Organising the family at Christmas

Over Christmas, how many families morph into three generational families. For some that means that Grandmother cooks the dinner with adult children to help with the vegetables and sauces and the young children play around the tree or help lay the table.

But for how many did this not happen. There are many reasons but for this post I will delve into how to distribute the work for next year.

So how do we survive a three generational get-together so that everyone has a memorable Christmas for all the right reasons.

  • It’s best not to presume that you will get the help that you need so do not be afraid to ask. Be clear with the delegation and give all attending a list of what you need – they can work out who will do what.
  • Have the phone numbers of the GP walk in centre handy and work out where the 24hour emergency pharmacy is and how to get there. This might sound paranoid but we have certainly had to talk to the out of hours service and visit the emergency pharmacy over Christmas and the New Year.
  • If you are attending church allow for ample time to get back to start preparing the food or so you can settle before the guests start arriving. Parishioners are always more chatty this time of year – Do not feel rushed!
  • Make sure that everyone is able to be there to open the presents. You or one of your helpers should not be pinned in the kitchen while all the fun is happening around the Christmas tree.
  • Find activities suitable for everyone. This is not always easy but board games and old photographs are a possibility.
  • If you need to, ask your children to take the young ones for a walk after the main meal. You may want the peace and quiet to just sit and

Finally, when everyone has headed home it is very easy to feel sorry for yourself-I know, I have been there. Try to have a plan for Boxing day or something to look forward to so that you do not dwell in the emptiness directly after Christmas.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful New Year!

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Modern Grandparenting

Do you remember going to Grandma’s house? The curious mix of smells, sights and impressions that carved their way into our minds forever. The smell of freshly baked bread, the warm light from the lounge or the memory of a cuddle from Grandpa, can spark a lovely trip back in time to a place where life was simple and love was easy. With Grandparents you can experience a truly two-way devotion that is unique.

In today’s world it is not as easy! Grandma is not necessarily a soft grey-haired lady who stays home and bakes cookies, reads stories is always waiting to hear your stories. Grandpa’s who explain how deep the ocean is or how bumblebees fly are sometimes harder to find. Nowadays Grandma wanted/had to find a job outside of the home and maybe Grandpa is still working to top up their retirement. Maybe the kids have moved halfway across the world to fulfill their dreams. The global village has separated grandchildren from grandparents – and grandparents from being an integral part of that child’s life. Is this progress? Not necessarily.

Today’s grandparents face some interesting dilemmas. Lifestyle, distance and time – all of these were not necessarily an issue when extended familes stayed within a few miles of each other. Our grandparents often took a more active role in raising and nurturing us. They were there to help our parents , read to us, take us for walks and share traditions, family history and build relationships. Now, these same relationships take a focused effort, a partnership of parent and grandparent both dedicated to providing those experiences for their children.

So where is the magic ‘How to’ for modern grandparenting? Well, let me know if you find it! We now live in a world where there are many more challenges whether it be culturally blended families, religious differences as well as varying discipline methods.

The best is to keep these top tips in mind when looking at your own situation:

  1. Communication- Ensure this channel is always open between you and your children. Then you will be able to find out their parental methods that will allow your grandchildren to feel as if they ‘fit’ when they spend time with you.
  2. Listen – When we truly listen to what our children’s needs are we will better be able to integrate into our grandchildren’s lifestyles
  3. Space – Always try and have a special place for your grandchildren at your house. This maybe a room where possible, a small toy box or a comfortable corner where they can keep some of their special toys/ pictures. Having this allows them to always feel they have a special place in your home

If you have any helpful tips to share or any questions that we can put out to the community to help with , feel free to add to the comments below.