Christmas is the highlight of the year-end holidays, especially when you’re a child, with shopping malls decked out in sparkling Christmas lights and festive decorations. The best part? The gifts you look forward to unwrapping.
As a parent, Christmas these days is still meaningful, but it’s also a lot more stressful. Your to-do list has increased in length and you’re the point person to get it all done.
But before you resign yourself to a frantic prep for get-togethers, putting a plan of action together will likely save your sanity. We’ve rounded up timely tips that’ll help you power through any party like a pro…
Doing up your gift list and getting your shopping done at least a month in advance checks off a huge task on your to-do list.
1. Get your shopping done way in advance Doing up your gift list and getting your shopping done at least a month in advance checks off a huge task on your to-do list. Kristine Tay, 37, says she creates lists for the different groups of people she needs to get gifts for. “I’ve a list for my colleagues, another for my extended family and in-laws and yet another for my own family.”
The accountant and mother of two kids aged 4 and 6 also advises that you shop for presents during the year instead of cramming it all at year’s end. “I try not to buy all my gifts during a fixed festive period as there’s a chance people would have seen the item if it’s on discount.”
2. If all else fails, offer to bring food If you’re still shopping and time is of the essence, ask your host if it’s okay for you to bring food to the party. This way, you won’t turn up empty handed and the other guests will be able to try something different. Just be sure to take note of any special dietary preferences. If bringing food is too complicated, a couple of bottles of wine or an assortment of drinks will do nicely, too.
3. You may want to take time off work Balancing work with preparing for these parties can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Also, the festive period is one of the worst times of the year to fall sick. Taking a leave of absence in the run-up to Christmas prevents you from being overly stressed by the time the celebrations roll around. Taking a day off after the party also gives you more time to recuperate.
4. Rope in the kids and mister to help you wrap the gifts Remember, you don’t have to do everything yourself, especially if junior can use scissors without supervision. If they aren’t old enough, then let your mini-me help you keep count of the presents you are wrapping plus which group these belong to. This occupies and keeps them involved, while relieving you of some of that festive pressure.
5. Don’t attend more than one party a day Parties are rowdy and exciting social events for you and your family but for some children, all that hyperactivity can come back to haunt at night. Lisa Tang, 35, mother to Jason, 3, points out that her son tends to get fussy when she tries to put him down to sleep at night right after a party. “So, you can just imagine how ‘fun’ it used to be when we used to do two parties back-to-back a couple of years [before].”
If you’re going to a friend’s place, you may want to limit the time you spend at each house to about an hour or two, tops.
Lucky for Tang, the parties she attends are for her husband’s and her families, not friends. “So, I got my hubby to shift his family’s get-together on the eve and then we’ll head to my side of the family on Christmas Day.”
If you’re going to a friend’s place, you may want to limit the time you spend at each house to about an hour or two, tops. This way, you’re reducing your child’s exposure without sacrificing the time you spend with your friends.
6. Set out your expectations to the kids before they get to the party Your tots are always going to be curious, so, it’s your responsibility to ensure that they don’t damage anything in the house you’re visiting. In your car ride to the destination, tell your mini-me how you expect them to behave in front of others at all times. If need be, you can even use their Christmas gifts to entice them to be on their best behaviour. Tay notes, “I tell my daughters if they misbehave, I won’t hesitate to take their gifts away and hold them for another month if I have to — that usually works.”
7. Watch your diet Whether you believe it or not, there is some truth to the term sugar rush, says Tang. “Cookies and cakes have the worst effect on Jason. He goes into this hyperactive mode that lasts for a couple of hours after he consumes too much [of these foods].”
Besides hyperactivity, too much sugar can cause your child — and you — to pile on the kilos, so pace yourselves and watch what you eat. What you drink matters, too. Sugary drinks like colas, fruit teas and even alcoholic drinks can add a significant amount of calories to your meal.
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