Christmas Overwhelm is a very real and very stressful thing. Everyone else seems to be relaxed and in the festive mood, cheerful and buoyed up on plenty of Christmas spirits but there are plenty of people feeling the Christmas overwhelm and not feeling jolly and bright at all. I’ve written before about the expectation not matching up to the reality, also some truths about Christmas and about how it’s ok if you’re just ‘ok’ at Christmas!
For me, Christmas started so early this year and yet equally it’s completely crept up on me. I was complaining that the kids had barely gone back to school and there were mince pies in the shops and now suddenly there are less then two weeks to go until the big day and I’m starting to realise that I really am not prepared in the slightest.
Here are some of the most common causes of Christmas Overwhelm.
The food: There must be lots of it. The shops only shut for 1 day, just 1 and yet we must shop as if our lives depend on it. Food delivery slots are booked up for months in advance and even if you get one, will they have everything you need or will they substitute your Brussel sprouts for instant coffee or something equally important and ridiculous. So that leads you on to going to the shops. But when do you go? Too close to the day itself and you can’t park and people are trampling each other to get the last box of mince pies but too far away and you worry the food won’t stay fresh.
The presents: You know you bought some at some point but where are they? You either find them right before Christmas and realise you have 3 presents for your Mum and nothing for Aunty Sandra or you don’t find them until March and put them away again for next Christmas. If you have bought age appropriate toys for children, chances are that they will have grown out of them by the next year anyway and so they have to be re assigned to a younger family child or given to the charity shop.
Christmas cards: You have to post them before a certain date to ensure they get there, no-one wants a Christmas card after the event, what’s the point? And so you have to write them and buy stamps and post them. If you have older children you have to find a space in amongst all the Christmas mayhem and get them to sit down and write them out to all their classmates. Chances are they will have made some Christmas cards at nursery/pre-school/school with a photo on that are only relevant for one year and if you don’t get around to posting them, you will have a pack of 20 identical (and effectively useless!) cards that you can’t bear to get rid of as they worked so hard on them.
Teacher gifts: I love getting the teachers presents. I feel like they work so hard and they take such good care of my children that I like to say thank you. And we usually make the presents, (our slow cooker and two ingredient fudge recipes go down a storm usually!) but when do you find them time to do them? In between nativities, concerts, no uniform days, Christmas parties, trips out and general festive mayhem, when are you supposed to find the time to make anything?
Decorating: Now don’t get me wrong, I love decorating for Christmas, absolutely love it. There’s nothing better then getting your tree up and all the lights (this year we had our tree delivered which was a real time and effort saver!) but the problem is, you need to clean the house first! You can’t put decorations out when there is too much clutter and it’s true that the soft glow of fairy lights helps to hide the dust but really, a good clean is necessary first. Just when are you supposed to fit that in!
Christmas shouldn’t be about all this, but of course it is, and that’s why Christmas overwhelm exists. When you’re a child it’s so simple and it’s only as you get older that you realise how much goes on behind the scenes to make this magical day happen. I’m having a moan but I know when I’m in my new festive pjs, with my 5th cheeseboard of the holiday and the soft glow of fairy lights illuminating my children’s happy excited faces it will all be worth it.
Now let’s sharpen those elbows and get to the supermarket! 😀