With the holidays coming up, we’ve put together a list of five tips we hope will be helpful for both you and your family...
1. Be realistic with your time
If you’re off over the holidays, you may have 101 plans to see various people and visit various places. Although it is great to have lots of lovely things scheduled, it is important that we are allocating the right time to these activities, and that we are not stretching ourselves too thin over the holidays. If you have a long list of people who you ‘swore you’d catch up with’, see if anyone on that list would like to do the Christmas shopping with you, or spend a couple of hours wrapping presents. Alternatively, don’t be afraid to set boundaries when you do visit people, so that you don’t feel pressured to stay longer than you feel able.
2. Don’t get into added debt; presence over presents
Christmas shopping can often feel never ending, and it is tempting (and so easy) for us to pay for things now and worry about payments later. Before you start your shopping, make a list of everyone you wish to buy for, and set an overall budget (with a rough budget per person). By keeping the individual budget somewhat flexible, if someone’s gift costs slightly less than anticipated, you have a little room if another gift is slightly more. Also, don’t limit your shopping to the highstreet or online; try shopping second hand at local car boot sales, charity shops, and on sell-it sites such as Facebook Marketplace. You can also try to make presents for family members, or gift ‘vouchers’ of things you can do for or with that person, such as a picnic at the park, or a night of free babysitting.
3. Address any unrealistic expectations
First, address any unrealistic expectations that you have. Christmas (although a holiday), is still another day. Therefore, it is likely to involve some of the usual (and not-so-perfect) things that many other days do, with the added pressure of the holidays. Be realistic with the things you are wanting to achieve - do the kids always behave beautifully? If not, is it likely that they will suddenly get along great when the’ve consumed more sugar and have had less sleep than any other given day? Use these queries to guide how you can better prepare for a smoother experience. Consider the example above - quiet time could be scheduled at specific points in the day, allowing each child a break from the other.
4. Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help throughout the holidays. If you’re in charge of cooking the Christmas Dinner, ask for someone else to be in charge of desert (or the washing up). Inline with the point above, plan as a family what you need from the other people inside the house. If the kids want to be taken to look at Christmas decorations, then they can also help walk and bathe the dogs before hand.
5. Don’t believe everything you see on social media
Social media is a highlight reel; we see small snippets of what other people want us to see, with little to no context. We can often compare ourselves to people we see online, wishing and wondering why we cannot afford the same luxuries, or have the same opportunities. It is important that we remember that platforms such as Facebook, Tiktok and Instagram are home to many celebrities and influencers, some of which make a full-time living by creating content. Naturally, their posts are going to be more aesthetic, as they have additional time and money to be able to do this. If you know that you are going to feel upset or triggered by being on social media, consider unfollowing or muting specific accounts. By muting, you have not unfollowed but you need to actively search for that person and click on their profile.
We hope these tips will be helpful, and from everyone at The Link, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
Our Office will be closed over the festive period- We close on Friday 22nd December and return on Tuesday 2nd January 2024.
Our phone lines will not be covered, however please leave a message and our team will respond upon their return.
Here are some additional numbers and websites that can be used to get help and support over the festive period;
- Emotional and/or Mental Health Support please call CAMHS on 0300 013 2000 or visit www.kooth.com
- Mental Health Crisis please call 0800 051 6171
- In an emergency please call 999