Once upon time in a cottage with a white picket fence there lived a perfect family of four (mother, father and the pigeon pair son & daughter). They would sit around the piano singing Christmas carols, decorate the tree in perfect harmony and play Christmas chara… ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!
With the joy of Christmas also comes the at times overwhelming weight of expectation. The perfect gift, the perfectly cooked turkey, the perfect table setting and of course the perfect family. Christmas brings with it unique stresses and pressures
Christmas shopping – The elusive search for the perfect gift, meeting the perfect budget amongst the less than perfect Christmas crowds. Can you feel your blood pressure rising?? Online shopping can be your greatest friend or having a Secret Santa with your family, so you are only responsible for one gift. I have a friend with a large family who all buy to a theme (games, pjs, books). Work out what works for you and your family.
Christmas food – There are often long held family traditions around Christmas food (including the long-held tradition of Mum and Dad arguing over the cooking time of the turkey – every Christmas without fail!!!). It is OK to create your own traditions or even try something new. This year we are having a traditional Christmas ham but also having duck from the The Good Fortune Duck house (picking it up freshly cooked Christmas morning!).
Christmas traditions – We all have our own family traditions that are unique and special. Even with this in mind Christmas will still come even if you forgo a tradition. My family has always done Christmas stockings, my husband’s family does not. We have tried to amalgamate the families and adopt the stocking tradition but it didn’t work. The compromise we do stockings with my family Christmas morning and see my husband’s family in the afternoon, maybe not the perfect big happy family but the lack of discomfort and muttering is worth the compromise.
Christmas catch-ups -We often feel a sense of pressure that we must catch up and celebrate with everyone prior to the end of the year. That our friendships may somehow expire without the obligatory end of year/Christmas catch up. I can speak from experience that friendships do not expire in a puff of smoke on New Year’s Eve. If you don’t manage a catch up, a catch up scheduled for the new year can in fact be more relaxing and enjoyable!!
And finally on the stress-o-metre
Christmas children – Without a doubt one of the most joyful aspects of Christmas but also…………. The grimace when Great Aunt Gerta’s hand knitted underpants are unwrapped, the frenzy of present opening, the meltdowns – the joy that is Christmas. You can’t control all aspects of the day, pace yourself and help the kid space themselves too. Anticipate challenges (Great Aunt Gerta’s gift!) and help the kids create a script. If all else fails the new year is just around the corner and Christmas will come again next year!
DISCLAIMER: We now have our own white picket fence (and pigeon pair plus one more), but certainly not the perfect family status.