The pressure of Christmas

Christmas. The most magical time of year. The culmination of months of anticipation- my planning starts in the summer in earnest but really starts Boxing Day.

It’s such a pressure though. I feel frazzled- not just the physical preparation but the mental too. The need to make it perfect, the competition on presents (anyone else get a little panic seeing some trees laden with presents and think ‘I’ve not got enough, then realise you’re being ridiculous), the carefully chosen presents that you worry ‘are they the right thing?’ ‘Will they love them’, the traditions that go wrong.

My house isn’t perfect and this year I spent Christmas Eve in a blind panic that it’s not clean, the washing wasn’t put away and why? Is Santa really going to care? It’s definitely not beautifully and tastefully decorated, but it is full of my near three year old’s artwork. Our tree is a riot of colour and memories, and a complete mishmash of ornaments and it looks good. There’s toys everywhere but actually, how much do I care? With the Jones’s literally in our living room daily (thanks Facebook/instagram) the pressure to match up is huge.

I spent 45 minutes tonight trying to get that perfect Christmas Eve photo. Haven’t succeeded in three years of trying. The toddler was tired and didn’t want to sit still or smile nicely, or have the ability to follow my exacting instructions. The baby slept, but then woke up and didn’t want to go back down next to the toddler. Why did it matter? I got stressed and made the toddler cry and my husband leave the room. It ruined my Christmas Eve -all for one perfect photo that I still never got.

From now on, I’ve deleted Facebook for the week between Christmas and New Year. I’m putting less pressure on being perfect and more focus on being there. If I don’t get a great photo it’s ok (and actually the outtakes are pretty funny!) and Christmas is back to being what Christmas is about. Family time.

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