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For The Parents Struggling To Make Christmas Magical


Last night, I was wrapping the children's Christmas presents (no, you're right - it wasn't 11pm on Christmas Eve. Go, me!), and I started to feel a low level panic.

Each of our kids has five gifts from us plus a stocking full of trinkets. We've chosen the gifts with care and, were the kids given any one of those items individually at any other time, they would be over the moon. But, somehow, looking at those piles of gifts last night, they seemed far, far, far too small.

Let's not get into consumerism here. I know Christmas shouldn't be about the presents. I believe my children already have more toys than they need. Last Christmas, I could see the volume of presents overwhelming my then-two year old. It wasn't about the stuff exactly.

It was about the magic.

Because, when I picture a Victorian Christmas tree on a card or I imagine an American movie, I picture mountains of gifts. Mountains. With hideously manipulative elves skiing down them, they're so big. Robins perched on top. A giant Jenga puzzle of presents. A cacophony of clashing wrapping papers.

Not five gifts and a stocking.

Five gifts and a stocking doesn't look as magical. At least, not when it's sitting in the middle of the living room floor, with the Christmas tree invisible behind me.

I needed to have a word with myself.

I reminded myself: CHRISTMAS IS NOT ALL ON STEVE AND ME.

We are not the only ones bringing magic into our children's lives.

Even if we accept - briefly and incorrectly - that five presents is not enough to make Christmas magical, we are not the only people giving them presents. There are already gifts in our house from grandparents and cousins and friends and neighbours, and we know there are still more to be delivered. They will not just - "just" - have five gifts.

We are not the only people providing them with festive fun. Almost every baby class and toddler group and sports club in the land is holding a Christmas party where a skinny Santa hands out milk-laden chocolates. Nurseries and schools are churning out decorations and cards and dances. CBeebies is a twelve hour torrent of seasonal specials.

We are not even the only people showing them sparkles. We walk around our neighbourhood and point out the twinkly fairy lights and garish garden strobe effects. The shops are belting out festive tunes.

Christmas is all around us, unavoidable, more than adequate.

The kids' pile of gifts from us is not The Full Works.

Nor does it have to be.

So, I had this word with myself and I ditched the unrealistic expectations I had heaped upon my parenting plate.

And this is a reminder for you, if you're currently panicking that your festive efforts are not enough: CHRISTMAS IS NOT ALL ON YOU. 

You don't make Christmas alone.

Your kids will find magic everywhere.

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