I still have a birthday, jump out of a plane, music concert, grade 6 graduation and Santa assembly to live through before I have the headspace for Christmas.
I use the term “live” loosely.
Honestly, I feel like I’m unravelling …
Given Christmas has been on the supermarket shelves since sometime around April 4th, and our inboxes and news feeds are filling with Gift Guides and dealing with toddler tantrums whilst shopping, I can’t escape it. So, I’m just .. sharing the love.
The reality is, though, that it is the season for tantrums and the like. In typical fashion, the focus is on the kids and how to prevent them having tantrums.
Right now, I’m feeling the pressure and tempted to be totally patronising and provide you with a list of how to tame those pesky tantrums children like to throw in shopping centres. I could also add so pretty, pastel coloured images and tone the language down so you feel like your normal child is more akin to Satan himself than a normal child.
You know: make sure they are well rested before you take them out (like you have a choice, sometimes), and have had something to eat and drink. Also, give them plenty of warning and sit down and have a lovely little chat over some pretend tea and biscuits about how you plan the day to go. Get their input.
Because we know how children can sit and provide useful information about a three hour shopping expedition when they are two.
I could do that, but that just makes me feel like punching Rudolph is his smug little red nose.
What about we adults!?
We have tantrums too, you know!
In fact, not too many Christmases ago, I witnessed a tall, slim, Scandinavian looking man toss a handful of Christmas themed biscuit cutters at a considerably stunned shop assistant in House.
Anyhoo, much of the above tips could – and probably should – be applied to the adults in question, too.
- Get yourself some rest before embarking on Christmas shopping (pahahahahahaha – sorry, couldn’t resist!)
- Make sure you have something to eat before you go (grab a pack of weetbix from the pantry and shove them down your throat as you drive)
- Make sure you have something to drink and are well hydrated (take a bottle with you – no, not a flask of vodka … although …)
- Write a list and only get what you need
- Research the shopping centre you’re going to so you know what route to take and where the shops you need to visit are
OK, sorry, I really am being narky and patronising now, aren’t I? We all know you have no time to research, shopping centres keep moving shops around and they won’t stock what’s on your list anyway …
Besides, the stress goes beyond – way beyond – the present purchasing thing. Everyone wants a piece of you, you have Christmas parties and Christmas concerts to attend, people you haven’t seen all year want to “catch up before Christmas” (Why? WHY? What is happening that it can’t wait till, I don’t know, possibly never given they’re so important that you haven’t seen them all year?)
You know they drill. You’re living it.
Here are my handy tips to reduce the likelihood of reducing you to screaming tantrum over Christmas dinner and having the incident brought up by the in-laws for decades to come:
- Make sure you write all your engagements, parties, appointments etc in a diary. For added measure, add all items to a calendar/wall planner/monthly planner in view of all the family;
- Make a clear list of who you need to purchase for and ideas on what to purchase them;
- Visualise any and all engagements, particularly those that cause the most angst. Visualise the best case scenario; what will this look like for you, what outcome do you want? Now, transfer this to a vision board or draw it on a piece of cardboard – this is important;
- Take all these items and make a bonfire from them. Toast some marshmallows while you are out there.
This will completely remove any expectations you have about how you’d like Christmas to look. Then you can’t be disappointed.
Whip up some fruit cake mix (preferably brandied) – one mix of each impending engagement/event/concert/school Santa assembly – you’ll be needing it.
Do not go to the trouble of baking; eat it straight from the bowl using your fingers. Spoons are ok if you’re with company.
I’m not sure what it is, but fruit cake mix has some amazing stress relieving properties.
And you’ll be well fed before heading out on those shopping trips.