Christmas with your new baby. Magic or mayhem?
Christmas is an emotive word. One with many connotations depending on personal experience, and how many glasses of prosecco you’ve had. What is essentially a beautiful time of the year, spending time with people you care about and a day or six indulging all your sweet and savoury teeth relatively guilt free, can often feel more mayhem than magic, especially with a young family. Trying to factor in time with split families, with multi-generations to cater towards, as well as trying to fit in some rest for yourself too and the calm, happy day you were planning can often seem, well, a little chaotic to say the least. Festive fun can start to feel like an obligatory chore with a dollop of guilt on the side. What can you do to ensure a calm and happy Christmas?
First of all, check your level of expectation…then drop it by 1000%. Expectation can see many the mighty fall. Quite often the pressure we put on ourselves is unrealistic not to mention back-breaking. So, look at that long to do list and cross half off. The presents will still look all lovely and inviting under the tree even if there’s no fancy ribbon round them. Forgotten the sprouts? Put extra roast potatoes on and everyone will be too busy enjoying those to notice. Celebrate the things you do achieve and don’t focus on the things you’ve forgotten or that you ran out of time to do. Besides, the lesson here for everybody to learn and be reminded of is that Christmas is about who you’re with, not whether the decorations matched or if you bought the wrong gravy.
Take time. And slow it down. Its so easy to get caught up in the manic-ness that seems to accompany Christmas. The shops fit to burst with produce and people, the roads clogged with shoppers, the ‘have I got this, have I got that’ that rolls around your head on repeat. When you start to feel like you’re being swept away in a sea of festive madness just STOP. For a moment or two, just stop where you are. Breathe a little deeper, a little slower, unhunch your shoulders and unclench your hands. Smile at the tree you’ve just put up. Make yourself a cup of tea (or open the fizz). Just take the moment to slow right down. Even if you manage this just once or twice a week, it’s a moment of restoration that can go a long way in making you feel like you can do this. And, more to the point, that you can enjoy it too!
Get Organised if ever there’s a time for the much hated to do list to make an appearance in your life, its now. Just by writing down everything you need to get done will make you feel lighter, calmer and free up some much needed head space to do other more important things. Like testing the mince pies, or checking the prosecco hasn’t gone flat. But, tempting though it might be to tick everything off at once, that’s a quick route to expectation-laden disappointment. So, choose 2 or 3 things to begin with. Make a start on the food shop, wrap one or two presents, buy some Sellotape. That’s it. Then reward yourself for a job well done and start again the following day or week.
Relax and enjoy. It’s got to Christmas eve. Either you’ve done everything you meant to do and are feeling very merry for the next day’s events, or you didn’t and are feeling all kinds of anxious about not having enough….whatever it is. If you are the first one, congratulations! You deserve an evening of feet up, Christmas film on, and glass filled. And if you’re the second, congratulations! You’re in good company the world over! Put your feet up, Christmas film on, fill your glass. It’s too late now anyway to do anything about it so you might as well enjoy your Christmas eve!
Some people thrive on being busy, they love the whirlwind, get excited preparing for a houseful and think nothing of putting together a 3 course meal with sides for all the family. But there’s no shame in admitting that you’re not one of them. Or perhaps you usually cater for all but this year, with the arrival of your new baby, you just can’t face it. Whatever you’re feeling about the big day as it approaches, don’t forget to take stock along the way and think about how you can keep Christmas the calm and happy occasion you want for yourself and your family.
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