The tendency can be that we want to start winding down as year end approaches. Several things start getting added to the ‘too hard basket’, where at other times of year they would feel manageable. Our home lives are getting busy heading into the Christmas season and we’d quite like to just cruise through our final month, biding time until we can close the door for the year. That would be ok if this work we did was about us. Sure we matter too, but we aren’t the focus.
Our children also feel tired at the end of a long year, but there is something magical happening out and around them, and they want to be involved.
If we say no to celebrating Christmas, to letting it inside our setting, we are saying no to their right to be a part of this special season. We are putting our needs ahead of their own.
We may want to wind down, but actually they need us to wind up our enthusiasm, wind up our preparation of the environment and LET CHRISTMAS IN.
If we take up the mission, it doesn’t mean we forget about ourselves. If we know we are tired, and busy, and our personal to-do list is as long as our arm, then the best thing we can do for our children is to think of ourselves.
We need to think, “what do I need to get through this season while still showing joy for the children”?
The answer will be around self care and ensuring that our own emotional fuel tank receives regular top ups. We need to be proactive!
We can start by keeping our expectations of ourselves reasonable. If we are still going to do our job well, how much else can we reasonably expect to fit on our plate? We will have important family ‘must do’s of course, which don’t take precedence over our work, but there is also a lot we can say no to.
We don’t need to pile our plate high for the benefit of others, to ‘do the right thing’. We can say no, skip some outings, take on one less voluntary duty and still be a kind person. We can make things less complicated. Instead of baking the most impressive treat, or an over the top Christmas day menu, can we stick with some tried and trusty recipes we know we can do well and in less time? Can we delegate some things, suggest a change in format so there is more contribution, or stagger a few of our celebrations so we aren’t rushing between groups on the same day?
Anything we can do to lessen our stress will be beneficial for us, the children we care for, and very likely the other people we have close relationships too. With present shopping can we simplify it to one night, or online, or even drop the emphasis on presents altogether and go with just a few well chosen items for those closest to us? Those are the larger things to take care of, but we can also put in little things, the small recharges that will get us through the day.
We can make sure we have refreshing beverages at work, and little tasty treats that we will enjoy retreating to on our breaks.
We can make sure we are actually having those breaks and not trying to squeeze in a quick bit of documentation we feel can’t wait.
We can make sure we are getting our vitamin N, outdoors with the children, and in our own time.
We can keep smiling, remind ourselves it is only a season, and that it really is a most wonderful time to be a child. Let’s take care of us so we can let them bask in it!
We have created The Heart of Christmas, a beautiful toolkit full of ideas for bringing magic and wonder to the Christmas season.