The build-up to Christmas can often make children overexcited, and with all the extra sugar and lack of sleep, it can mean big emotions tend to take over. This can leave parents feeling overwhelmed and under pressure to deliver a magical Christmas while managing budgets and expectations for everyone.
If you’re hosting this year or want to try some tips for Christmas that will help make the big day stress-free, our blog could help. From creating lists, sharing tasks and managing budgets, we’ve got five great Christmas tips for parents to help you enjoy a more relaxing holiday.
1. Plan ahead and make a list
One of the best ways to reduce stress is to plan ahead. Start by making a list of everything you need to do, from buying presents, what food you’ll want and even when to decorate the house.
Then, break down each task into smaller, more manageable steps.
Create a list for gifts, one for food and one for general festive activities. Instead of buying all of your presents at once, spread it out over several weeks. The same goes for food, especially if you’re hosting a larger group than usual. Buying little and often and storing them up could help you feel less stressed and more relaxed about costs come December.
There’s often a lot of pressure on parents to please their children – Father Christmas is an expensive character! Instead of trying to remember everything they’ve mentioned liking throughout the year, ask them to write a list and make a festive game of it. If you can, ask them to write the list and then either send it to the North Pole or up the chimney (if you have one!).
This will add to the magic of Christmas and help you get a good steer for gifts without buying everything in sight. We’ve got an article about how to manage Christmas wishlists which can help you stay within your budget without leaving your children feeling disappointed.
And instead of trying to decorate the entire house in one day, do one room at a time and ask the children to help you.
2. Set realistic expectations and a budget
Over the festive period, set clear expectations and focus on the things that are most important to you and your family. If you love baking, schedule some time to bake Christmas treats. If you don’t like decorating the house, don’t feel like you have to do it, or ask your children to help.
You don’t have to say yes to every Christmas party invite – there are some events that can be missed and the same goes for trying to keep the children entertained. Sitting at home and watching Christmas films is just as good as going to a busy festive event.
Make a budget for Christmas as it could help you to avoid overspending on things you don’t need. Also if they’re old enough, get your children involved in the planning process too. Christmas is a great time of the year to teach children more about how money works, especially with so much planning involved. Read our article on what Christmas can teach children about money to help them build good money habits over the festive period.
With lots of food, trips out, parties, and gifts, there is a lot going on at Christmas which can quickly add up. To help your kids to understand, have an open conversation with them about the costs of things (eg. Christmas trees) which could help them to realise that these things don’t come for free.
If you’re buying gifts for other family members, suggest Secret Santa instead and encourage everyone to buy just one gift for someone. Having an agreed budget for the children’s gifts is especially helpful if you co-parent or find yourself battling grandparents and their expectations too.
Perhaps share some gift ideas that your children will want instead of things they won’t use or discard quickly. This will stop any grandparents or co-parents from over-buying too. Having budgets will reduce your own stress and set expectations for everyone else. If you decide on gifting money to children, we’ve written a handy guide to help you decide how much to give.
Don’t forget to shop early too. The earlier you start shopping, the more time you will have to find the best deals and avoid the holiday crowds. This could also help with budgeting, as you spread the cost of the festive period over several months instead.
3. Share tasks amongst your family
Don’t be afraid to share tasks with your partner, family, and friends. Everyone can pitch in to help make Christmas a success, it’s not just down to you as the organiser.
For example, ask your partner to wrap presents while you cook dinner, and get guests involved with the food preparation for the big day too. Involve your kids in activities throughout the month, like festive baking and decorating the tree. This will lighten your mental load and create loving memories for the build-up to Christmas.
4. Don’t forget your own self-care needs
It’s important to take breaks during the busy festive season for yourself. Get outside for some fresh air, and take time doing something you love.
Trying our tips could help you visualise what you need to do and what can be shared with your family. Your kids will always remember this time of year for a number of reasons, so don’t forget to take some time for yourself to relax and de-stress.
Christmas is a time to celebrate with your loved ones. Don’t let the stress of the holidays stop you from enjoying this special time of year.
It’s a great way to relax together and make new family traditions, such as watching your favourite Christmas film in matching pj’s, or even going to a carol concert.
Christmas can feel like a stressful time but with our Christmas tips for parents, it’s also a time to have fun. Enjoy the excitement and the time spent with the kids.