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Keep Calm its only Christmas!.... People at work's tips for families with children.

Updated: Jan 11

Trying to keep the children amused during the holidays is bad enough at the best of times but if you and your family celebrate Christmas, throw in the extra excitement of a Christmas day countdown and things can start to feel pretty hectic. Unless you are one of those super organised people who have all their presents wrapped already and pre-booked your Tesco delivery back in September you will no doubt be feeling under pressure right now. particularly if you are working throughout this time.


So what can I do ?

If you head over to our blog Surviving the Summer you will find loads of tips on childcare options eg. sharing the care with other parents and enlististing the help of willing family members.

Don't feel guilty about sticking them in front of the tv! ......There are so many streaming services with classic Christmas movies and tv shows but if your budget doesn't stretch to paid subscriptions have a look at what tricks Money Saving Expert suggests to save money on streaming services.

We obviously don't suggest they spend the entire holidays in front of a screen so if you do have time to get out and about check in local papers and on social media for switching on of Christmas lights or just walk around your local area looking at the lights early evening. Garden centres and christmas markets can also be great places to visit and you might find a Santa's grotto although there is probably a cost for this.

Instead of paying to go to a big pantomime have a look at at local am-dram performances, it might not have the big set & a nineties ex-soap star playing the baddie but will be half the price and you will be supporting your local community .......oh yes you will!!

If your children enjoy art they could head over to Arts Hub for Kids on YouTube and try some christmas themed draw alongs. or you could mix up a batch of salt dough and make some handmade christmas decorations.


Money is tight this year how can I manage?

Be honest with your friends and family, agree on a spending limit or that you will only buy gifts for the children for example. One year a few members of my own family were feeling the pinch so we said that presents could only be 2nd hand or homemade. That Christmas was a lot of fun because we were all a lot less stressed about money and I received a lot of homemade cookies!!

You could also think about gifting your time or a service maybe offering to babysit for your sister or walking your auntie's dog for a week.

When you go shopping for presents, have a budget, make a list and stick to it. It is so tempting to chuck in a few extra items, everything is so enticing so try to remain strong and only buy what you came for. If you are easily tempted maybe avoid the shops altogether and shop online or buy gift vouchers for everyone.

Don't feel pressured into buying Christmas presents for every teacher, teaching assistant, ballet teacher and football coach. If you have more than one child this can get very costly. Maybe you could suggest to other parents in your child's class that you club together couple of pounds each to buy a larger gift or vouchers.


There's too much to do, how can I cope?

Whether you have young children or not, there is always so much to do. Carol concerts, work parties, shopping, wrapping, cooking etc then depending on your job there is often an added pressure to get things finished up at work before the holidays.

If you are feeling there aren't enough hours in the day, stop and think about what things actually NEED doing and what things you can let go. Although home baked mince pies are delicious, so too are shop bought ones! Sending long handwritten messages in Christmas cards is a lovely thing to do but so is making a phone call, or sending a text message or voice note and don't get us started on the Elf on the Shelf!!......

Gift bags (especially ones you recycled from last year) are quicker than wrapping presents.

Ask... pay...bribe an older child to do your wrapping for you. Send e-cards or don't send cards at all!

Do NOT neglect your own wellbeing to make things great for everyone else. Ask for help when you need it and plan in time for breaks, meals and exercise. Christmas is for you too!


I'm hosting Christmas and feel overwhelmed how can I make it perfect?

Simple answer! YOU CAN"T !

Stop comparing yourself to the Instagram pictures of immaculately decorated Christmas trees in "perfect" homes with piles of beautifully wrapped presents and happy smiley families in matching pyjamas.

These images are unrealistic for the majority of us and they almost certainly don't tell the true story.

If you are cooking Christmas dinner, try to prepare ahead as much as possible. Veggies can be prepped a day or two before and so too can desserts (or just shop buy them) BBC Good food have some make ahead recipes you might want to check out. Lots of items can be frozen if you have the freezer space.

Ask for help or accept help when it's offered. You don't have to do everything yourself. Hand out jobs for others to do, maybe setting the table, peeling the spuds, making the gravy or washing up.

Alcohol can play a big part at Christmas, it might be a tradition to start the day with a bucks fizz or champagne, but for some families too much booze can often fuel arguments or unwanted behaviour. Try to pace yourself and drink water or soft drinks in between alcoholic ones. Try mixing up some delicious mocktails instead and the kids can join in click here for some ideas. Or try a hot spiced apple orhot chocolate with cream and marshmallows.

The important thing is to do Christmas your way and don't take on too much or you will set yourself up to fail.

If your organisation subscribes to our service Talk to a People at Work first responder and find out how we can be part of your wellbeing support. 020 3286 1545

We are here over Christmas and the new year.

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