Christmas babies! ‘How lovely!’ you hear people say. And secretly you’re thinking ‘How on earth am I going to breast feed, change nappies and get baby to sleep while basting potatoes, wrapping last minute presents and keeping the kids from fighting?!’ HELP!
I have two Christmas babies, now 3 and 5, and although their first Christmas’s are still a bit of a baby-blur I do remember there were some very helpful tips and ideas that got us through. Here we go.
1 Here’s the biggie: Don’t make Christmas bigger than it needs to be – lessen your expectations. That might sound like a scrooge approach to Christmas but believe me this simple mind change will make a huge impact. It was a steep learning curve for me, but as soon as I accepted that I didn’t need to cook a 5 course meal, spend over my limit, get an oversized Christmas tree and try to make every home made decoration available on Pinterest then the whole Christmas celebration seemed SO much more manageable.
2 That sorted: plan ahead. Try and get presents early on and avoid a last minute rush. Or even better – write a list and see if someone will go shopping for you. Half the stress of present buying is the ‘what’ part, and you can easily go online and research in small chunks way before the big day, or ask for Christmas lists and take the stress out.
3 Book in a delivery slot for food shopping and do it online. I discovered online food shopping made life so much easier with small children and babies. You can do it in your own time. You can budget much better, buy the just the things you need and not be swayed by added extras (you) or sweets and treats (kids). You can change your mind later in the day and amend the order. It doesn’t have to take 2 hours and be stressful to go round the shop. And best of all you don’t have to contemplate carrying heavy bags while balancing a tired and over-stimulated baby and holding your bits in. Why go shopping?!
4 Get help. Sounds obvious this one, and for some of us help is readily available while for others it is less so. Even a small bit of help can make a big difference, so even if it takes really thinking about and organising it could well be worth exploring the options here. One Christmas we invited a friend for dinner as they were at a loose end. They also provided excellent company for an in-law who might have posed a bit of a challenge on their own. They happily chatted away while the cooking was going on and a potentially stressful Christmas dinner was totally avoided.
5 Organise Christmas dinner for the middle of the day and relax in the evening. This way you can get the cooking out of the way, have time for fresh air afterwards and flop with an easy snack or left-overs for evening meal.
Christmas is a crazy time of year. The days are short and emotions run high. Lots of fresh air where possible and reduced expectations should ease it by with a little less stress. And don’t forget to stop, pause for a moment and enjoy!