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Many families nowadays just aren’t used to spending large chunks of time together.  With both parents working and the kids in school and then busy with after-school activities, our days are rushed and we don’t get much time to just sit and chill together.  Holidays and Christmas are traditionally family times and it’s when we all like to spend time together, with extended members of the family and other relatives that we may not see on a daily or even weekly basis.   Much as this is to be looked forward to, this huge fest of togetherness can also bring strains.  If you want to survive the big family Christmas this year, here are a few tips to get you through. 

Make a Plan.  Get together with the kids and make a list of what you all want to do.  Let everybody be involved in the decisions and discuss issues such as time with friends and time with relatives.  Try to make sure that you parents get a little down time if possible – the grandparents may want to take the kids out for a few hours, a great opportunity to recharge your batteries.

Get Everybody Involved.  Don’t try to do everything yourself, let the family join in.   Delegate jobs – even the youngest can join in (this is great for promoting self-confidence and a sense of responsibility in the kids and an excellent way of bonding as they see your trust in them).  The whole family can help to prepare the Christmas lunch – bread can be grated for stuffing, vegetables need preparing, stuff will need mixing, rolling and whipping – this will all be great fun for the kids.  Delegate the “friends and relatives” present wrapping to one of the children if possible – let them be creative and take care of a huge job for you while they’re at it.

If you want to blitz the house before the big day, choose a day when the kids are home from school and get them to help out.  If you have a large family and you get them all involved, this could be done in a couple of hours after school one day.  You supervise and they do the work – the house will be spick and span in no time at all.

Relax and Enjoy the Day.  If you’ve had help with the preparations, then chances are everything will go well on the day and the whole family will have a great time with no tantrums or frayed tempers.  If things do go a bit wrong, try to relax and laugh it off.  If you’re calm and relaxed you’ll deal with any problems that arise more efficiently.  Have a couple of glasses of wine to get into the atmosphere, but try not to drink too much.  You’ll want to stay in control, especially with the kids around.  Once the kids are in bed you can let your hair down a bit.

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