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Ten tips for a less stressful Christmas with children

Posted 1st December, 2018
Looking back over 2018...

For many families, Christmas really is the most magical time of the year. Having children of your own can often bring back those feelings of wonder, delight and merriment you felt as a child yourself and can reinvigorate a love of all things festive.

But there’s no denying Christmas with young ones is incredibly tough. Whether you’re spending it alone with just you and the children, whether you’re hosting, or whether you’re visiting family and friends, there’s a lot of pressure to make everything ‘perfect’.

It’s easy to feel buried under a mountain of to do lists, recipes, wrapping paper and unwritten cards, that’s why we’ve put together our top ten tips for making this Christmas as stress-free as possible.

  1. Write lists (you can even check them twice if you like!): Santa knows what he’s doing when it comes to Christmas so taking a leaf out of his book and making a list can help you get more organised. Knowing how many presents you have left to buy, what aisles to head to in the supermarket or even what you’re doing each day of the holidays can really help you feel on top of things.
  2. Cut corners: If you’re a real Nigella or Jamie in the kitchen then you may relish the thought of spending hours preparing a totally handmade feast, but if you’re not then there’s no shame in buying ready-made custard or stuffing, vegetables already peeled and chopped or cartons of soup to help limit the amount of cooking you need to do.
  3. Head online: The beauty of online shopping is you can do it during the 2am feed, the 6am early wake up, the 3pm nap or any time or place you want! It doesn’t involve dragging a totally uninterested baby or toddler to the nearest shopping centre and you don’t even need to get out of your pyjamas. Take the stress out of present buying and food shopping by doing it all online this year!
  4. Open their presents before they do: Remember the agony of having to wait ages for your present to have all the tags removed, batteries inserted and small parts fixed together? It’s so much easier if you get all of that done before you wrap them, meaning they can start playing with their toys as soon as they’re ripped the paper off.
  5. Cards v charity: Many people these days are opting to give a charity donation instead of sending cards. If your children are the type to want to sit and scribble something for Aunt Ethel then by all means keep them occupied for an hour ‘writing’ your cards for you, but if they’re not then opting out of the cards can give you less to do.
  6. Wrapping service: If wrapping anything other than a standard square shaped present brings you out in a sweat, then seek out somewhere nearby offering a wrapping service! Sometimes these are run by charities so you can simply give a donation and have everything wrapped neatly for you.
  7. Create a bucket list: To avoid boredom setting in either before or after the big day, why not make a list of all the things you’d like to do as a family? The list can include really simple ideas like watching a film under a blanket, making hot chocolate, baking some cookies or enjoying a walk – but if you’re ever stuck for something to do you can refer to the list rather than enduring cries of ‘I’m bored’!
  8. Help or distract: Children are likely to do one of two things – either they’ll be desperate to help or they’ll create chaos if allowed anywhere near where the Christmas preparation is taking place! Decide early on which they are and either set an age-appropriate task or prepare lots of activities to distract them while you’re busy.
  9. Don’t change the routine: You might feel tempted to throw yourself into something like potty training, dummy weaning or dropping a nap if you’re off work over Christmas. However if you’ve already got lots going on and you’re feeling overwhelmed, then it may be worth re-evaluating whether now’s the right time. There’s no harm in holding off until the new year if not.
  10. Take time out: For some this might be tricky but if you have the means to take a break, whether it’s nipping out for a coffee without children in tow, enjoying a bath or reading a book, do try and get some ‘me time’ to help reset your batteries and help you approach the rest of the festivities feeling a little less stressed!

Happy holidays from all at ABC!