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Christmas. You either love the festive season or loathe it.
If it’s the latter, you need to ask yourself why? Do you feel it’s too commercial? Do you think it’s lost sight of the true meaning? If that’s the case, in your world who’s let that happen?
I know when the girls were much younger I got lost for a while trying to fill Santa Sacks and little girls dreams to my wallet’s detriment. And then there’s been times in the past where cash has been low and I’ve had to be inventive. And then we’d move house and I’d pick up all those dreams ..some broken, some used once, some never used, very few truly loved and adored and cherished and I realised. ‘I’ had lost the meaning of Christmas.
So along this parenting journey, and perhaps because mine are now that bit older..I’ve got two teens and an 8 year old who still believes in Santa, it’s become easier at Christmas time and far more enjoyable. Because I have made it so.
Aligning my beliefs and values with what happens at Christmas.
I am a parent who treasures memories and sharing experiences with my kids, so our past few Christmases, have been predominantly experience based. Santa sacks still exist because of Master 8, however Santa has become quite ingenious. ‘He’ gives the kids things they need for the upcoming school year – pencils with their names on them, character erasers, etc etc and things like hair gel (all 8 year olds apparently need this by the tonne!), hair products for the girls too, face creams, novelty items that have practical uses like torches for when we go camping, undies and socks, new PJ’s and day clothes etc.
And under the tree from me… experiences that we can enjoy together. Experiences that add value to all of our lives. Experiences that create memories we’ll all have forever. Memories that don’t break the bank or my value system.
In my latest Ask Mentor Mumma #002 I mention the Christmas Calendar. It’s a brilliant idea I saw somewhere a few years ago. You take an upcoming year’s calendar and each month you plan a family event to share together. This is brilliant for two reasons: 1) you have a year of family experiences and memories to create, and b) you don’t need to find the funds to pay for it until that month. Honoring it is imperative so make sure you’re able to do that before you put them in the calendar. Do a calendar for each child and whilst they’ll all be the same you can also schedule in one on one time with each of them in theirs too. They will love it.
Please don’t create memories of Christmas being a stressful time in your family’s life. Instead establish your own values and make Christmas fit with that rather than what ‘others’ do or you think are doing.
Life is short. As the saying goes:
And so too for your children.
Make the decision today to decide what YOU value most about Christmas and make that the primary goal of this year. If you’ve got preteens and teens who’ve been spoilt rotten and gotten all the latest gadgets in the past, you may need to do some preliminary groundwork prior to the big day. Talk about what YOU value about Christmas, ask them to start to think about what THEY value about Christmas, and it may mean you need to apologise for losing the way through materialism and that you want to show them a different way. Whatever fits for your family.
I’ve heard of some parents taking their teens to midnight mass, then to volunteer in a homeless shelter serving breakfast before going home for family lunch and gifts. I’ve heard of entire families forgoing gifts in order to go on a Christmas cruise or holiday of a lifetime together making that their gift to each other, I’ve heard of families who have a special savings jar and whatever is saved from January through until November is ALL that is spent on Christmas, not a cent more – sometimes that jar has been used to invite friends with no family over for a family feast. There are so many ways to do ‘Christmas’. Choose yours and put some meaning back into Christmas. Any stress there is in Christmas, YOU have put there. Therefore YOU can remove it.
I’ve also heard of people who put things on rent buy options. I”ve heard of families who extend the credit card in order to do Christmas. I’ve heard of people borrowing to do Christmas. These are recipes for failure and put so much stress on you and your family and well into the new year.. not a great start. Please don’t do it to yourself or your kids. You all deserve better and THIS IS THE YEAR to start demanding better, of and for, yourself and your kids. Don’t let stress in and it’s you who holds to door opened or closed on that one. Put measures in place for next year to alleviate the stress even more than this year. You all deserve it.
55 sleeps to go. 55 days to create lifelong happy, joyful, stress free family memories for you and yours. I’m looking forward to hearing the stories of how you are making Christmas an amazing experience in your household.
If you’ve got a teenager or young adult in the house our book Beyond School: Practical Tips for Teens is just $20, life changing and perfect for their ‘Santa Sack’ or under the tree. A gift that will keep on giving for the rest of their lives. Order yours here
Give us your tips on creating a value and memory filled Christmas for your loved ones.