Matching PJs, colour co-ordinated decorations, well-groomed children smiling in front of a twinkling Christmas tree, a gleaming table setting with flickering candles in the flawless centrepiece.... It's all a bit much, isn't it?
Christmas time is complicated.
While we might all want it to be a straightforward joyous and magical occasion, the truth is that it’s a unique experience for everyone.
One year you’re flying high with a new job, a great relationship, your health is good and your family is well.
The next year might tell a very different story.
Then, there’s the financial stress. As social media comparisons become greater and more far-reaching, it looks like every parent from your child’s class is suddenly a ‘home influencer’ with picture-perfect decor, an immaculately clean kitchen and the obligatory ‘matching PJs’ shot on their grid on the night of the Toy Show.
You want Christmas to be perfect. For your children, for your family, but if you’re honest, you also want it to be perfect for those post-Christmas chats at work or at the school drop-offs in January.
Please don’t compare yourself to these parents. You’re doing a great job already.
The fact is, perfection is impossible and by striving for it, you’re preventing yourself from enjoying it as it is. Try this concept on for size instead:
“Christmas does not have to be perfect to be amazing!”
You can have the best time with your family and friends if you take note of the following tips…
1. Change your perception of perfection
Instead of thinking about how things should look perfect, think about how the important things can make it feel perfect. If you have a roof over your head, heat in the house, food on the table and everyone is healthy, you’re already more than half way there.
Focus on how many times your child laughs or watch their face light up when they play in the snow with the dog or run down a sand dune after Christmas dinner.
2. Mute certain accounts for a few weeks
You’re only human and if certain social media accounts that you follow are making you feel bad or less than because they’re sharing flawlessly edited videos of their trip to Lapland, mute them.
Keep your eyes fixed on your own Christmas and plan how you can help everyone enjoy the day rather than attempting a dazzling domestic display.
3. Think about your child’s personality when buying them a gift
Children might ask for a big, shiny, expensive present but if you can’t afford that right now, don’t sweat it. They’re not going to have the worst Christmas ever.
In fact, if you think about their personality and what they love to do, chances are you can come up with a gorgeous present they never even considered but that they’ll love even more than the flashy one they asked for.
4. Adopt slow fashion and sustainability practices
You don’t need a new ‘Christmas outfit’ every year. And now, thankfully, slow fashion and sustainability have become massive trends.
Not only will this be easier on your pocket but you should actually feel encouraged to re-wear that dress or outfit that you adore on December 25th to do your bit for the planet too.
5. Embrace the chaos
Memories are made from funny stories, comical mishaps and things that, although they seem devastating at the time (like forgetting to turn on the oven after you put the turkey in), end up being hilarious anecdotes that you’ll share for years to come.
So, if things go wrong, do your best to see the funny side. If you feel your stress levels rising, take a deep breath and ask yourself if it will matter in a year’s time. And finally, remember that as long as you give your family the love and attention they deserve and feel it in return, that’s the real definition of a perfect Christmas.