Keep calm this Christmas season - lessons from kids

Did November creep up on you too? Did the weather all of a sudden turn warm and remind you that Christmas is just around the corner? Do you do a little “freak out” whenever you see a Christmas countdown banner in your newsfeed? Or sigh and wonder how you’ll ever get that massive to-do list completed in time?

Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you download a free printable to help you manage all of the expectations that the world places on you at this time of year… nor am I going to remind you how close Christmas is. Primarily because I don’t think Christmas is something we should freak out over. And if we are freaking out over it, it’s probably because we’re going all “adult” on ourselves. If you want to know how the Christmas season really should be approached, watch your kids for a little bit. They’ll give you some tips, kind of like these ones… courtesy of my own little people!

Play more.
It’s so true that you are and always will be your child’s favourite toy. Test the theory if you don’t believe me. Give them a bunch of fabulous toys to play with then interrupt them with “hey, let’s go outside and do some exploring!” You might not have much confidence in your ability to gain the attention of a worldwide audience, but I guarantee your child will jump at the opportunity to play with you. So play. Play fixes many things, including our often upside-down priorities.

Give yourself white space.
White space on the calendar, I mean. My kids LOVE a free day and all groan when I announce we have to run errands. Don’t we all?! Don’t fill every slot in your schedule with something to do. If you do that, you’ll miss out on all the impromptu goodness that crops up. You’ll be too busy “doing” that you’ll forget to just “be”. You’ll miss opportunities to just have fun – unplanned, unscheduled, untimed FUN – the kind kids have all the time.

Don’t spend over your budget.
The thing with kids is that they can’t overspend their budget, so this wouldn’t even be a tip that they’d think to give, but it came to mind last week when my daughter decided she wanted to purchase birthday gifts for a couple of friends. She took $15 out of her piggy bank and that was what she had to spend. If she came home with change, great. But she couldn’t spend more than the $15. It would be inconceivable for children to spend more than they own or earn. They don’t have credit cards. If the credit card is an issue for you, just leave it at home when you go shopping. And only spend within a carefully set budget. There’s nothing much more painful than a credit card hangover after Christmas…

Take more memories, less photos.
Recently, my 6 year old asked what I was going to do with all the photos I’d taken of the kids. There were several hundred on my phone and I guess he was wondering where they’d all end up. It reminded me that I take far too many photos. Honestly, just too many. And it’s a hard one, because I love photography and think my kids are the cutest on the planet, so why wouldn’t I want to take photos of them?! But there is most definitely a fine line, and the line needs to come between where the desire to preserve memories prevents us from living the moments. Kids enjoy the moment and take memories. We take photos so that we can look at the moment later. Rather than following the kids around with a camera on Christmas morning, maybe we should sit or walk beside them and enjoy the moment with them, rather than trying to preserve that memory to look at later. Because no matter how many times you want to look back at the moment, you’ll never be able to live it again.

I’d love to hear from you! What have your kids taught you about slowing down and enjoying the festive season?

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