Preparing for the festivities can be a real nightmare. As the holidays come in, the children get more and more excited, as a parent we are worrying about bills, getting time off for the holidays, making time to catch up with family and friends and still organising the perfect family get together.
But this year I am determined to turn the nightmare of Christmas preparations into a wonderful family bonding session and perhaps we will even play “truth or dare” and learn some unbecoming, yet insightful truths about each other. I shall also endeavour not to be disappointed by the children’s whining when they discover what they got for Christmas is not exactly what they had hoped for. Christmas Eve, I will turn into a lesson on the true meaning of Christmas for the younger children (I must research now) and the Christmas Eve service a strict lesson in discipline. Things shall all be merry and festive - This below is my strategy.
During the lead-up to Christmas the children are looking forward to the festivities as you get more stressed about how to keep them well entertained. But recently I remembered how my mother used to get us all involved by recruiting us to help with the preparations. Even young children can be of some help. You could ask or if necessary, insist that your children to help you with cleaning up, polishing tables, cutting up vegetables, laying the table etc.
Even teenagers, who can be the most difficult to handle with their constant demands, can help.They can help by wrapping presents, with cooking and baking, which despite the initial grumbling and complaining, everyone will actually enjoy.
The Christmas presents can be another source of frustration for me. I try to manage my children’s expectations so they do not take the gifts they get for granted. My ultimate purpose is to teach them to be grateful. Young children these days can receive so many presents that I think that in some cases it gets somewhat ridiculous.They start unwrapping the carefully wrapped presents in such a hurry without actually looking at or even appreciating what they have. All the effort of finding the right presents and hours wrapping them up and it’s all over, seemingly in seconds!
Whatever your views or religion, if you are going to celebrate Christmas you should explain to your children exactly why it is celebrated and why we exchange presents. Even if you are not a regular church goer, young children often enjoy watching a crib service at your local church. Explain to them before you enter that there will be no running around or climbing or standing on the pews and they must remain quiet unless they are singing or joining in the prayers.
And finally, how about asking your children to really get into the spirit of Christmas by sorting out some of their old toys, cleaning them up and taking them to the local hospital or children’s home.
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!