My other ramblings

Festive Overindulgence

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?)

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24 thoughts on “Festive Overindulgence

  1. I think I must be blessed in this respect. Neither of my boys are particularly bothered about Christmas, it’s very strange indeed. The eldest has asked for a £15 Xbox gift card, the youngest has asked for a packet of Tic-Tacs! I ask you! Even when they were very small we had no problems with crazy excitement, they dutifully went to bed at 9pm on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning Richard and I would be excitedly banging up and down the stairs, flushing the toilet, singing really loudly and banging saucepans to try and wake them up at 9.30. I remember waking my parents up at 4.30, 4.45, 5.00, 5.15….
    It’s not that they don’t like Christmas, they do. But I asked them what they liked most about Christmas and they said ‘smiles and board games, and going to Edinburgh’ (we go to Edinburgh every year between Christmas and New Year, walk up Arthur’s Seat and then play at being tourists). I am very, very lucky that I have chilled out kids who are also wonderfully unmaterialistic (though it makes present buying very tricky!). xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ours know Santa brings presents but luckily haven been demanding, for which I am grateful. My little boy wants a drink bottle holder for his bike and some Lego and my daughter wanted a Dolly pram. Your trips to Edinburgh sound lovely, we go to the seaside the weekend after new year to blow the cobwebs away and it seems to be becoming a tradition for us. Hope you find the perfect gifts for your boys. x x

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      1. I think a lot of Christmas and Hogmanay is about the memories. I have so many fond memories of family Christmasses, and it wasn’t about the presents – it was about family get togethers, my dad having time off work and taking my sister and I out on long walks in the woods (my dad was always so busy, having him at home was such a treat!), quizzes and games nights, midnight feasts of Christmas leftovers….Christmas is still quite magical for me in that respect, that even when they know (which I think they do, though neither has let on) about Father Christmas, the real magic can carry on through memories of togetherness. xx

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  2. Shoot, I had a comment almost finished, and it vanished! Let me try again!

    Hang in there, Mrs. Craft!

    A suggestion for next year – maybe only pick 1 extra activity each week in December. So you can logically sort through what is most important to you and your little ones (and give them options and help them pick between them).

    A wise preschool teacher gave me advice about 18 years ago, when I was lamenting that I just couldn’t do it all with 3 little ones and a husband that traveled. She assured me that she didn’t expect any of the families to participate in every single activity and fundraiser. But, the school offered a variety of things, so you could choose what best fit your family.

    I am curious, How are the Advent books going?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is a good idea, I think we need to plan more carefully next year. We love the books, and it’s fab for us to have different books to read too. One or two mishaps where they’ve opened a book before I’ve checked the label so I’ve had to swap a couple of labels but it keeps me on my toes!

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  3. You have my sympathy – it seems to start earlier every year, with more and more ‘must do’ activities. Not sure there is a solution though, other than a yurt in a forest somewhere….. Perhaps you just have to give in and embrace it?!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You have my sympathies. I learned pretty quickly to choose the activities carefully – especially those that happened on a night prior to school the next day. (It was a ready made excuse to say a sad ‘no’ to those things “because it’s school the next day, poppet.”).

    Little ones get (what I call) ‘over-inputted’, and their brains can’t contain all that information, so they physically explode. You can almost see it happen. They just seem to go into melt-down and turn into wild things. Poor little souls.

    I agree whole-heartedly with you Mrs. Craft. Cut down the activities a little, so that they have less things, but more time to enjoy the things they do have.
    Sending squidges ~ Cobs. x

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  5. I think it’s pretty difficult to hide the world from your kids. Basically, it’s all in their face whether you do activities with them or not. Every context like this I guess can be viewed as some sort of learning opportunity for your kids. Turning it into a learning opportunity, though, is the challenge. As a teacher I have noticed that children often find comfort in a return to normality after something special has happened that riles them up. Helping them verbalize comparisons between holiday times and non-holiday times could be useful. Alas, I’m a language teacher, so I suppose I turn it all into communicative activities. BUT, children often act “out of whack” when they don’t have the resources necessary to talk about what they are observing and experiencing, so my two cents. You might like to try talking about it in a playful sort of way. Questions like (depending on age) “What do you like about months that aren’t holiday times?” and “What makes Christmas different from other days?” could be a way to get them talking and asking for words to describe their thoughts. The questions could come up when they do or say something related to this over-activity. You could sort of seize the moment or opportunity when they’re in this “mode” and feeling talkative.

    Liked by 2 people

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