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How to avoid a Christmas meltdown – family coping strategies

Updated: Dec 13, 2022

The festive season is a wonderful time for family bonding, relaxing and spoiling everyone; but preparing for the big day can also be incredibly stressful for parents, in particular mums. Unrealistic present wish lists from the kids, a never-ending to-do list, relatives about to descend, pressure to put on an amazing spread – it’s no wonder Christmas sometimes feels more like a chore.

But with a clear mindset, taking a step back and giving everyone the opportunity to be involved; families can experience the true joy and meaning of Christmas. Try these simple tips for a smooth and unforgettable festive holiday:

Everyone has a say

Involve the whole family in setting expectations about what will be happening at Christmas. Make it fun and give everyone a chance to put their favourite activity or dish on the agenda.

Allocate jobs

Write down the tasks and then allocate people to each one. Not only will it make it fairer, but children really thrive with being given ownership over activities.

The gift of giving

It’s very easy for children to get carried away with presents but Christmas can also be an opportunity to teach children the important value of giving, compassion and appreciation. Take them with you to a volunteer shelter, give presents to those less fortunate, make gifts for ill children, or donate some of their existing toys to charity.

Say no

Don’t be afraid to say no to your child’s demands or requests around Christmas time. In most instances they don’t need it and by saying no you’ll teach them acceptance.


Praise everyone when they do a great job with Christmas preparations. Children love their good behaviour or actions being recognised and it also helps create a very happy and positive vibe in the home.

Parent communication

Discuss ideas and methods for setting boundaries for the kids over the holidays before tensions get too high and potentially spoil the day.

Traditions and memories

Don’t forget to embrace all the fun activities you do together, create new traditions, and relish those tender moments to create happy memories that will last a lifetime.

To hear more tips from me about creating a stress-free family Christmas, click on the below link to watch me on Channel 9’s Today show.

For more tips, daily quotes and information about love, dating, relationships and happiness visit my Facebook page Melissa Ferrari - Psychotherapist & Relationship Expert. Also available is information about couple therapy and how it can help your relationships.


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