Book a call

Counting down to Christmas

expat life expat mums expat parenting expat parenting abroad Dec 06, 2021

My heart wants to skip Christmas this year. Normally a time of year that I love, cherishing spending time with my family, this year I’m just not into it. A combination of the exaggerated lockdown in Auckland and losing dad during that period, it’s all left me a bit empty.

Unfortunately, as a parent we don’t get the privilege of wallowing in self pity. We have kids that love Christmas, who love the magic of Christmas and who want to do all the little things that make it special. So I’m putting on my big girl pants, and I’m doing my best to make it special for the girls. 

I wanted to share this, because I get the pull on the heart strings that so many of you are experiencing. I get the frustration you feel that you can’t be with loved ones, especially when they are sick. I get it.

So I wanted to revisit a post I did last year and share my 12 Tips for Christmas in 2021 (frightfully similar to 2020!?!):

  1. Keep it simple. Sometimes when we can’t do things the way we normally would, we overcompensate. With kids this may mean we buy an ‘extra’ gift. Or we try to do that ‘extra’ something that we think might help ease it for them. Stop yourself from falling into that trap. Remember when they were babies and they loved the box, not the gift. Kids are simple creatures, they want your love and attention, they don’t want extra anything’s from you. 
  2. Make it special. So you can’t be with your extended family this Christmas. This year we have planned a pre christmas celebration. Before we travel to Christchurch for Christmas (hopefully we will be able to go), we will all get a glass of bubbles (lemonade for the kids) and get dressed up and Facetime my mum. We will have a little party. The girls are preparing a christmas dance to show her. And no doubt they will want to sing some songs - they are already working on their Christmas playlist. So with a bit of planning, but not over compensating, you can make it special and create different memories for your family. 
  3. Slow down. This is a manic time of year, without lockdowns and extra pressure. Make sure you take care of yourself. Put on a face mask early in the evening, relax with some music playing and read a book. Don’t feel that you have to be everywhere, doing everything. Take a step back and find a moment to relax.
  4. Ease up. I know myself there is a tendency to say WTF, and have an extra glass of wine at this time of year. I am trying really hard to be disciplined, to not overindulge, to keep things on track. Make a commitment to yourself that you too will keep it under control, there is nothing worse than a hangover to compound things. 
  5. Phone a friend. So you can’t be there in person. It’s harder than ever to send snail mail, I haven’t even bothered trying to send Christmas cards this year! Instead I am taking the opportunity to pick up the phone and call friends. Sharing a chat about life, lockdowns and commiserating where needed to. What is important is that we make time for friends and chat with them. You and they will feel better for it.
  6. Establish your routine. Christmas can throw everything out the window, late nights, sleeping in. Try not to let it all slip away. Keep your routine as much as possible, especially for your kids. It will ensure you are able to make the most of each day and feel the true festive season, not just one day of fun.
  7. Exercise. Eating too much is a fact of this time of year. So make a family habit of exercising. As we are heading into summer, the girls and I are super excited to be able to walk along the beach in the mornings. Head around our favourite park. Take the scooters to the boardwalk. But whether you're heading into summer or winter, try and keep exercise as a daily habit. Your mental and physical health will thank you for it.
  8. Make an advent calendar. It’s not too late to start counting down. Keep it simple, each day someone gets to tick a box and choose the song to sing over breakfast. I made an advent calendar when Miss J was 3 (and for all her friends in Delhi), and we still use the same one each year. They get to put a little decoration on a tree and read a fact or fun activity related to Christmas. I honestly can’t believe with all the moves we’ve done I haven’t lost any pieces!?!
  9. Get baking. I know I said earlier be careful not to over indulge, but baking Christmas treats with the kids is so much fun. Gingerbread men, cookies, pudding, cakes. Let your imagination go, and get creative with the kids.
  10. Craft it. Make an angel banner. Make some stars. Make a Christmas wreath. Go old school this christmas and recycle objects around the house. When we arrived in Taipei we spent months in a hotel room waiting for our shipment. We made all of our Christmas decorations that year, and the girls still talk about it!
  11. Hug. When our stress levels go up, which can be common at this time of year, we tend to put up barriers. Start today and hug your kids that little bit longer. Hug your partner. Remember to tell them you love them. Despite border closures, despite lockdown, despite homeschooling, you’re in this together. You’re a team. Remember to love your team. 
  12. Have fun! Create new traditions. Sing your heart out. Dance with your kids. The less you focus on what you can’t do, what you wanted to do instead, where you wanted to be instead, and be present in the moment, the more fun you will have. 

What’s your Christmas going to look like this year? Please do share in the comments.

Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season xx

Find Your Inner Self

Grab this must have free resources to regain clarity and confidence in yourself. Stop wasting time and energy trying to figure out where to start, download now.

Free Resource

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join me on the journey of expat life and get insights and tips delivered to your inbox every single week.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.