In the last blog, we talked about how to plan for a more sustainable Christmas.
This blog is going to look at how we can reduce the chaos and be more eco friendly on the big day.
I linked with Lyn Lapworth to discuss how we can reduce the mess and reclaim the calm. Check out our live on Instagram from Dec 19th.
As a nanny, I have worked across the world in Cape Town, Italy and the UK on Christmas day. With young children, it is still best to follow some sort of routine. Babies and toddlers thrive off consistency, routines and safe boundaries and while Christmas day can be a break from monotony, have a look at your usual routines and keep those that will support a calmer day- dropping naptime and snack time can lead to hungry, tired little beings.
It is also important to be mindful that new experiences, lots of people in the house and the extra sugary treats can be overwhelming and lead to dysregulation. This goes for adults too! Make sure you create a safe, calm area in space and time, that is available for a little haven.
I always talk about decluttering things and Christmas Day is one where all the 'stuff' can get super overwhelming. Create a basket for each person to add their opened presents to, which can be easily taken to their rooms to create more space- if they are not choosing to play with them, of course. I also advise people to declutter their routines, like above, you need to keep some routines for an easier day, but to make it even easier think about the traditions that no longer serve your family. Give yourself permission to get rid of anything that doesnt actually make you happy.
The other thing I always encourage people to do is declutter their language. For families with anyone who has Pathological Demand Avoidance, it is using less demanding language, for those wishing for children to have a more balanced relationship with food, it is changing our vocabulary on diet culture and villifying foods. At Christmas, speak to those there about how you want to talk about food and expectations with your children. Talk about consent- your child does not have to hug or kiss a relative if they do not want to.
We talked about planning for your Festive feast in the last blog, and planning is definitely the best step in less food waste. The way many people do Christmas Dinner is the way we "should" serve meals all the time, not only to be more mindful in how much we use and make it easier to pack up leftovers for another time, but also giving children (and adults) autonomy on how much is on their plate and then listening to their body for when it feels full (rather than being forced to eat everything on our plates)
We do tend to overindulge during the Christmas period, and I would say it is all about balance. There are things you can do to create more balance. 'Out of sight, out of mind' might not work if you know all your treats are there, but 'in sight, in mind' does. Putting more nutritionally valuable foods around, like cut up grapes, rainbow fruit kebab sticks, carrot sticks etc they will get eaten...this is all about balance but also reduces the sugar highs and sugar crashes. NB I am not saying don't give chocolate and sweets on this day.
Lyn's tips on gift unwrapping and recycling
Allow your children to spend some time playing with each present as they open them - encouraging them to engage with each gift before rushing on to open the next one, reduces the mayhem and hysteria. Maybe open a few gifts before breakfast, then a few after breakfast etc. If you can spread out the gift opening this will give you time to sort out the packaging in between, or at least pop it in piles. Removing sellotape
from the wrapping paper and setting aside ribbon as you go along, makes
this a lot less overwhelming. TIP- If your children are too impatient,
can you hide gifts around the house instead?
Do you have any systems that can keep recycling easier on the day?
Encourage older children to open their gifts carefully so there's the
potential for reuse wrapping paper, otherwise introduce the scrunch
test. If you scrunch the paper and it stays scrunched it's recyclable
(once sellotape has been removed) - if it pings back, then it's
plasticised so can't be recycled. Also, anything with glitter on can't
be recycled as glitter is essentially tiny pieces of plastic. Keep a
cardboard box for recyclable packaging and a carrier bag for
non-recylable plastic packaging. If possible, also keep soft plastic
separate from hard plastic as it's likely you can recycle hard plastic at home, however soft plastic should be taken to your nearest supermarket and added to their recycling scheme.