If you can’t all make it together for December 25, just plan the celebration for a different date. Picture: iStock
If you can’t all make it together for December 25, just plan the celebration for a different date. Picture: iStock

How to celebrate Christmas minus the chaos

SERIOUSLY, how is it nearly Christmas time again already?

Friends and family are already talking about their Christmas plans and it is making me feel stressed. Not that I have anything against the reason for the season.

What I don’t like is all the stress and tension that turns ordinary people crazy as they try to outdo the hype and deliver the perfect Christmas for their kids and extended family.

Every year I see people spend money on things they don’t need and going all out to ensure they can gather all their family members in one place on December 25.

Most times it ends in tears as they are left stressed, in debt and overwhelmed.

There has to be a better way to make the most of what is supposedly the most magical time of year.

I’m not suggesting we ban Christmas, but I do think we should think about how we can actually bring joy to our lives.

Now that I’m a parent of parents I know I can alleviate some of the madness by giving our kids permission to have the sort of Christmas they want.

I don’t put pressure on them to be home for the day.

Of course I’d love to see them on December 25, but not if I know it is just adding pressure to their day.

Trying to split one day between two or more family events is never easy — add in toddlers and a long drive and it is more likely to deliver tears than any sort of joy.

So, I’m all for letting them celebrate wherever and however they want.

If it’s not with us, then I will plan a family day for a different date.

I’m all for no drama, no stress and giving them time to do things they want to do — surely that’s the best gift during the silly season.

I’m also keen on downsizing the gift list.

I love to give and receive gifts, but I don’t love the pressure it puts on my kids who are juggling dollars and debts every other week of the year.

Spending their money on things I don’t need makes me stressed.

It’s a cliche, but the best gift is their presence and I don’t want that with strings attached.

So, if my time with them comes days before or after Christmas Day and all they bring is themselves and my grandkids then I have all I need to bring me joy and a host of new memories I can reflect on as I pull down the Christmas tree for another year.