Guest post – Top Tips For A Stress Free Festive Season

Top Tips For A Stress Free Festive Season
By Dr Claire Halsey, Parenting Expert

The shops are flooded with decorations and gifts, children’s toys are piled up in the windows and festive gatherings and celebrations are planned. This can be the busiest time of year so it is no wonder that for parents the joy can be mingled with stress about meeting children’s expectations, keeping the peace at family gatherings and organising catering for hosts of people.

Try these top tips to keep the worry out of your festivities.

Get through this month with good cheer and as little stress as possible, with these practical ideas.

First of all enlist as much help as you can, if you’re cooking for a group ask people to bring food or help to prepare it. You can have fun getting all the children to help decorate the house, wrap gifts or set the table.

Try changing your shopping habits – taking young children to the shops can be a recipe for tantrums and frustration so have a go at getting your groceries in the late evening and early morning when shops are less busy or choose the internet for ease and home delivery.

For gift ideas, catalogues can give inspiration and delivery to the door without foot-slogging around the shopping centre. Keep spending in check. How many times have you purchased expensive presents only to find children play for five minutes with the toy then spend several hours turning the box into a den, a bus and a shop? Children don’t need the latest electronic game or elaborate toy to get great pleasure, when you choose games to play together and crafts to share you create chances for everyone to join in and have fun as a family.

Family celebrations can be a great joy, but if family members don’t get on you may be on edge in case disagreements break out. Try to create harmony by encouraging relatives to talk over their differences before the festivities or, if people really can’t agree, arrange celebrations separately so people do have chance to meet but not all at once. It may be for the sake of peace you can get people to agree between themselves not to bring up subjects which always cause a row.

Last of all while you’re working to make celebrations full of joy set aside the need for them to be perfect. In later years families will cherish and tell tales of the things that go wrong far more than those that were just right. The time the food was overcooked or the presents all got muddled up will become part of a happy family memory told and retold between you, bringing giggles every year.