Not every family can get a long without any drama especially at Christmas time. But what if I told you a little tough love can help you to enjoy the festive season?
Setting the tone and making some rules for everyone can set you free to enjoy this special time. Not only that your children are going to remember this season of their life with fond special memories.
Here are my top 5 Festive Season Ground Rules:
1. Ask for help to ease the load on yourself so you can also enjoy the occasion - give your guests a list with an item that they must bring or ask for help to cook with you for your get together. It’s a great way to bond and build memories.
2. Set a time limit for either when you are visiting others or when family are visiting you, especially if you have young children. Not only do children need to rest, so do the parents! The time rule is especially effective if you have a family that tend to have the "wheels fall" off the longer you spend together. Keep it short and sweet so cousins can spend time with each other, and grandparents can witness the joy of their children and grandchildren.
3. Don't try to stretch yourself visiting all your family at Christmas. Identify early on whether you want to have all Christmas's at your home (especially if you have small children) or you want to alternate each year amongst parents and siblings. If this is your preference, create a roster and make sure all those affected understand when it is their turn. For our family when the kids had grown up and left home, we decided to Celebrate Christmas in July so that they didn't feel the pressure to try and fit us all in at Christmas. It also meant the whole family would meet up mid-year, especially nice as they all live in different towns.
4. Do you really need to purchase Christmas presents? If you are financially stretched, make a rule to only exchange ‘presence’ and not presents. Find a deeper meaning for you and your family at this time of year rather than buying into society’s status of the commercial exchange of gifts.
5. Realise you can say 'no' - it is allowed! Just maybe you want to say no to travelling and guests? I highly encourage this as I believe you should be creating new traditions with your children and your extended family can fit around you. Remember Christmas Day is 1 day! There is plenty of days either side of this to celebrate and catch up with extended family.
Whatever ground rules you put in place they can be tweaked and changed over time depending on the season of life you are in. If you find yourself getting into knots with the mere thought of Christmas and the approaching festive season you definitely need some tough love and ground rules put in place.