Some people like this lead up to Christmas, some (like me and my family!), really don’t! 

The Christmas decorations look pretty and the shops get busier and the Christmas feeling is in the air – but it doesn’t make me get the warm Christmas glow; infact it begins to make me stressed right from the moment it starts…

The pressure for the perfect film like Christmas family gathering is unachievable – the perfect family game time; the perfect present wrapping, the perfect friends to go out with, the perfect family to share it will – perfection doesn’t exist, in any place at any time.

The media Christmas portrayal adds to our sense of dread – the pressure to smile, laugh, not row, not feel sad – can make us feel very detached from Christmas: so this year, in the lead up here are some tips: 

  • Prepare everyone – prepare the kids that they might not get all they want; prepare family who might want to see you but you don’t want to see them; prepare the preparations – it will reduce your stress.
  • Prepare emotions – the feeling of excitement and dread are very close. If your child is struggling with their mental health – let them have some control over Christmas – over the food menu, over how the day will go, over as much as you can – it will help reduce their anxiety and therefore will make you less anxious.
  • Don’t be pressured to visit people.
  • Ignore TV films and adverts! We aren’t going to reach a Hollywood Christmas ideal – so let’s not bother. Watch Elf and comedies with your children – they keep a good perspective on it!
  • Try to imagine Christmas day now – what works for your child? Do you need to communicate any of that to your family – who don’t they want to see over Christmas? How long do you have to visit relatives for? Begin to start the conversations now so they don’t come as a shock to your family – take control and be prepared to compromise. You don’t need to make excuses or tell them about your child’s struggles – no one needs to know; but you might need to have a back up plan if at the last minute, they have an emotional meltdown and it just won’t work.
  • Don’t be pressured to visit people (yup, I mean it!).
  • Make stuff – loads and loads of stuff! Don’t buy it, make it. Keep your hands and mind busy, the personal stuff doesn’t need to cost much nor does it have to be perfect – enjoy the process and the result.

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