There is not too long to go now, before it is Christmas day. The songs are playing in the shops and on the radio, the ads on TV are about the festive season, and there are mailers galore enticing you to buy everything and anything in the lead up to the big day….. and it’s still AGES away!
It’s a wonderful magical time with high excitement, and huge anticipation and expectation from the kids.
It can be a disaster!
So, what am I doing about it?
I am making lists. Lists for each child and their Christmas wish list, lists for ideas that I’m having as I wander around. Lists for things that my kids need, and lists just for the sake of it. But here’s the IMPORTANT point – I am NOT sharing these list ideas with anyone. And as I come across stuff on the lists – I am buying and hiding it, ticking off the lists as I accumulate my ideas.
While I am mentally preparing myself, and mentally organising myself, I am otherwise going about my world completely normally, and completely as if Christmas is still a long time away (which it is!) and there is no panic. I am also having those conversations with the kids about what they should get other people as we drive too and from school every day, and yesterday I got my kids to write their letter to Santa.
My mum informed me that that was a bit early for all that, but there was a method to my otherwise nutty idea – I don’t want my kids ideas for the things that they actually WANT for Christmas to be overly influenced by the crazy stuff that is suddenly advertised more and more frequently in the lead up through December. I don’t want my kids to see the LATEST thing, and suddenly the decide that they NEED that NEW thing (which they really don’t cause they’ve been taken in by the Christmas marketing, because they are children). Having these discussions now, and in fact the lists that I’ve actually been writing for a couple of months now, mean that I’m avoiding all the stress, and all the “MUST-HAVE-NOW” excitement, and actually getting the kids stuff they truly want and actually need.
Exposing the kids to too much advertising and too much excitement is actually just going to make everyone slightly crazy.
I am prepping my kids for Christmas in other ways. Yes, I am already playing Christmas carols, and yes I am planning on taking the kids to Christmas in the Park, and Santa-land, and yes they will get to put up a tree, and decorate the house with Christmas decorations…… these are the prepping activities that I find stimulating and interesting for the kids, and they also tie in with my own thoughts about Christmas – family time.
BUT – I am throwing out the Christmas mailers the minute they land in the mailbox. The kids really DON’T need to see all the new plastic toys for the season. AND I am avoiding the TV as much as possible. If the kids want to watch something or need some downtime, then DVD’s are my friends, and those hideous TV ads are not popping up and exciting the kids too much about the GET, GET, GET that they WANT, WANT, WANT.
In my family, some of my kids really struggle with the anticipation for these big events like Christmas, and they build up all these rules, and think about all the things that they want, meaning that they will only be disappointed every year, because it never measures up to the things that they planned in their own head. My personality is similar to this as well, and it takes some real action to calm all this down.
If the personality preferences in your home are the same as this, or if you remember that last year there was a lot of tears on Christmas Day because kids didn’t get everything that they wanted, and disappointment was a thing, then these ideas are a good thing for you to follow as well.
Of course, I also have a couple of kids, who are happy with anything, and their excitement and over-the-top appreciation is a wonderful thing to see, but it doesn’t harm them to have everything calmed down either, so I think it’s a win-win.
- make lists – slowly accumulate. If you know deals are coming up for your list ideas then wait, but some things are always good to get in advance like stocking fillers, and sweets.
- have conversations early with your kids about what they want – don’t wait till the week before Christmas.
- keep things calm
- focus on things that are important to your family values and beliefs – like the story of Christmas, or the extended family time, or the holiday being planned, or the decorations, and the songs.