As mums, Christmas really lies on our shoulders each year.
We are (generally) the ones buying the gifts, planning the activities, baking the cookies, and insisting on the annual photo in front of the Christmas tree. It can sometimes feel like if it weren’t for us, Christmas wouldn’t happen at all.
In our family, I’m the one buying gifts online months in advance and finding places to stash them in our tiny, storage-lacking home. I’m the one who cares about piling the kids in the car on the first Saturday in December and driving an hour north to the best Christmas tree farm in our city to pick out our perfect tree. I’m the one planning what sugar-laden breakfast to cook for Chris and the kids on Christmas morning.
But you know what happens? Someone inevitably stumbles upon one of my gift hiding spots. The kids don’t touch the cookies and cream tray bake pancakes with raspberries, ice cream and chocolate sauce that I proudly place in front of them on Christmas morning. And let’s not even talk about last December’s trip to the Christmas tree farm, in which Jackson came down with a stomach bug just as we arrived at the farm, and proceeded to vomit on Chris’s head as he sat on his shoulders and then multiple times in the car all the way home.
(By the next day, we all had the same bug and our beautiful tree sat out in the full Summer heat in our patio without water or protection from the sun for a week, growing more and more dry and lopsided, until we were well enough to bring it inside. Then we spread the stomach bug to my parents and my Dad ended up in hospital with severe dehydration and a chest infection. Then my parents spread it to some friends at a party, and those friends spread it to their grandparents at Christmas.)
We can do everything we can to create the perfect Christmas, but it’s always going to fall short in some way, big or small.
And that is totally okay!
Because our families don’t need the perfect Christmas. As cheesy as it sounds, what they need is us. The very best versions of ourselves that we can give them. A picture-perfect Christmas, rich with deeply entrenched traditions, holds very little appeal if it’s paired with a cranky, overwhelmed, distracted mum.
Here are some ways you can be an awesome mum (and wife) this Christmas…
1. Be present
Engage with your family. Don’t watch from the sidelines as they enjoy the Christmas you’ve created for them – get in there with them and enjoy it alongside them. Avoid distractions, try not to stick yourself behind a camera the entire time, and be a part of it all. It will do wonders for them, but it will also do wonders for you.
2. Be joy-filled
I’m not saying you need to be a picture of utter motherly delight 24/7, but make sure your family does see you exhibiting a little joy this Christmas. Your emotions will play a big part in theirs, and their memories of Christmas will be of a mum who was happy, rather than a mum who was stressed and irritated.
3. Be organised
A few years ago I created this Christmas bucket list, and each year, hundreds of people pin it on Pinterest and print off the free printable. Why? Because organisation plays a major role in a successful Christmas season. I guarantee if you sit down at the start of December and plan out every seasonal activity – from driving around the neighbourhood looking at Christmas lights, to hosting a Christmas movie night for your kids’ friends, to baking gingerbread men – things will go a lot more smoothly than if you’re flying by the seat of your pants. A strong, realistic plan for the season will be a huge blessing to you and your family, and will ensure that nothing gets forgotten.
4. Be generous
And I’m not just talking about with the gifts you give your kids. Show your family what it means to be generous at Christmas – bake cookie boxes for loved ones, buy gifts for needy kids via a Christmas appeal, fill up a Christmas shoebox for Operation Christmas Child, cook a meal for someone doing it tough in your community – there are loads of practical ways to look outside of your own immediate family and teach your kids the spirit of giving at this time of year.
5. Be a light
Christmas time can be fraught with emotions for everyone – there are late nights, more junk food than usual, and the mere anticipation of Christmas Eve can be a lot for kids to handle. Look for signs that your kids are flailing, and help ground them. Encourage them, love on them, do something special to bring back those little smiles. Show them that they are your priority, even amidst the chaos of Christmas.
6. Be grateful
There is always something to be grateful for. Whether you have a little or a lot, whether your Christmas dinner table is laden with a feast or a modest, simple meal, whether the tree is surrounded by dozens of gifts or a small handful, foster a grateful spirit in your family by reminding them how fortunate you are to have what you have. Teach them to be grateful for more than material things – focus on loved ones, health, friendships, and the small things that add a little sweetness to your lives.
There are so many ways you can positively impact your family this Christmas.
So before stressing yourself about everything that needs doing, take a pause. Check in with yourself. And focus on what’s most important for your family. It will make their Christmas even more special – and in turn, it will make your Christmas special too!
What are some ways that you bless your family at Christmas time? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to know!
PS Christmas can easily get on top of us as mums. Check out my tips for finding a little sanity when life is spinning out of control.