As I’m on a roll sharing our thoughts on slow parenting, I thought it only right that I share a few Christmas slow parenting tips. I have to say that I find it hard to slow parent at Christmas as it’s so difficult to slow down at this busy period with social, work and school commitments and celebrations all crammed into 3 weeks. However it’s not just about reducing diary commitments, it’s about helping your mind and sanity and there are ways to reduce these stresses which in turn keep you that bit more patient with the family. I have also included some slightly frugal ways to incorporate into Christmas which in turn may help teach the children a message that it’s not all about dozens of new shiny packages or endless commercialism.
Tip 1- Reflect on how your December plays out and make a note of what is stressful,what worked and finally how you would make changes for the better. I did this last Christmas and it really helped jog my rose tinted glasses of a memory and I tweaked a few things to suit. With this I find lists and schedules really do help. I’m usually rubbish at list writing and planning, but I’m working on it and by writing out what spare days I can dedicate to cooking or wrapping etc.
Tip 2- Hand me downs – We have put aside small boxes of toys and Festive clothing. Its amazing how the children tend to forget about items that have been hidden away for a year or so. We’re lucky enough to have 2 of each gender and several unisex items that we have stored away. This saves a bit of money and time sourcing countless Christmas jumpers, socks, hats etc. Also we in the past have bought items for each child to give to one another and this has added to their already bulging pile of presents. This is our first year of allowing the bigger ones to hand down a small box of playmobil for example to the younger ones. If this isn’t possible to do then take your child to a local charity shop to buy a gift for their sibling. I think it gives them a better appreciation of money.
Tip 3- Batch cook- I put aside an afternoon a few weeks before the big day to make my favourite bakes that we have and give as gifts to school. I then filled up the freezer or dished out some thank you baking the week of the school plays as I figured the teachers will need some sugar to keep them going! This cuts down on my kitchen time that last frantic week of term and allows me to enjoy my favourite festive bakes.
Tip 4 – Tackle some jobs each weekend such as wrapping, card writing and undertake these jobs earlier than usual. Yes we will always be building something on Christmas Eve that is inevitable, but try reduce your mountain of admin over the coming weeks by starting in November. This allows you more time to spend enjoying festive activities with your kids in December.
Tip 5-shop online – As much as possible I have shopped here and there throughout the year in sales or when I see something as we have such a lot to buy for, and then the final sprees have been done online. I haven’t the time, effort or inclination for the high street. Of course I love a good wander around Marks & Spencers or another good department store for the last finishing touches, but then as the majority is done I get to browse and then enjoy a festive lunch in the cafe with Florence.
Tip 6-Say ‘NO’ It was always going to make it into my slow parent tips of course. I have said no to a few extra community Christmas events that actually the children really didn’t notice as they have so many parties it gets too much for all. This helped my sanity by not having to provide extra help, raffle prizes for 10 events etc. You just can’t dedicate the whole of December to hooking up with friends and loved ones, so make some pre December festive get togethers or brighten up January by hooking up then.
Tip 7- Try and encourage a bit of kindness around the month and follow a kindness calendar or ask the kids to come up with ways to help others, so its not just about chocolate calendars. This also applies to us adults, and so by smiling at everyone for a day or adding to a local food bank just reminds you of what matters.
Tip 8 – Cut corners – See my previous post and cut some corners as we all need to be kind to ourselves and not end up defeated by festive stress. Pick an afternoon to stop the admin and sit down and relax for a few hours with a book or watch “The Holiday”.