Halloween is over and the countdown to Christmas is officially on.  The shops are getting busier, children are getting excited and constantly adding to their endless wish lists. More and more parents are becoming ever more stressed and anxious about how they are going to manage financially. Of course, no one wants to let their child down on Christmas morning! And then we have so many parents sharing images on social media of what looks like a toy store window display in their home on Christmas morning, which only adds to the pressure.

Another huge concern at the minute is climate change, and Christmas is a huge contributing factor if you take into consideration all the packaging, wrapping paper, cards and not to mention food waste that is all part and parcel of the holiday season.

So what can we do?

For those who have babies and very young children, this is not so difficult. We don’t need to be buying expensive, all-singing, all-dancing large plastic toys, your baby will not even know. To a baby, everything is new and interesting. They are experiencing everything for the first time, so why not make some items yourself, such as treasure baskets, sensory bottles, a photo memory book, or an activity board. These are great exploratory toys and are a wonderful way of activating and stimulating your baby’s senses.

If your children are a little older, they may be aware of the issues with global warming, discuss how you as a family can help. Perhaps you can make Christmas cards to give to family and friends or have a lovely family photo taken and this can be used.  D.I.Y gifts are also an option, what grandparent doesn’t like receiving something handmade from their grandchild, it is so personal and meaningful.

Recycle an old photo frame by decorating it, a one-of-a-kind master piece canvas painting, salt dough handprints/footprints ornaments, or if you have time, learn to knit together and make a scarf. Not only is this teaching your child countless skills, enhancing emotional development, but it is also creating wonderful memories of time shared as a family doing special activities.   Just imagine their proud little faces when they are giving the gifts.

As children are beginning to compose that all-important letter to Santa – again talk about what they are asking for. You could suggest some alternatives to the copious material items – such as vouchers for day trips to maybe the zoo, activity-park, ice-skating, or overnight stay in a hotel.  These are the type of gifts your child will always remember and you are also supporting the local economy. It may be an idea to also mention this to family members – they will more than likely be happy to do this also.

So before we get burdened with the commercial and financial side of Christmas, get planning now to make this a stress-free celebration that is about family, making memories, and doing our bit for the environment.