserve all you get.
About eParenting: eParenting was started by Jacqui O'Brien in 2004. At the time her kids were 1 and 4 and kept her nice and busy. Now they are teenagers and still keeping her pretty busy!