22nd November 2017
Dashing through the snow, on a one horse open sleigh……..is it too early for Christmas songs??
Of course it’s not – come on peeps don’t be like the Grinch lol!
I AM READY!!
I want to get my tree out, the lights on, stoke the fire (ok I don’t actually own a fire but it sounds good doesn’t it!),
Pour the hot chocolate (or mulled wine mmmmm!!) and embrace the festive season full on!!
Don’t we all?
Actually no some of us don’t.
For many reasons Christmas can be a stressful time whether that’s’ due to personal circumstances, bank balances (or lack of), the excessive commercialisation of it all, the pressure to create the perfect day/season, family gatherings, sensory issues……….the list really can go on and on.
So, for some, people like me (who just can’t get enough Christmas) we can come across as blooming annoying!!
Now, I’m not going to pretend the whole Christmas thing always goes as planned because hey ho, things happen.
I remember a particularly lovely Christmas day where I had a 4 week old baby, a toddler with sickness and diarrhoea and a 4 year old who had received the most annoying bloody baby doll that screamed, pee’d and was just generally frigging irritating – word of caution to those thinking about it for your little one this Christmas – DON’T DO IT!!
Anyway, that morning I cried as I cleared up spew and crap, tried to attach a screaming baby to my boob and in that moment couldn’t decide who was going out the window first. (Of course I would have chosen the blooming scream doll – honest!)
There have been the times I’ve spent ages picking the perfect presents for them to play more with the cardboard box than the gift.
The all mighty temper tantrums at the dinner table in front of the whole extended family… this is when I wanted thrown out the window.
Anyway, I’ve done my dues of crappy and also fabby Christmas’s and I thought it only fair I share some of this wisdom (ha ha, yeah, me and wisdom are not usually in the same sentence!) with you all.
So, I’ve created some tips, links and big no no’s for you! I hope they help your festive season go with a swing, twirl and a giggle!
Tips and big No-No’s:
ASK FOR HELP – Grandparents, families and friends will love to help out. Let them have some quality time with your little ones while you wrap presents, put up your decorations, prepare food for the big dinner. Or even better, get them to bring an item or course for dinner. You don’t have to do it all yourself.
Wrapping is definitely best left until babes are in bed or safely with granny. Totally trust me on this, I’m talking from experience. Picture the scene, an infant, a toddler and pre-schooler, lots of wrapping paper, sellotape, marker pen and a mummy who looked away for 2 seconds – honestly it really can’t have been more than that. Lost infant – assumed wrapped by toddler, lost sofa – assumed wrapped by pre-schooler and toddler with a beautiful marker stained face that did not wash off for a week!! PLEASE ASK FOR HELP!!
DON’T ALTER THEIR ROUTINE TOO MUCH – so this was probably a bit silly, but I once thought it was a good idea to put them to bed early on Christmas eve so the big man could get sorted and set up early. BIG MISTAKE!! They tag teamed for hours and the big man nearly fell asleep on the sofa with his night cap (it might have been 2 or 3 night caps – I don’t recall) ok, he maybe did fall asleep for a bit and had to get the pressie haul set up in the middle of the night. It can be difficult to stick to your normal routines and you won’t always be able or want to – its good to throw caution to the wind sometimes but just remember babies and toddlers generally don’t take well to it, so try to keep some normality over the festive season.
DO NOT WAKE THEM – This is a new one for me and maybe not relevant until you have teenagers like me. Walking a sleeping teen singing jingle bells and trying to drag them up to see if the big man has been does NOT go down well!! Honestly don’t try it! It makes for a fun old day with a grumpy teen. I suppose it really applies to all, young and old. Let them waken on their own and they will be ready and excited to greet the day. And if you have a voice like a ‘strangled crow’ (their words not mine) definitely don’t sing them awake with jingle bells.
CHRISTMAS CAN BE A HUGE SENSORY OVERLOAD – For many, especially infants and toddlers the whole Christmas thing can be a huge sensory overload.
Having had a child with SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) this can be a difficult time of year for them. All the lights, smells and sounds are different and unfamiliar. There are new things hanging and sitting in your houses in the form of flashing lights, trees and decorations. Routines can be broken with parties, visiting and festive jollies.
And let’s not forget the meeting of this huge big red, hairy man. Obviously we can’t hide from all these things but it’s just worth remembering that your child may feel overwhelmed at times with it all, so proceed with caution. Introduce decorations slowly into the house, if they are sensitive to the lights perhaps only put them on for small periods. And when you meet the big man go gently and if they aren’t racing to cuddle and sit on his knee, support, encourage and make them feel safe with lots of cuddles.
START YOUR OWN TRADITIONS – there are so many different traditions that can be adopted over the festive period. From elf on the shelf, fancy advent calendars, Christmas eve boxes……the list goes on and on. Don’t feel pressured to partake in them all. Find some traditions that work for you, adapt them to suit your budget, timescale and children. Make them special, memorable and enjoyable for you all (including you!).
I’ve done a version of the Christmas eve box for a number of years now. Set of pj’s, a new xmas dvd, something to make like a craft or ginger bread house etc, hot choc and marshmallows, that kinda thing.
But, yes you knew there was a but coming didn’t you! I realised last year as I put it together that my now teen boys don’t even wear pj’s, DVD’s are now obsolete, they just download what they want to watch, only one of the 3 of them like hot chocolate and they are too ‘cool’ for crafts now- so they say.
So, after a few tears, (actually it was more wailing and throwing myself around screaming ‘why do they have to grow up’!) I realised it’s no biggie, and that’s it’s now time to start a new more grown up tradition. Drink all the mulled wine until you pass out – ha ha, only kidding! I’m looking for a new teen friendly tradition – answers on a postcard if you have any ideas!!
YOU WILL NEVER PLEASE EVERYONE SO DON’T TRY – you are not a superhero! You do not have all the time and energy in the world, you do not have super powers so don’t try to be one. You will not please every single person so just relax, enjoy and do what is best for you are your family.
You don’t have to take turns going to the grandparents xmas about, you don’t have to get every single family member the exact gift they wanted, you don’t have to tie yourself up in knots getting to every party and gathering you are invited to. Where you go for xmas dinner is always a big debate in families, do you go turn-about, do you stay home, do you go somewhere neutral.
The simple answer is do what is best for you!! Since we stopped running between grandparents and chilled at home our Christmas’s are so much more fun as we can all relax. Now, we have them all come to us, it makes for a crazy busy house but its filled with fun and laughter (usually!)
A present is a present.
I think that we have all become consumed with commercialism and forgotten that it’s not about what’s in the gift but the fact that the person took the time to select, wrap and give you something.
And parties and gatherings are of course so much fun (or can be!) but we are only human and can only do so much especially with tiny feet in tow. Do what you can, and don’t beat yourself up about what you can’t or didn’t do.
Keep it simple while they are young – it’s just another day to a baby/infant. They only want fed and cuddled so don’t stress yourself about getting the perfect gift or making the day magical – they won’t remember. Keep gifts practical like a big box of nappies, clothes and a few small toys (I’m going to give you some idea links below) There will be plenty of years ahead (BELIEVE ME!) where they are looking for expensive and tiny, tiny gifts.
I’ve linked you some fun things below that I’ve either bought for my children or family members or I use in my classes that would make great parcels, stocking fillers etc
Spikey light batons
I think that all that is left for me to say is I hope that your Christmas is full of fun, laughter and not too much stress. (Also not any screaming baby dolls, spew or crap!!)
Hug your loved ones close, enjoy those magical young years before they are all grown, grumpy teens – it comes around sooner than you think!
Merry Christmas to each and every one of you x
If you’d like a little entertainment in the run up to Christmas, our Christmas special classes are now online – https://www.bambeenies.co.uk/book
We provide fun and interactive classes for children aged 0 - 10 years.