Written by: Jorinde Berben
Image credit: pexels.com
Only two more days until Christmas, and we’re celebrating tomorrow, so it’s prep time in our house. Last year, my partner and I celebrated Christmas just the two of us in a very quiet en semi-deserted London. It was amazing.
This year will be different. We both have our children (5 combined) for the whole week, so it’ll be a kid-friendly version, though no less wonderful.
Here are my 7 top strategies for making the most of this magical (and my favorite) holiday.
- No last minute-anything (except maybe for food).
If you have to do last-minute gift shopping or you’re still thinking of how to decorate the table, you’ll get stressed and won’t be able to enjoy the day. Trust me, I’ve been there (more than once). Having the gifts there in advance, wrapping them a few days beforehand, knowing how you’ll decorate the table and what you’ll serve for snacks or food has a major impact on your anxiety levels.
- Unwrap the presents early in the day.
We’re celebrating on Christmas Eve, but waiting until the evening before we unwrap the presents would be a bad idea. For one, we’d have to listen to the constant ‘Can we open them noooooow?’- mantras. No, thank you!
Opening presents early also gives the kids a chance to play with them (which gives you a chance to relax).
- Pick one special drink and/or dish.
Making one special, festive dish is impressive enough when you have kids. You want them to enjoy the food, and little kids have the tendency to distrust anything on their plate that they don’t immediately recognize.
Cooking one special dish also takes the pressure off for the rest of the meal. Spending the whole day in the kitchen means spending less time with the kids.
- Take clues from your fondest childhood Christmas memories.
In celebrating Christmas, I hope my children will form magical memories. I personally don’t remember the menus or even the gifts I got as a child. I do remember performing a Nativity play with my siblings and spending time with my family. It was a time of coming together, of really being together, even if it was only with our household (I grew up in a house with two families co-living).
- Clean up little bits throughout the days.
I feel a lot more relaxed when the kitchen isn’t exploding with dishes and there isn’t wrapping paper allover the floor. Taking those ten minutes here and there to pick up things, fold that blanket, put those dishes away, helps keep the day structured. Holidays are already very exciting and busy times for kids and adults alike. Taking clues from our boys, we know that having a somewhat calm environment has a huge impact on their overal mood (and behavior).
- Set out lots of lights.
Whether it’s candles, or Christmas lights, or a Christmas village, or small lamps throughout the room, Christmas, to me, is about bringing light in the darkness. Warm, yellow lights or the light of a fire burning in the fireplace creates an instant cosy atmosphere.
I invested in some LED candles this year for safety and health reasons. The kids love being able to have them in their room as well.
- Let go of perfection.
I know, I’ve said this before, and I can’t say it enough: If perfection is trying to match that image in your mind, you’ll never quite get there. Life happens not just because of your plans but also in between them. And the only way to enjoy it, is to partially let go of your expectations.
I’m looking forward to these holidays, despite the fact we won’t get to celebrate with our larger families, and our friends. Celebrations will be smaller, more intimate, and sometimes online. But there’s a certain sense of relaxed laissez-faire that comes along with that as well.
I wish all of you a magical Christmas, with loved ones close, in life, or in your hearts. ❤