Planning Tips for Reducing Christmas Stress


Christmas is a special time of the year for most of us. It’s especially a time for family gatherings and while it may be wonderful to get together and mark the passing of another year there can be many stresses about.

Christmas is also a time for remembering and while for many their memories of past Christmas’ are filled with joy for others these memories may not be as happy. If this is the case for you it may influence how you approach planning Christmas for your family.

Here we highlight just some of the things that cause the most stress at Christmas and give you some tips for dealing with them.


Recreating The Perfect Christmas For Your Children

Many parents of young children say that up until they had their children they had forgotten how magical Christmas can be. Sharing in you child’s Christmas will bring back many of your childhood memories and emotions surrounding this special and magical time. It can also bring sadness too if your memories are unhappy.

Your memories of Christmas can remind you of  your childhood experiences of Christmas and you will want to recreate these memories for your child. But remember your partner also has their memories and they may be different to yours, e.g. – in their house the Christmas tree was in the porch but in yours it was in the sitting room! Its good to talk together about these memories so you can bring your two family traditions together for Christmas.

Trying to replicate exact Christmas’ from your past may not be possible. You may find yourself creating and adopting new traditions.

If your memories of your childhood Christmas are filled with unhappiness you need to be especially gentle with yourself at this time of year. Hopefully now you are experiencing happiness in your life and can now enjoy Christmas’ without fear or tension. Don’t feel that you have to make enormous efforts to make your children’s Christmas the ‘best ever’ in an effort to make up for your unhappy memories. What makes Christmas for children is being in a home free of fear and tension, where they are loved and cherished.


Stress and strain of Christmas

It can be easy at Christmas to get caught up in this maelstrom of emotions and begin to expect that because its Christmas all tensions and family disagreements should be forgotten. While Christmas is often a time of forgiveness and coming together, the pressures on families to have a wonderful time free of stresses and full of fun can be too much.

These expectations can be unrealistic and often cause additional stresses for the family which could be the added extra that actually causes the bickering and fights.

Just because it’s Christmas its unfair to expect your children to suddenly start behaving like little angels too. It’s a time of great excitement and expectations. While the imminent arrival of Santa may help to focus children’s attention on ‘being good’ because of the anticipation and excitement children will be ‘full of beans’ and ‘raring to go’! Call on your resources of patience and understanding and if you can – join in the excitement.

Christmas is a time for families and no matter what type of family you are part of your children main needs are for security and a stress free Christmas Day. While many will feel the need to fix any difficulties they may be having in their relationships within their family Christmas day is not the best day to try to solve any of these problems. The main priority has to be the children and their special needs on this special day. So if there are issues that you think may cause problems on the day look at ways of avoiding them.

Remember that no matter how much planning you put into Christmas and how you picture it will go there will be surprises – good and bad. While being prepared is wonderful be also prepared for plans not working out and not taking these setbacks too seriously.


Dealing with cries of “I’m bored”….

Christmas can seem like a long period to have to spend together at home, particularly if you are looking out at rainy, windy days! It may help to break up the holiday period if you have a few special activities planned, be sure to include doing something special together as a family in your list of activities etc.

It might also be a good time to remind Santa to choose toys with some long winter days in mind! Your child may also miss their friends and it’s probably a good idea to invite some of their friends round after Christmas to give them a chance to compare notes on Santa!

Christmas is often a time when children are allowed to stay up way past their usual bedtime. This can be fun and exciting for your child but it may have some knock-on effects.

Your child may become tired easier during the day and a tired child is often an irritable child! If you are allowing your child to stay up late give them the opportunity to sleep for longer in the morning ( no argument there, I hear you say!) but remember they may not make up for lost sleep by sleeping in. The reason for this is that it can take some time for children to get used to new sleeping habits and while they are adjusting they may be tired and irritable. So while it is inevitable that your child will have some late nights over the Christmas period try to be a little more patient with them if they are tired during the day.


Financial Worries

Christmas is such an emotional time that we can sometimes leave our common sense at home when we go Christmas shopping! If you are on a tight budget you may be dreading Christmas and the added expenses. It will help if you plan ahead and decide on what your actual budget for Christmas is.

Remember Christmas is about memories and emotions and money doesn’t necessarily buy happy ones.

Santa is of course a wonderful man but sometimes he gets a bit carried away with himself!!! If you provide your children with an atmosphere free of tensions and fear where they are loved and cherished that is really what they will remember as adults and the short term disappointment of not getting that ‘impossible to get’ toy will soon fade.


If you need some more support over the Christmas period and would like to see one of our experienced psychologists, contact us to learn more about an appointment or book in now!