Christmas in our house is not like i’d always imagined our family Christmas’s would be. It starts with the build up to Christmas causing Jamie a great deal of stress as everything is different and she likes routine. School has no routine and it’s all far too exciting. Luckily this year with being home schooled we can keep the disruption to a minimum.
I always expected to get up on Christmas morning and the kids be extremely excited, rip into their presents, have carols on in the background, eat Christmas dinner, play with toys and generally have a fun day. Unfortunately that was not to be. From the year that Jamie was old enough to understand she was completely overwhelmed. She did’t like the huge amount of presents, she didn’t understand why people would buy her things she didn’t want (to her that is pointless). We had a couple of years where she just cried. She didn’t want the presents and she doesn’t eat Christmas Dinner. To some people she would seem ungrateful but it is much more than that.
So we sat down with Jamie and discussed different options and how we could make Christmas easier. We could not wrap the presents so she didn’t have to open them, we could wrap them in see through paper, we could have a present a day for advent. So she decided she liked unwrapping the presents as long as they were things she was interested in but she didn’t want too much as it overwhelms her so a present a day for advent would be perfect. Whatever she opened that day she would be able to enjoy without worrying about opening other things. So for the last few years this is what we have done – and it has worked great.
So on the evening of 30th November we put our tree up and Santa delivers her presents and each day she opens one. 9 times out of 10 it will be a book, so she can read it and re-read it if she wants to and not have to worry about a pile of presents to open. This for us has taken the stress out of Christmas. She makes a list and most people stick to it. There are some people that don’t agree with
A – her only getting things she wants and
B – her getting them before Christmas
With these people I tend to open their presents and see if it is appropriate and if not wrap something she wants, stick their tag onto it and reuse their present. This may not sound nice, but for us it is better than a meltdown. The other thing we do is we have our Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve so that we are not spending the day in the kitchen and we have time with the kids eating chocolates!!
Another reason this works really well for us is that my son Joe is a Christmas Day baby, Christmas Day for us is more of a birthday celebration for him and Jamie loves this. He gets his Christmas Presents first and then his birthday presents and we have a little tea party (as we’ve already had Christmas Dinner the day before).