By Emma Thomas

Christmas is coming! It is one of my favourite times of year, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming. Here are some tips to help make your Christmas season more fun and less stress! 


Set and have clear expectations. Often the amount of gifts at Christmas time can be overwhelming, both for children to receive and for adults to organise and purchase! 

It helps to clearly communicate with friends and family about the type and quantity of presents that you’d like your children to receive. Many families find the post Christmas period overwhelming with the gifts which have been received. It’s ok to request practical gifts, like a new school bag, or ask friends and family to contribute to a larger gift like a trampoline. 

Even as an adult it can be disappointing when our expectations aren’t meant! Ensure that your children know when they will be receiving gifts and try to give them a general idea of what will be happening. In our family we were allowed to open our Christmas stockings first thing Christmas morning, but then we waited to open the rest of our presents later in the day, after we’d been to church. 

Take time and slow down with the present opening. This can be a great opportunity to teach children about the pleasure of giving gifts (not just receiving them!). Also your children might be interested in playing with each toy as they open it! This can be a lovely way to extend the enjoyment of present time.

Plan downtime

Try to plan some downtime into your celebrations. It can be very stressful for our little ones to be attending multiple Christmas celebrations in one day. You could try seeing different parts of the family on different days. Or even celebrating over the months of December and January. We had one of our best Christmas celebrations in early January a few years ago! My sister had been living overseas and so we did a big celebration when she got home. 

Have a family Christmas movie night – or just watch the Bluey Christmas episodes together! Pull out your favourite Christmas stories and enjoy taking a break. 

Choose your favourites

You can’t do everything in the lead up to Christmas – so think carefully about what will work best for your family this year. Maybe it’s just walking around your neighbourhood and seeing the Christmas lights! Or maybe you want to go into the city and watch a Christmas parade.

You might be invited to a lot of Christmas events, parties and celebrations. Choose carefully, you don’t have to go to everything! You can make just as many good memories at home. 

Create rituals

Rituals, routines and traditions are so important to our lives – and even more so for our littles ones! These regular rhythms of celebration build security and promote a sense of identity and belonging. They are a safe place of comfort for our children to come back to, especially during difficult times. Christmas traditions don’t have to be complicated or expensive! As teenagers and young adults my sibling and I loved watching ‘The Holiday’ every year. Reading the same stories each year and having special things you cook help to create rituals. 

At the end of the day – it’s the time with friends and family that is the most important. I hope you are able to slow down and savour the special moments this Christmas season.