Avoiding the Merry Meltdown

In case you’ve been under a rock since Halloween, I’m here to let you know that it is Merry Meltdown season!

I’m not a grinch, but every year I feel more and more that the in-your-face non-stop marketing and selling is getting stressful.

Stressful to the point of sending a lot of us on our way to a Merry Meltdown.

You cannot tap your phone screen without seeing marketing content thrown at you: whether it’s ads or sponsored campaigns, it is just unavoidable.

The pressure to provide perfection for the kids, to have endless supplies of everything, to have piles of presents taller than the tree, it is bombarding.

I am all about making memories and instilling traditions in my boys. There is nothing more warming than seeing the pure joy on those faces when they see the decorations and open the presents, and while all of it comes at an expected financial cost, it shouldn’t come at a mental cost.

Last Christmas I almost combusted. Covid ruined the usual plans and we decided to do Christmas in our own house, without family.

Once that decision was made, I was straight into the panic of MUST MAKE IT MAGICAL!

Well folks that is a sure way to get the Merry Meltdown in full swing.

My siblings in the UK couldn’t make it home so I tied myself in knots trying to come up with ways of including them, treating them, making it less bloody miserable for all involved.

I racked my brains over Christmas dinner and ultimately decided that we were boycotting the turkey dinner in protest of Covid… highly recommend it!

I was up to 90 trying to compensate for what was an absolutely shit year.

This year was unfortunately only slightly better, but I’m trying not to fall down that slippery consumer hungry slope.

I am constantly getting sucked into online shops and have to fight REALLY hard not to just buy everything I see… everything festive is so beautiful and tempting!

I do buy the things that really speak to me, the presents that I think people will really love, and that I can afford of course.

I am building my collection of decorations and lights etc for the house, and it is building steadily! But my god the CONTROL it takes not to send myself into debt over it is immense.

Christmas is most definitely a time when we give ourselves permission to get what we want and not just what we need, but with that comes pressure.

We want the kids to be happy and to LOVE what they get. But bombarding them with stuff actually has the opposite effect. They get stressed in their own way, scrambling confused among rooms full of toys that they don’t know what to do with. Lots of it ends up forgotten about, lost, broken, thrown aside.

Kids can have their own Merry Meltdowns. Parents often talk about the struggles they have with their kids behaviour over the holidays; often it is rooted in complete overwhelm. Sensory overload is a very real thing for smallies, they can’t tell you what’s wrong, they will just start acting out and chaos ensues.

Our tethers are already short from the stress of the organising, planning, preparing, shopping, hiding, wrapping, cooking, feeding and cleaning… from trying to maintain the so-called “magic” for everyone else.

Overwhelmed kids and overwhelmed adults at home together for 2 weeks is not a recipe for success.

I will be doing my best to avoid those Merry Meltdowns this year.

How will I manage it?

By sticking to the motto that Enough is Enough.

I won’t be decorating for a few weeks yet; We decorated earlier than usual last year and the counting down of the days was nearly the death of all of us!

I reluctantly gave up on booking an in-person Santa visit😥 Places booked out crazy fast, some places were charging mad money for seeing the big man from about 100 metres away, there is no “proper” experience to be had, so I admitted defeat and drew a line under it.

Santa will be bringing lots of pressies, some they asked for and some they didn’t, there is variety and there is enough! (Some of the “extra” bits on the lists will be brought by family)

I won’t go too mad on the catering front; we don’t need a million food items and I hate how much gets wasted so only the favourites will be on the table this year.

There will be lots of downtime in the run up to Christmas; for the kids and for me; I am vowing not to burn myself out in the anticipation of it all- there will also be lots of downtime over the holidays!

The house will be lovely and festive but I won’t be draining the bank account buying Christmas themed everything, tempting as it may be!

I will regularly remind myself that everyone already has plenty of everything, and enough is enough.

Prosecco though, lots of prosecco🤣 Never enough prosecco😅

We will have all the nice things, eat the nice food and drink the nice drinks. We will see the family and hang out and get bored of each other. We will do all the important things, without the needless extravagance.

I have come to learn that nobody else even appreciates or enjoys the extravagance, it’s really only me, and ironically it stresses me out making it, so I’m done with that now.

Maybe you agree with me, maybe you think I’m being too negative. But already, with 5 weeks still to go before Christmas comes, I see and hear people getting stressed and overwhelmed.

We don’t need to do it to ourselves, we literally do not need to.

We can 100% avoid the Merry Meltdowns.

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