Christmas is a crazy time of year and one that makes me a little … Grinchy. In December everything seems to become a big blur of frantic shopping and catch ups with every person we’ve ever known in our lives and the to-do list explodes with Christmas necessities. I find myself struggling to keep up every year. I never seem to be able to enjoy Christmas until the actual day has arrived. This year was tougher than usual, I was more disorganised, less ready to think about Christmas, anxious about facing the day without Ryan. And that’s ok. That’s reality. But I thought I’d take a moment to write a little letter to myself. A letter to the Mrs Grinch I become in December every year. I hope this letter helps calm the Grinch that threatens to overtake all of us at this time of year.
Dear Mrs Grinch (aka me)
Here are some things that you need to try and remember, so that you can enjoy Christmas and stop getting so stressed and shoutey.
- everyone else is just as busy as you. If not more. So shut up about it.
- stop and enjoy Christmas craft and play with the kiddos, especially Pebble, who adores it. Do all glitter craft OUTSIDE. Or enjoy some Christmasy chill out time in a tinsel tent. There are lots of fun Christmas ideas to try, pick a few and have fun with it.
- go and see some Christmas lights. Don’t stress about the kids being too tired or cranky or out of routine. They’ll be fine.
- visit Santa, but try not to plonk the little ones on his lap right after they’ve woken from a nap. It kinda freaks them out.
- it’s ok to say no to ridiculously overpriced helium balloons in the magic cave. Isn’t there a helium shortage, anyway?
- yes… it’s awesome to enjoy every moment and not get sucked into spending time on taking photos. But maybe take a few more pics of the kids at Christmas time. Every year you wish you’d taken a few more.
- do some amazingly kind things as a family. That’s what Christmas spirit is all about.
- round up the collection of Christmas books at the beginning of December and enjoy them all month long. Pebble (and hopefully Rocky by now) soak up the magic of every word and image and it all adds to the magic.
- watch lots of Christmas movies as a family, the cornier the better.
- don’t panic if the house isn’t spotlessly clean. Nobody is coming to visit you to check out your shining floors. And if they are you really shouldn’t give two jingle bells about that!
- the practical stuff – get Christmas prepped well before the last week before Christmas:
- get the presents organised early. PROPERLY ORGANISED. Remember how you planned to give lots of movie gift boxes (kinda like these… but not quite as awesome), which was super simple and easy? But then you left them to the last minute and were organising it on Christmas Eve when you had 6,876 other things to do? THAT.
- make sure you’ve got wrapping paper (and sticky tape!)
- start wrapping before Christmas Eve… sure it seems all romantic to imagine wrapping presents together while watching ‘Love Actually’ and sipping egg nog. But Paul hates ‘Love Actually’. And wrapping presents. And you’ll be too full from Christmas parties to drink egg nog. Not to mention so exhausted from Christmas pre-season that you’ll want a good nights sleep before the big day!
- stock up on batteries for electronic gifts
- make a Christmas e-card
- write Christmas cards for the nanas and others who don’t have social media and can’t read your e-card (are there still people out there like that?!)
- unbox, construct and power up any super tricky gifts that you know the kids will want to get stuck into straight away. Spending half and hour on unpackaging/constructing/fitting batteries is not very fun when you just want to enjoy playing with the kids and help them to enjoy their presents..
- remember that after Christmas is birthday season for you – seven birthdays of close family and friends in just a few weeks. And that’s ok. You’ll be fine! Busy, but fine. Buy the pressies while doing the Christmas shopping and don’t moan about how busy you are (and get Pebble’s birthday invites out before Christmas).
- plan to take delicious, festive foods to share when you need to ‘take-a-plate’. Yes, it’s extra work and time but there is much love to give through sharing a plate of lovingly prepared treats. If all else fails, a platter of shop bought goodies does the trick. Or take something you’ve made before that people loved.
- remember that the build up is more stressful than the event. You always enjoy the day when it comes.
- Laugh. Breathe. Hug the kids a little more. Kiss your husband twice as much.Be kind to yourself. Remeber what’s really important and don’t worry so much about the small stuff.