The festive season is such a wonderful time for family bonding, relaxing and spoiling everyone but preparing for the big day can also be incredibly stressful. Unrealistic present wish lists from the kids, a never-ending to-do list, relatives about to descend, pressure to put on an amazing spread – it’s no wonder Christmas sometimes feels more like a chore.
It doesn’t have to be this way though. With a clear mindset, taking a step back and giving everyone the opportunity to be involved, families can experience the true joy and meaning of Christmas.
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Psychotherapist and relationships expert, Melissa Ferrari, has these tips for families wanting a smooth ride into the festive season that will also help make this Christmas unforgettable.
Everyone has a say
The first thing to do is involve the whole family in setting expectations and voicing personal requests about what will be happening at Christmas. Make it fun and give everyone a chance to put their favourite activity or dish on the agenda.
“By directly engaging every family member in the Christmas decision making process, it helps them to feel more excited, included and responsible,” Melissa said.
Why should mum be left with doing everything? When you’re doing your family planning for the big day, also write down the tasks and allocate people to each one. Not only will it make it more fair, but children really thrive with being given ownership over activities. Christmas should be a team effort that you can all be proud of.
The gift of giving
These days it’s very easy for children to get carried away with the thought of presents and what they’re going to get. However, Christmas can also be an opportunity to teach children the important value of giving.
“There are many ways for children to give back at Christmas,” Melissa said. “Take them with you to a volunteer shelter, give presents to those less fortunate, make gifts for ill children, or donate some of their existing toys to charity. It will go a long way with helping them learn appreciation and compassion for others.”
Don’t be afraid to say no to your child’s demands or requests. In most instances they don’t need it and by saying no you’ll teach them acceptance.
Praise everyone when they do a great job. Children love their good behaviour or actions being recognised and are more likely to replicate them again.
A lot of couples disagree when it comes to managing their children’s behaviour, so it’s a good idea to discuss ideas and methods for setting boundaries for the kids over the holidays before tensions get too high and potentially spoil the day.
Traditions and memories
Every family is unique with their own spin on this special holiday. So don’t forget to embrace all the activities you do together, create new traditions, and relish tender moments to create happy memories to last a lifetime.