Silly Season Survival for Busy Parents and Frazzled Folk
Cultivating a Calm Christmas
I love Christmas. It is a wonderful time of the year. I know however that it can be a really difficult time of year for some. I’m painfully aware of those around me who have very sadly lost husbands this year or in the last few years, those who have lost babies or children, and those who are struggling with infertility, financial hardship or unemployment. And there are those close to us who may be bravely battling the cruelty of cancer or other serious illness. We need to be mindful of others and be proactive about caring for others during this season. Often it’s just the little touches.
I’ve always loved Christmas. I love celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, Christmas carols, candles, time with family, Christmas decorating, Christmas lights, I enjoy Christmas crafts, gift giving & festive feasting.
But is it just me, or do we in our society also make the Christmas season a little crazy? I wonder whether this may be especially so in the southern hemisphere, where Christmas, and the end of the academic year coincide. Prize givings, end of year school productions, shared lunches, and gifts for teachers is an equation that often equals frazzled parents and grumpy kids. In addition, it is summer so instead of the quieter advent season that you may have in the northern hemisphere due to the colder weather before Christmas, many families also go away on their main holiday of the year on boxing day or soon after. So not only are you winding down from school, getting ready for christmas, but you are also having to organise and pack for your holiday which may be camping or the like. No simple feat with small children.
Having just visited the supermarket this morning with two of my young children, I wonder whether someone ought to develop a ‘Diagnostic Manual for Festive Seasonal Stress’. There were many frazzled folk, traffic jams in the aisles and trolleys crashing into one another! And it was my dear one year old who would probably take the christmas cake for having the biggest meltdown at the checkout. Are you or anyone you love suffering from Obsessive Christmas Disorder (OCD), or Madly Decorating Disorder (MDD)? I will admit that in previous years I’ve tried to be ‘Mrs Christmas’, madly making truffle towers and gingerbread houses, with the ‘help’ of a toddler. But this year I wonder whether I would fall into the category of Overloaded Christmas Disorder (also known as OCD), and it’s only the 12th December. There’s buy a secret santa gift for this child, one child needs a costume for the school production, a parent-teacher interview, a plate for this party, another secret santa gift for this event, and it goes on and on. Every single activity you are involved in has an end of year or Christmas function. It’s a fun season, but I’m all for simplifying Christmas so it can be more relaxed, and thus, avoiding running ourselves ragged. Otherwise n the aftermath of Christmas there’s always the risk of developing a range of post traumatic stress syndromes such as ‘Post Tinsel Stress Disorder’, ‘Post Turkey Stress Disorder’ or ‘Post Travelling Stress Disorder (PTSD). Not to mention the possible effects on our physical health such as tinsilitis and ‘Post Merriment Syndrome (PMS)’.
On the serious side, there are many psychological studies that have demonstrated that people do often experience more stress in the lead up to Christmas. This week I’ve heard of mothers having meltdowns in the aisle at a local department store while they queue with their little darlings to see Santa. I understand, I do. And children having similar meltdowns at the Warehouse. Here is a blog post that really resonated with me – A guide to an ‘unstressy christmas’. :http://www.greatfun4kidsblog.com/2013/12/my-updated-guide-to-unstressy-christmas.html. Next year I might make a batch of simple mini quiches and put them in the freezer – then when there are seven or more different events that we are invited to in December where you have to take a plate of food, I have something on hand. And I like to take something savoury rather than something sweet, otherwise it is sugar overload in the lead up to Christmas which also doesn’t help our physical or mental health. But thankfully there is always Couplands, and so this year, I just went and stocked up on the savouries that were on special.
Also, for a helpful Christmas planner see: http://theorganisedhousewife.com.au/category/holiday-seasons/christmas/
Disclaimer: This post is designed to be a light hearted look at the pressures that many individuals and families face in the ‘Silly Season’. It is in no way intended to be disrespectful or offensive to those persons who may be facing significant mental health concerns.