Ok there are some people who won't cope very well over Christmas and the title of my blog post is not aimed at them.
What I'm referring to are the endless blog posts appearing in my timeline, on face book and in linkys 'how to survive Christmas with kids' and 'top tips to get you through the season' and even worse 'how to explain to your kids why Santa didn't bring them the gifts they wanted'
I'm not opposed to anyone writing any of the above but I do get annoyed when people feel the need to talk about surviving something that doesn't actually need surviving, such as Christmas, especially when the post is titled 'Surviving Christmas with Kids' it's up there alongside 'sacrifices I've made for my children'
Christmas, if you choose to celebrate it is supposed to be a fun time, about family, decorating the tree, school plays, gifts. OK, I'm choosing to leave the religion part out here, that's a different post all together, one I won't be writing.
Christmas isn't about stress, or it's not supposed to be anyway. It's not about whose kid gets picked for the school play, it's about taking part. Blog posts shouldn't be about putting the parents down of the child who took the lead role or heaven forbid the child themselves, because yours didn't get picked. It's not about judging how your face book friend chooses to post pictures of their kids presents piling up under the tree and you writing a whole post on how people like that are selfish and should consider your childs' or more importantly your feelings because you can't afford to do that.
It's not about spending a small fortune on things you can't afford for fear of your child being bullied for not having the biggest, best, most expensive present and certainly isn't about getting into debt for, especially when you're still paying off the debt from the family holiday you've blogged about in a similar vain.
If you can't afford something, then you don't have have it. If it's out of stock and you can drive a 100 mile round trip to collect it, then do so, that's ok, but don't moan about those who do or don't because you choose not to or can't do or don't as I read on a recent mumsnet thread.
Without sounding too old (I'm 46) I don't remember returning to school in January with the topic of conversation being all about who had what for Christmas. I don't remember my kids getting in a strop because they didn't open the right gift on Christmas morning and I certainly don't remember there being a meltdown when one of the older ones informed their younger brother that Santa wasn't real, we just brushed over it and said 'if Santa isn't real then who puts the stockings at the bottom of the bed on Christmas Eve?' they knew I did it and if they visit over Christmas as adults I still do it.
We told our kids that the presents under the tree were from us and family and friends, how else could we explain the random timing and appearance of the gifts, with 5 kids I shopped early, had little storage space, so they were wrapped and plonked under the tree. We were fair with the number of gifts they had, if not the value, they were asked to make a list and Nintendo's and latest PS's were crossed off straight away as being too expensive.
However you choose to do Christmas is your choice and I hope you don't think from this post I'm telling you what you should or shouldn't do. My post is aimed at asking you to take a step back and think about what you write about how others choose to do their Christmas differently from yours and just consider for a moment that there intention might not be to show off, or be aimed at putting you down, just sharing how they do things, in their way, celebrating their successes and hard work and in no way making any one else feel like they need to 'survive Christmas with their kids'
After all it won't be long before like me, you'll be spending Christmas without the kids, they'll have left home, live in a different country, maybe have their own families. Spending Christmas without the kids as a blended family is something we've done on many occasions over the years, but we've still had an actual Christmas, just not on December 25th. Enjoy it while you can, don't worry about the number of gifts, the amount of food, whether Santa is real or not, let the kids discover that for themselves, just enjoy it and do it your way, whether that's with or without a Christmas Eve box or not. My kids remember Christmas, but they don't remember what gifts they had.
Well, I like your style and I think you are brave to post this - I hope you don't get too many negative responses! Personally I wholeheartedly agree (and I don't even celebrate Xmas for religious reasons!) It shouldn't be about all the above things, but unfortunately it is. Personally I am glad I can stay well away from all the stress and just enjoy the time of year for all the good bits - 2 weeks off school, cosy films infront of the fire and long walks with family - it makes me happy to read that you cherish the right things about it too!ReplyDelete
thank you, I'm not worried about negative responses, I find I tend to interact with like minded people on the whole and a negative response just shows people up, so in general they don't tend to be brave enough to leave themDelete
You are so right. Everyone's Christmas is no-one's business but their own, and no-one has the right to judge anyone else's. Isn't this society as a whole though? Everyone judges everyone else so quickly these days, and usually via the medium of social media. The internet has a lot of good points but it also has an awful lot of bad points too - bragging, preaching and telling people how they should be living their lives being three of them lol! 'TweensTeensBeyondReplyDelete
what i hate the most is how some people think that certain people by posting about what they do/spend is aimed at putting others down, as if it's showing off and rubbing other peoples noses in it on purposeDelete
Yep. It does run away with itself at times I'll be the first to agree. Totally agree with your values Suzanne. I'm also mindful that Christmas can be a difficult time in terms of memories and circumstances - that's the important stuff. I love giving at Christmas whether that be through a beautifully wrapped gift or just showing up on someone's doorstep unexpectedly. That's what it's all about. Plenty more important things to stress about. Thanks for sharing with #tweensteensbeyondReplyDelete
there's a lot about christmas this year that will make me sad since my dad died but I certainly don't feel the need to write my guide on how to survive the experience with my kids/hubby or anyone elseDelete
I've never felt any need to read a post entitled "how to survive Christmas" as I also don't see it as a survival experience and never have. However I do think some of those titles are clickbait written by people who are actually just offering some nice tips. For some reason it draws people in if it looks like you're suffering?? I dunno! Seems a bit unlikely to me. Hope your Christmas goes well. #TeensTweensBeyondReplyDelete
i think as a rule people are only interested in human suffering and see this who write about the good stuff as merely showing offDelete
What a lot of sense you talk! I totally agree with this. The only 'surviving' I do is finding the time to shop, wrap and write cards, on top of the usual stuff. My kids have always had that will be of some use to them and they get a reasonable number, but we certainly don't go overboard, I really don't think it's necessary. It doesn't make Christmas happier. For the second time my younger son is making a huge financial contribution to his.ReplyDelete
yes the kids used to pool their money from relatives and birthdays and often wait till the sales to buy their own giftsDelete
I think some may be looking for a clickable title and hoping to get a bit more traffic to their blogs from people who are looking for a few tips. I agree though, if you feel that Christmas is something that you need to 'survive' it may be time to take a different approach. As you know my kids are much older now and we are going away for Christmas this year so I'm looking forward to that. I'm more of a Summer person myself I have to say! Thanks for sharing with us at #TweensTeensBeyondReplyDelete
christmas away sounds good, we go out for lunch now the kids have left homeDelete
Oh Suzanne I think this is one of my favourite posts of yours. It is so heartfelt and spot on! My youngest teen asked me only yesterday what I enjoyed most about Christmas and I said just being together with friends and family and enjoying some quality time. That is enjoyment not survival. I hope you and your family have a fabulous time. #TweensTeensBeyondReplyDelete
Thank you Jo, it was written in frustration/on reflectionDelete