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Managing Christmas Expectations

Christmas is days away, but most of our pockets are considerably less plump than they were this time last year. The cost of living crisis means that many of us have had to cut down on Christmas gifts and days out this year.

We all want to give our children a magical Christmas, but how do we manage their expectations while not putting ourselves under ridiculous pressure?

We’ve all fallen victim to the ideology that we need to ply our kids with as many gifts and christmassy experiences as possible to make our Christmas feel special. However, it often turns out, we end up with overwhelmed kids and parents!

Now is the time for us to change that narrative and make Christmas more about quality time and magical experiences that don’t involve hellish financial pressure.

So here are a few ideas from Familiarisation Videos that will create more meaningful moments between you and your little ones and teach them (and us) that it’s not all about the presents…

Adjust your own mindset

First and foremost, it’s important for you to get into the right frame of mind. It’s really hard to get excited about Christmas when you’re stressed, but our attitude towards Christmas will make a huge difference. Kids pick up on your feelings really fast. If you’re excited about Christmas then your children will be too. Surround them with excitement about spending time together, not about what’s under the tree.

The Magic of Christmas is in the Memories

The real magic and the real memories lie in the traditions leading up to Christmas. Years from now when they look back they won’t remember the gifts as much as they remember things you did together as a family to celebrate the season. Movies snuggled on the sofa, Christmas stories with hot chocolate, making Christmas decorations, cards and gifts for others, donating to people who are less fortunate, making cakes, wintery walks spotting the Christmas lights and decorations are some ways to create those special memories.

Give yourself permission to skip some things this year

What sort of things can you let go of this year? It could be that you don’t buy lots of Christmas cards for people you barely know, reuse old decorations instead of buying new ones, cut down on the amount of food you buy, or skip those events that you could really do without going to.

Think about all those little things that add extra stress and allow yourself to drop them without guilt. Cutting these things out will reduce your stress levels and let you get on with focussing on creating special moments with your children

Write letters to Santa

This is always a magical experience for children. Writing that special letter to Father Christmas and posting it off to the North Pole. It’s a wonderful pastime in the run up to Christmas. This year, how about doing it a little differently, and instead of sending Santa a list of toys, encourage your children to make wishes for others who are less fortunate. It’s a great way to teach children to think of others and also reflect on their own blessings.

Spot Santa on Christmas Eve

Every Christmas Eve, NASA posts online when and where you can spot the International Space Station in the sky. With its lights flashing, it could easily be mistaken for a sleigh with flying reindeer. A magical moment for you and the kids, and doesn’t cost a penny!

Talk to the older children

A talk with older children and teens is really important. Reassure them that Christmas will still be wonderful, but the focus will not be on gifts. Ask them what things they’d like to do that would make Christmas special for them. You could even challenge them to think of cool ways to celebrate that don’t involve money. They’ll probably surprise you with some wonderful ideas!

Get the kids involved

You can unknowingly create some precious moments by simply involving your children in the Christmas preparations. Put the Christmas tunes on and have a dance and singalong while they help you to clean up the house, wrap presents together and let them arrange them under the tree, let the kids write the Christmas cards, allow them to set the dinner table for you. Everything can be turned into a bit of fun when you relax and let go of the idea of perfection.

At the end of the day, Christmas is all about joy and connection. Remember that the most important thing is simply being together and you’ll be sure to make Christmas magical, no matter what.

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