It may seem a little early in the season for this post, sadly it is not about the marvellous feasts and treats that are so commonly the causes of at this time of year, but about ‘overdoing’ the festivities themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. The special times with family and friends, exchanging gifts, delicious meals, bright lights shining in those darkest days of the year and bringing the outside in with greenery and decorations.
This Christmas, though, is the first one where both of my children are aware of it all. We have been to Christmas fairs and events for the various causes we support (churches and preschool-the school one is still to come!) We are trying really hard to join in, as we want all of those places that are special to us to raise money for a successful year ahead (my main contributions were wine for raffle prizes-the pushchair was clinking on Thursday morning as I had 4 bottles in the shopping basket!) Anyway, I digress. This weekend we have made salt dough decorations, visited Santa at the church Christmas fair, been to a preschool disco/Christmas fair (where Santa also made an appearance) and then my son and I went to a Christingle service. This morning we also went to the church so that the adults could prepare the Christingles and the children watched a DVD. My son had his Nativity play this week and a trip to the cinema with school. His behaviour has gone down hill and I can’t help but wonder if it’s been overdone, too much excitement too soon. (My daughter is similar at the moment too!)
There are still two weeks to go until the big day and I’m exhausted from the effort of basically peeling my children off the ceiling and attempting to get them to behave like half decent human beings. (I suspect they are actually tired too!) It feels a little bit like the spirit of Christmas has been lost amongst the hype, which is really sad. Perhaps I’m just not used to it, as in previous years we haven’t had quite so many fairs and parties to attend, and this is the first time that we have attempted the Christingle service (he actually coped fairly well with it, 45 minutes is a long time if you can’t read the words to the hymns and you’re not sure when to say ‘amen’).
This post isn’t intended as a whinge, but more of a reflection on what Christmas means, and the effect that the prolonged festivities have on children. Waiting for Santa must feel like an awfully long time to children if people start talking about him in October! I’m thinking about how we can pace ourselves to get through to Christmas Day itself with fewer frayed tempers. It really is tricky, Christmas is everywhere! As I said earlier, we want to support local good causes but it is nigh on impossible to attend every event without rushing and feeling like you’ve seen enough chocolate tombolas to last a lifetime. Maybe next year I will show my support by donating cakes if it feels like we can’t go to everything.
How do you maintain an air of calm in your house in the run up to Christmas? Is there a parenting trick which no one has told me yet?
After all of that, I’m going to finish with a picture of a Christingle*, a reminder about why we celebrate. (At least in our house, I appreciate that not everyone celebrates in the same way.)
*This was my Christingle, my son ate the sweets off his on the way home as he needed sustenance for the half mile walk! (Perhaps that was why he was zipping around the house earlier?)