Now that we are in November Christmas is right around the corner and while I love it I am starting to get stressed by it. It's the pressure of trying to make it as perfect as possible and giving the kids the best Christmas. I completely agree that it's not about presents and spending a fortune but I end up feeling like I want to go over the top because their only little once. I can't seem to find the right balance of giving them a great experience but without going completely crazy.
The biggest worry for me is money and how we will afford everything. Every year we manage some how but I end up not enjoying the build up to Christmas because I am too busy stressing about it. I also see my friends taking their children to magical events, meeting Santa etc and feeling jealous that I can't do it all too. We of course will go and see Santa but during the Christmas half term I would love to be able to do more with them. I think I need to plan better this year so that we do lots but so it doesn't cost the earth. Every year I say I will start earlier and every year it doesn't happen!
It's not just at Christmas, as parents we want to give our children the best and all I want is to make them happy. I think we can be so busy getting stressed out by it that we forget what it's really about. I decided to ask some fellow bloggers how they feel about Christmas.
Lianne from Ankle Biters Adventures said 'The real meaning of Christmas to me is laugh and have fun with family, eat good food and let the stress melt away'.
Laura from Five Little Doves said 'Yes! I think there is SO much pressure to make Christmas perfect. New things are constantly being introduced to add to the pressure such as elaborate advent ideas and Christmas eve boxes. I cant keep up!'
Abi from Something About Baby said ' Christmas is my favourite time of year and to me it means making fun memories with your family and close ones. But I do feel hugely pressured every year when it comes to gift giving - not for my own children because I buy what we can afford, but for others. I always feel like I will be looked down on because I haven't been able to spend much, and it can take the joy out of Christmas shopping!'
Emma from Emma Reed said ' My pressure is doubled because my son was born on Christmas day! But I always make more of his birthday and do less for Christmas. Because it is now focused on him we have agreed not to do adult presents amongst the family members and this has really helped financially and with the stress. We love seeing the children get their gifts and that makes it all worthwhile. I don't think Christmas needs to be as big as the retailers expect us to.'
Kelly from Kelly Allen Writer said 'I think the pressure is there, whether that's myself doing it or the media. The biggest tree, the best gifts, the best dinner. But I do try to keep my sanity and focus on being together on Christmas day because that's the true meaning of it, for me anyway. Plus, we're always skint so we can't do the biggest or best.'
Christy from Welsh Mum said ' I put myself under too much stress that's for sure. I know how much Christmas meant to me as a child and my grandma always seemed to have everything perfect. I'm not quite the home wizard or chef she was, so I always seem to fall short of the impossible standards I set myself. I also have a very tight budget so I have to shop carefully, and then worry that I'm not doing enough compared to the other mums.'
So to help you enjoy the build up to Christmas and to make it as stress free as possible here are some tips.
* Budget! Set an amount for each person that you need to buy for and stick to it the best you can. Write a list of gifts for each person within that budget so you don't go off course.
*Find free Christmas events in your area. This could be your local Christmas lights switch on or visit the Christmas fairs, some of which are free entry.
*Something else that I do is to start buying bits of Christmas food every time I go shopping in November. Biscuits, chocolates, things that can be put away in the cupboard every week which helps to spread the cost at the same time.
* Bigger isn't always better, it will be good enough when you spend what can actually afford. You will be so grateful for this after Christmas when you haven't got yourself into debt.
* Write your Christmas cards early, I normally start mine around the middle of November. I get all of them signed with our names thee the name of who it's being sent to closer to the time.
* Look out for charity gift wrapping services. This will take the pressure of you while giving back to a great charity in need of a donation, especially at this time of year.
Most importantly remember to live in the moment and have fun! The Christmas memories that you look back on won't be about the presents or how much you spent, it will be about the memories you made with the people that you spent this magical time of year with.