Preparing for Christmas: A Parent’s Guide

Christmas is a magical time for kids, but the preparations can leave parents so stressed that they can find it hard to unwind and enjoy their children’s happiness when the big day arrives. There are all those gifts to buy, presents to wrap, cards to post, food to cook, crowds to battle, carol concerts to attend, nativity costumes to make — the list goes on and on. If just thinking about it makes your forehead begin to feel clammy, take a deep breath and read on to find out how to lower your stress levels and boost the fun factor in the run-up to the festive season.


Your Best Is Good Enough | What’s the point of trying to be super-mum and preparing the best Christmas ever if you’re so harassed you can’t possibly enjoy it properly? Take a step back and consider which jobs you really have to do and which you can delegate or not bother with at all. Make a list and strike off all of the ‘nos’ and most of the ‘maybe’ jobs too. You can’t avoid having to buy and wrap presents, but do you really have to spend hours hand-tying ribbon around every single gift? Would your family even notice if they ate a shop-bought Christmas cake this year, especially if it was something like the Waitrose Royal Iced Christmas Cake? Do you really think Christmas would be ruined if you just bought a cheap nativity costume like the Nativity King Fancy Dress Costume, available for only £8 at Asda, or if you didn’t string lights around every inch of your home’s exterior (which often only your neighbours can really enjoy)? There’s no doubt that your kids would prefer a few celebratory cut-backs here and there rather than having to face the wrath of a parent who has become the arch enemy of Santa Claus himself.

Shopping Stress-Busters | If you have small children, don’t even think about doing the majority of your gift shopping on the high street unless you have the patience of a saint or actually fancy a major coronary episode. Online shopping is the saviour of sanity over the festive season, whether you’re choosing presents or having a large proportion of your food shop delivered direct to your door. Just remember to get in early to ensure that you can get a delivery slot, especially if you want supermarket goods during Christmas week and the week between Christmas and New Year.

Get Your Children Prepared and Stop Worrying | A recent survey revealed that almost half of all parents will spend more than they can afford to this Christmas. This is a dangerous strategy and one that is likely to cause more than a few tears and tantrums come the New Year. Be realistic — do your kids really need so many presents that they get bored opening them halfway through Christmas morning? Are there presents from last year that haven’t even made it out of the box? Instead of spending cash, spend time explaining about the real meaning of Christmas to your kids or, simply, how Santa has to give presents to all the children in the world and so can’t possibly give them everything they want.