Every family is unique, and differences become clearer during the holidays, but there is one thing for sure – no one sets out to have a bad time! If the thought of hosting weird Uncle Glenn or catering for Sister in Law dietary requirements is giving you a headache, we’ve got five hot tips to make this Christmas one of peace and family unity and help you get your holiday off to a good start.
1. A happy Christmas starts with you
You can do this! A positive attitude reflects well on you and will cascade to your family and those around you. This might mean things don’t go as planned – how you react to these situations will set the tone for how everyone will feel about something and can affect plans for the whole day or trip. Think no show, travel delays, sick children, food fails, inappropriate gifts –there’s sure to be a doozy in your family from one year or another! Accepting the unexpected with as much grace and composure you can muster is a sure-fire way to make sure you can find the good in the situation – and it might just be a story for Christmases to come
2. Share the load and don’t be picky
Christmas can be hard work! Cooking for, and hosting masses of people while trying to cater for everyone and make sure they have a good time is a big job and possibly the reason it’s tackled by many just once every year – or less! Do your part, if your hosting, seek to divvy out jobs – people will gladly help. If you’re not hosting, offer lighten the burden of cooking or pitch in on the food expense. Always help clean up – and keep an eye on those munchkins and the mess they’re making too.
When it comes to food there is often a lot of tradition, but always a lot of effort – and lets face it, a Christmas table without leftovers is rare! Delight in food that others wish to eat and share and likewise if you have a preference, offer to make it.
3. Seek to celebrate everyone’s traditions – or start one
Traditions are the heart of family. They help us identify our tribe and build fond memories that last a lifetime. When we join other families, be they friends or in-laws, we are invited to share in and share our own traditions, which should always be approached with an open mind. This can be difficult to navigate at first, try to balance the development of your own traditions with those of the homes you came from - and why not start some shared traditions everyone can enjoy? Compromise is the best way to have a stress-free Christmas that everyone will enjoy.
4. Plan your day, communicate and be clear
Are you trying to be in many places over the holidays? If you have children – young ones are hard to travel and older ones can be moody. It doesn’t matter if you try and knock it over in one big day or spread the travel over a week – being out of the every day routine and steeped in obligation to be somewhere can quickly become an issue. If you know you / your child needs a nap or to eat at certain times of day, or maybe you all just don’t travel well – look at all your alternatives and plan accordingly. Maybe its meeting up for late new year’s get together in January when things calm down? Plan and communicate early what you and your family needs to have a good time – your loved ones will get it.
5. Make sure everyone has their own space
It is very hard to have constant visitors in your home. It always helps to have personal space to recharge and relax. While a quick visit may be manageable, you may be fighting the desire to be close to – and specially to have the kids be close to, in laws and grandparents, with the summer holidays representing the best time of year to build those memories.
If housing two families under one roof drives you to wish you were back at work, it could be time to start planning that Granny Flat or Home Extension to make sure everyone has that little bit of - particularly at night with the kids and your own nightly routine in place to ease any tensions – and this could work for your guests as well! Read more about The Benefits of Hosting Christmas with a Granny Flat
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