Christmas is one of those marmite events, you either love it or hate it! Now I am a huge Christmas fan, but I do understand the stress that the season can bring. You can feel pulled in all directions with family members all wanting to see you and the media telling you how your Christmas should be, it can be a real struggle. The thing is, it is your Christmas so it should be on your terms.
Putting yourself first
As a woman in today’s world, it can feel selfish to put yourself first, but it shouldn’t! Often you are the glue that holds your family together and if you do not take care of yourself, then who will be there to look after everyone else? That is not to say, you should disregard everyone else’s feelings, but you need to think about what would be best for you and your partner/kids before anyone else gets involved. In my opinion, Christmas is about spending time with those you love most, having fun together and showing your love for each other on your terms.
What we use to do
When the older girls were small and I was much younger, we would spend Christmas day and Boxing day running around visiting various family members, trying to keep them all happy. The problem was, it was not making us happy. There would be arguments about who we should see and when, we would feel rushed and unsettled and the kids had no time to play with their new toys. After a few years of this, Darren and I sat down and discussed what we actually wanted to do if we took everyone else out of the equation. We realised that we were never going to make everyone happy but we could change things to make us happy!
What we now do
So we told everyone that we would be staying home on Christmas day every year. We wanted to be able to enjoy Christmas day in our own home, cook our own dinner with all of the food that we like and relax. We now have time to play games with the kids, have a nap after dinner if we need it, watch festive tv and be together. Over the years we have invited family members to our house, this year we have my dad coming for Christmas day. But we are so much happier.
Change is not always easy
When we first decided our new way to spend Christmas it went down with certain family members like a lead balloon! We made sure that we made it clear that this was how we were going to be doing Christmas each year from now on. The first year we did it, there was a little upset with family as we were changing things so it has to be expected. For the next couple of years, there would be a few sarcastic comments asking ‘are you all hiding at yours again this year?’ and some guilt trip comments ‘We don’t know what we will do this year if you are not coming, it doesn’t seem like Christmas now’.
We decided to grin and bear it and it worked, as after a few years people realised that this was how it would now be and now many years later no one expects anything less.
What are your terms?
You may not want to spend the day at home, you may want to go to a lodge, a restaurant for Christmas dinner rather than cooking or you may even want to spend Christmas on the beach in another country. It is totally your choice, do what is best for you and your nearest and dearest.
Make the most of Christmas while you can
Now my older girls are 21 and 20 I know that it will soon be time for them to put themselves first and they may not spend Christmas day with us every year. They will be making their choices to make sure that they have the best Christmas and as hard as that will be, I know that I will have to respect what they would like to do. Therefore, you need to make the most of those Christmases where you are all together.
Do what you want and above all take care of yourself and enjoy it!
Do you enjoy Christmas on your terms? Or are you making everyone else happy at the expense of your own happiness? I would love to hear your thoughts.