The first of December is an exciting time for children. Many open the first day of their advent calendars, help the family put up Christmas decorations, and most will have already started counting down the sleeps until Santa drops down their chimneys – or air conditioning units.
For adults, the first of December might bring more mixed feelings as they wonder how to get everything done in time and maintain all that family joy.
It seems unfair that kids should get all the enjoyment of this magical time of year, so here are a few tips to keep that inner child, full of excitement, alive.
Don’t be afraid to say no to invitations
December can be an extremely busy time of year, as work Christmas parties, family gatherings, and dinners with friends all jostle for diary space.
Remember that you are allowed to decline an invitation or two - be a little selective. Naturally, family events should not be missed, but there will no doubt be the odd event that you could miss to allow yourself a quiet night with the family or just to sit down with a cup of tea, a good book or movie, and relax.
Focus on the positive aspects of gift giving
Yes, we all know shopping can get a little crazy! So maybe it's time to take a deep breath, and remember why we give gifts; to show our love and bring happiness to those closest to us. It's worth it to see those beautiful smiles on the day.
The trick is to make it as easy as possible.
First, get organised; write a list and stick to it. Next, get in first. The main tactic to avoid the crowds is by shopping in advance, after all, Christmas should hardly come as a surprise! So get the gift buying done early, then and use those last two to three weeks better to fill the pantry and plan a wonderful day. You'll have much more fun that way.
Take time off
One of the best things about Christmas as a child is undoubtedly the long break from school over the summer months.
Adults may not have quite as much time to look forward to but it's a welcome break after all that business, and you can be pretty sure your friends and family will all be available at the same time to do something special... so make the most of it.
You could allocate a whole week to enjoy with no plans other than to relax and enjoy the warm weather, or you could even decide to apply for every Friday off work for the month! There’s nothing like a good three-day weekend to keep a smile on your face, and four days out of your annual leave in exchange for a month of short working weeks can be a wonderful way to treat yourself and love December as much as the kids do.
Make a holiday family tradition
It's a great idea to make a tradition with your family. It could be anything from creating a wreath on your front door, to spending a day at the beach, to baking Christmas treats together on the first Sunday of the month, to taking a walk around the Christmas lights on December 24.
Keep it simple, enjoyable, and easy. These are the memories that kids carry with them forever and pass on in turn to their own kids... to keep that excitement alive.