Reducing Christmas friction
Parenting expert John Cowan shares some tips on easing the tension for a more harmonious Christmas:
The first Christmas sounded very stressful: long journeys, dodgy stable accommodation and unexpected visitors (though I imagine chaps bringing gold were quite welcome). Add to that having to flee the country to escape a mad ruler trying to murder your baby and it all makes whatever you have to put up with this Christmas seem pretty mild by comparison.
Here’s a hamper of ‘don’ts’ to get you through:
Don’t scowl at the in-laws
Does it really matter what your in-laws think about politics or rugby or the Kardashians? Does it really matter that you are sure that they still think that their son or daughter could have done a lot better than marry you? It’s Christmas! Smile. Agree. And remember: any grief you give them will be returned to you, with interest, via your spouse.
Don’t Spend Too Much
Budget blow-outs are a major source of yule-tide friction. Agree on a gift budget… and then allow for that budget to be exceeded by about 50%.
Don’t Spend Too Little
A survey showed about half of all woman thought their husbands gave lousy gifts, and it matters! So, if you want a rubbish Christmas, buy your spouse a rubbish present. If you bought it where you buy your petrol, or if you bought it within an hour of closing time on Christmas Eve, or you hear yourself saying, “It’s something we both can use!” then expect the spirit of Christmas to evaporate fairly fast. And if you receive a lousy present, smile, look grateful, and put it somewhere safe until you can give it back on their birthday.
Don’t do all the work
Thank Santa for giving you new assertiveness skills, and make up a list of chores for your spouse and capable children to do to help get everything done. If you do do all the work, at least keep telling yourself what a wonderful person you are.
Don’t let Christmas kill Christmas
If Christmas is so frantic it’s not giving you the warm, fuzzy, nostalgic rush that it used to, you need to downscale the complexity and upscale the meaning of the thing. Cancel a few engagements to give yourself the time to soak up the decorations, read the cards and smile at the pleasure you see on the faces around you. The amazing thing about Christmas is that it still works.
Published with permission from theparentingplace.com