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"I'm saying no to all the unnecessary Christmas expectations this year."

I’m a perfectionist. A HUGE perfectionist. To my detriment sometimes!

One of the biggest lessons I learned in my first year or so of being a mum is that perfectionism and motherhood do not go hand in hand. And if you expect to have the perfect child, an immaculate home and everything going along as you or someone else thinks it ‘should’, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and a whole world of stress.

When it comes to Christmas, us mums can get caught up in ‘keeping up with The Joneses’ (whoever the heck they are!). In the last week, I’ve seen mums on social media posting photos of their handmade gingerbread castles and personalised Christmas tree decorations that their perfect children helped them make. Meanwhile, I’m all “well today I fed my kids, kept them alive and we bought a $20 advent calendar from David Jones while my son threw a huge tantrum…” Cue the Mum guilt!

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Last year was our first with our son Harry. Yep, ‘baby’s first Christmas’. A big song and dance. And I succumbed to the pressure to make it perfect. We bought WAY more gifts than a seven-month-old needs, spent days cooking (even though we only had two people coming over), and made homemade EVERYTHING to start some traditions (and burst into tears if they didn’t work out very well!).

Yes, it was all very lovely. But it was stressful. The best part of our day was actually first thing Christmas morning when we took our son out for a walk then had an early dip in the pool. It was some quiet, simple family time, just the three of us, and so special. Then the madness began. The rest of the day I ran around trying to make sure everything went to plan. I was hot, bothered, over it and wishing we’d kept it simple.

We now have a newborn, so this year is our first Christmas with our two bubs. Even just writing that makes me think about what I ‘should’ be doing to commemorate the occasion (“they NEED their own personalised stockings still, and cute matching outfits for the day, oh and why haven’t I got them ornaments with their names on them? And I still haven’t shown our son how to bake the family fruit mince pies…”).

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However, call me a Grinch if you will, but this year I’m saying NO. No to family photo Christmas Cards (if you do them, well done you! But please stop sending me them because it makes me feel guilty - thanks though). No to a full roast (beach picnic here we come). No to driving hundreds of kilometres to see relatives (sorry peeps, we’re staying in our little oasis here). No to personalised anything or expensive decorations (that our son will just smash). No to an abundance of presents which I have to battle the crowds for at the shopping centre. No to stress!

But YES to a handful of really great gifts for each of us, to a few simple homemade recipes, to getting the kids involved in decorating with stuff we probably bought at Target, to some store bought goodies if I don’t get around to baking, to online shopping and to giving to those in need.

Above all else, YES to a relaxed day where we focus on what Christmas is all about - being together and being thankful for everything that we have.

What are you saying no to this Christmas?

This news item looks at spoiling kids at Christmas after one mum sparked the debate on how much was too much...

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