It may seem a shocking concept for most, but mothers are meant to enjoy Christmas too. That’s true even if they have small kids, big grown-up kids, are single, married or other. This is your unrequested but essential Mums Guide To Enjoying Christmas.
Being a mum over the festive season is hard work. Not only are you usually at the helm of organising, but you also do a majority of the cooking, shopping, present wrapping, card making, festive activities and all the other things that come with making other people (people you love) happy.
This is all great, but it is also very stressful and takes a lot of the fun out of the festivities. Our job as mothers is not just to serve and facilitate happiness for others, but to experience it ourselves first-hand. To help you get maximum happiness and joy from this season, I have compiled a list of things you can do to make it more fun and much less stressful.
1. Set boundaries.
Setting boundaries is essential to your self-care and as mothers, we need to normalise putting our needs before others. Can I bring Uncle so and so, his wife and three kids to your family Christmas meal? No. (An explanation is not necessary, but you can provide one if inclined.) No, I have already budgeted for the people invited. Can you hold off on lunch I have to do so and so first. No, food will be ready at this time, and I will not wait.
Saying no is hard so start practicing now, and get people used to you setting boundaries and sticking to them.
2. Stay home.
So, your mum, mother-in-law, sister, and great-aunt Sherlly all want you round on Christmas day. Stay home and disappoint them all. It is okay to keep it to immediate family, do video chats, visit on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day but keep Christmas Day itself for your family only. By staying home you are prioritising your needs and it’s a great way for mums to better enjoy Christmas.
*If you don’t want any of these people to spend Christmas alone, you can invite them around for Christmas lunch and into your circle. You are establishing boundaries, not auditioning to replace the Grinch who stole Christmas.
3. Festive Holiday
If it suits your budget and lifestyle, spend the festive season away. Go to a sunny destination or explore the colder climes and let others cater to your every need. Spend time immersed in other people’s festive traditions and take the pressure off yourself. You get to skip the family drama whilst sunning yourself on a beach lounge somewhere. Come back refreshed, revitalised and ready for the new year without all the family drama. You make the rules!
4. Delegate & Outsource
The epic task of bringing the Christmas / festive season alive is everyone’s responsibility. And you don’t have to do it all on your own. If you have the money, order in some of your Christmas food. Don’t feel pressured into spending the entire festive season in the kitchen. Spending money to save time is always value for money. If you don’t have the funds, delegate some of the tasks. Get the kids to do the veg, the partner to clean and do all the manual labour around the house. It becomes a family activity, relieving you of some of the pressure, and making it even more enjoyable.
5. Create your own traditions.
There are lots of activities you can do with your family that gets everyone involved and into the spirit of things. I can’t speak for teens and their level of involvement, but I hear they can be…uncooperative. But for everyone else, here are some things you can turn into festive traditions that will make the period more fun and reduce the strain and pressure on Mum, freeing her up to have festive fun.
- Tree decorating – It will look like a mess, but you can fix it later when no one is looking.
- Christmas market – We visit together to find last-minute handmade presents and to support small businesses.
- Present wrapping night – We have house presents that the kids wrap.
- Gingerbread making – messy play.
- Food Prep night (Usually Christmas Eve) – Everyone washes, peels, cleans, and gets the food ready for the big day. Snacks, drinks, and festive music is involved, and the work is shared.
- Pomander balls – Fun for the little ones that they can add to the tree to make the house smell amazing!
- Christmas colouring books or card making – Creative play for all.
- Christmas movie night. – Home Alone, The Grinch, A Christmas Carol (The Muppet Version), Oliver, Romancing the Stone. Popcorn and mulled wine/ or adult mocktails is a great way to get ready for Christmas Day.
- Christmas supermarkets sweep with older kids. – Give the kids the list and send them out to get the goodies whilst you stroll around. It can get quite competitive, and the supermarket workers will not love you for it, but it is so much fun!
6. Keep your me time sacred.
The social expectations for Christmas can be overwhelming. Work parties, friends meet-ups, and family gatherings for both sides, it’s all a bit much. Keep your me time sacred and do not compromise on it. Stick to your morning routine, read, meditate, gratitude, and journal. Spend quality time with yourself and your thoughts to recentre and recuperate. You will feel less stressed and more grounded, I promise you!
6a. Look after your skin.
All the rich foods and drinks over the festive period combined with the cold weather and central heating can wreak havoc on your skin. Make sure to be consistent with your beauty routine. Now is the time to use butters and balms and rich creams to protect your skin. Never skin SPF even on the greyest of days.
6b. Take your supplements.
Black women are especially prone to poor health over winter due to vitamin D deficiency and suffer from low iron and extreme fatigue due to iron deficiency. Take your vitamin D and iron. Together they boost your immune system and replenish your energy helping you to stay fit and healthy all year round but especially during this stressful and draining season.
7. Budget, budget, budget
We all want to give the world to our kids, family, and friends, but with rising costs, it is practical to be prudent with your money. It is important to create a budget and stick to it, even if you are a millionaire, you’ll need to budget to remain one. Take a step back and think about the 7 long weeks of January, and how you are going to survive if all your money is blown in December. I don’t want to sound preachy or tell you what to do with your money; I just want you to be okay in January and start the new year financially strong and confident.
8. Think outside the commercial gifting box
The best gifts are thoughtful ones, and you can do this by thinking outside of the box and not going to high street, or commercial shops. There are so many amazing small businesses that do unique, handcrafted and offer specialised products that you are bound to find something special in the ones you love.
Raise the Bar
Bar soap is a great stocking filler. It is small, feels good on the skin and the senses and is a great way for another mother to indulge herself during the festive period and beyond. We carry a range of handcrafted, high-quality shea butter bars that look after the skin and senses, leaving you, refreshed and revitalised. Shop bar soap.
As the move towards sustainability progresses, we can do our part by finding sustainable gifts for our loved ones. For the smaller kids, wooden toys are a great option. They are easy to clean, they last forever, and they can be passed down.
For the teens vintage leather goods are a great place to start. Even if they are vegan, leather is a more sustainable option than the plastic of vegan leather. Vintage pieces are a great way to show someone you love them.
Vinted, Facebook marketplace, eBay and Etsy are all great places to shop for vintage, unique handmade items.
9. Planning is winning.
- Planning saves you time and a lot of money so start early.
- The best time to get Christmas cards, tree decorations and other festive bits is in the January sales. It saves you a ton of money and puts you way ahead of the mass last-minute rush.
- During the year, shop for toys and tech as they go on sale and put them aside for Christmas.
- Festive food planning can begin September/October and you can plan to have the space in your freezer.
- Get precut veg to save you time in the kitchen and get your meats and desserts in October when they are on sale before the price hike of the festive period.
- Get your drinks throughout the year in the various sales and put them aside for the festive period.
- Put together your Christmas and New Year menu plus everything you’ll eat in-between. This will help you shop accurately.
- Plan who you are planning on visiting and when.
- Plan the travel costs, presents and even wrapping paper and decorations.
- Plan your self-care, me time and treats. Bringing the magic of Christmas alive take work so you need to budget in and plan out your rewards.
- Plan your finances and what your budget is for presents. Put aside that money monthly so that you are not scrambling in December.
10. Give back
Don’t overlook others in this festive season. So many people are displaced, have no-contact with their loved ones and are miserable over this period. Now is a great time to do good for goodness sake. Buying lunch or three at a homeless shelter. Donating to the food bank, going out on Christmas day to feed the homeless. Helping an elderly neighbour with shopping and domestic chores (or paying for it). It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do something.