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  • Writer's pictureEliza

Managing the Christmas Madness

Hello fellow Mum. I see you there and if you are anything like me there is a certain terror which accompanies the excitement of Christmas. To do lists double in size and the school messages come thick and fast. It is an overwhelming time of year for everyone. I say this from a parent and teachers perspective but also can see my 7 year old getting slowly more and more tired and more and more grouchy!

Over the years I have found a few hacks. Things which have made life manageable. Some ideas are magpied and where I can reference I will. Others have been picked up over the years and are now somewhat routine. I join many thousands of internet writers telling the world their hacks to an easy life. But don't believe a word. These hacks won't make it simple but they will make it simpler than it would have been otherwise. Realistic expectations to set now, which I hope mean you won't (as I am wont to do) blame yourself if it still somehow seems tough after the latest miracle cure fed to you on the internet.

  1. Simplify gifts for family and friends. After a few years of trying to find the perfect gift for everyone from various different shops I have now settled on something far more manageable. All family members (we tend to do children only in our families) get a book and stocking filler. I can scroll World of Books to my hearts content to find the best book for each person but they all come from one site and one delivery. I am a big believer that you can never have too many books but of course they are easily passed on after use. Stocking fillers I tend to pick up through the year or take a look on the Rex London website which has lots of sweet, fun things which their parents will love like slime and mini catapults!

  2. Freeze that food and decide on 'good enough'. My husband is a vicar and as such Christmas Day is a working day. Like many others getting a full roast in can be tricky. I should also add he is a vegan. The last couple of years have worked best when I have said 'it's ok' to myself in regards to getting a fancy meal into the family. This year I have frozen parsnips, frozen sprouts, frozen yorkshire puddings, frozen roasties.... etc. It's not gourmet but for us the sacrifice of time cooking something Masterchef style was too great. It happened at the expense of family time. The best hacks can simply be giving yourself permission to look at what is 'good enough' and fighting that perfectionist mentality.

  3. Work that Diary. Emails, texts, events. It all happens in December. The flurry or parent messages about Christmas jumper days, non-uniform days, productions, assemblies, sponsored events, Christmas dinner days. It can feel very overwhelming. I can often be tempted to turn a blind eye to the many messages flooding the inbox but please don't! Little and often is the way. I take a leaf out of my husbands book and spend toilet time on my phone diarising. Perhaps too much info for you all but my goodness it helps to keep on top of everything!

  4. Set a rule for children's gifts. Over the years I have always worried that I haven't got my children enough. I don't know why because I hate to buy into the capitalist ideas about gift giving and worthiness. The last few years I decided to get ahead and set boundaries around gifts. My Mum shared a rhyme she sometimes used and I thought it was genius. I am unsure of its original source so please let me know if you find out so I can credit the creator. It goes like this:

5. Remember you. Perhaps one I have most overlooked in the past. During the day I know I will need time to myself. The socialising, wrangling children, cooking, tidying, excitement and fun are great. I, as an introvert, can only do so much before the battery is depleted and needs to recharge. Nap- time, Christmas movie time, afternoon lull time - take time if you need it. Respect your mind and body.

It is Christmas for you too and that means doing what you need to do to enjoy it fully.

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