What is REALLY important to you at Christmas?

Ah, Christmas. For such a globally significant occasion, it’s a day that means something different for everyone.

For some it’s a 5am start, as kids are bursting with excitement.

For others, it’s a religious day focused on worship and community.

For a few, it’s a poignant day of being reminded of a loved one lost.

For parents, Christmas can often be a time of huge internal conflict. On the one hand, it’s a time of major overwhelm – with presents to buy, menus to plan, Term 4 to wrap up, school holidays looming, awards, concerts… oh, and probably additional demands at work too. (Phew!) On the other, there’s the excitement of putting together a special day. Decorating the house, seeing the magic in the kids’ faces, enjoying community festivities together and celebrating the end of the school year. It’s no surprise that parents feel mentally and physically drained by the time Santa hops down the chimney.

Kimberley Harper, Parentline’s Manager says that Christmas expectations can often mean we lose track of what’s really important.

“Of course, we want everyone to have this ‘perfect’ Christmas, but not if it comes at the cost of our own wellbeing,” says Kimberley.

When the silly season starts to feel overwhelming, Kimberley recommends reminding yourself about what’s really important to you at Christmas. Ask your partner and the kids too.

“Take a breath and write down what is most important to you over the Christmas season. What do you want to remember? Who are the people you want to spend it with? What gatherings are most important to you and your family? Focus on what’s truly important to all of you,” Kimberley says.

“My favourite thing about Christmas is jumping into Mummy and Daddy’s bed in the morning with my stocking to open it. Then we eat Brie and crackers for breakfast, we play loads of games, like Charades and Pictionary, and Marco Polo in the pool. Mummy and Daddy are always extra silly and funny on Christmas.”

Though COVID Christmases are anything but ‘normal’, our kids will still look back on these times with the same fondness that we ourselves look back on our own childhood Christmases.

“It’s not the presents they remember, or the matching napkins and table decorations,” says Kimberley. “It’s those meaningful memories that the whole family will treasure most.” “And from these childhood Christmas memories, they will grow their own family traditions. Just as you have.”

Parentline is open 7 days a week, even through the festive season, to help and support you in parenting. Call for a chat on 1300 30 1300 or jump online at parentline.com.au for a WebChat. The Parentline counsellors are waiting and are here to help.

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Written by Angela Sutherland

After spending many years hustling stories on busy editorial desks around the world, Angela is now mum of two little ones and owner/editor at Kids on the Coast / Kids in the City. She is an atrocious cook and loves cutting shapes to 90s dance music.

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