Now the party's over we've been reflecting on where we went wrong during the festive season...
We’re almost into the New Year and the dust has settled a little, but who else is already suffering from post-festive season fatigue? Whether you headed overseas to visit distant loved ones (flying solo with kids = shudder) or stayed put for some celebrations, there were definite life lessons learned along the way…
We have enough
We all love giving children presents, but we can experience that same joy with a hell of a lot less stuff. I’m revealing my age here, but I still remember the Punky Brewster doll I had when I was six – because I got one major present from my folks at Xmas and it was pretty darn special. If the frenzied present-opening rituals I saw this year are anything to go by, I doubt kids will remember much of their haul in 30 years’ time. And without going full Grinch, nothing brings the absurdity of mass gift-giving into focus than the exercise of hauling presents around the world, and receiving more than you can carry back. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been one of the world’s greatest consumers, but even I was a little horrified.
If you’re staying with family, know your limits
You want to make it brief enough so that you enjoy each other’s company, but not so long that you’re seconds away from throttling somebody (or being throttled). This one’s not just for Christmas: it’s also valid for when the grandparents come and stay at your place at any time of the year!
It just ain’t Christmas without a family feud
Some families are more high-functioning than others, and life would be dull without a few fireworks. What’s important is that you still love each other at the end of the day – and have the pleasure of walking away from each other at the end of the day.
Make an effort
Family gatherings can be fraught, but everyone needs to step up a little and be the best version of themselves for a shot at a really good shebang. Talk to the relatives you don’t know very well – they might surprise you! Give that guy who was a real jerk to you at the last family reunion a clean slate – people change.
Don’t get sucked into the double-whammy celebration
This is a tricky one, with in-laws and blended families all jostling for face time, but attempting more than one ‘do in one day will only lead to tears. Yours and the kids’. Your clan might have to come to an agreement to stagger the gatherings over different days if your presence is required. If they can’t, know when to bow out.
Let’s be honest: nobody really likes turkey. It’s a dry bird. Order a platter of plump prawns; have a chilled-out barbecue; say no to the mince pies (because nobody really likes those either) and do what suits you for your next family feast.
Make ‘life goals’
And as for those New Year’s Resolutions? Let’s rebrand them as life goals. Because change isn’t going to happen in one big moment – be kind to yourself and keep on going.
Good luck out there if you’re about to go for round two with Chinese New Year!