Is it all a bit too much?

This time of year is so hectic and full on and I have been feeling lately that maybe it is all just too much, especially for the kids. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas and all the build up… but everything seems to start so early now and everything is so amped up and it is just feeling a bit much.

rp_20151206_192806-465x720.jpgThe last couple of years we have been provided with a beautiful Christmas tree in exchange for promoting the company on my blog. We have been extremely happy about this arrangement, but it has meant that we have been putting the decorations up far earlier than we would have otherwise. Small trade off but it does affect the kids. Every day I have to stop LM from pulling baubles off the tree and every day I have to tell Monkey that no it isn’t Christmas day yet.

So many people seem to decorate so early these days too. I saw some houses lit up by the end of November… and with social media the number of Christmas trees etc. up and filling my feed as the beginning of December astounded me. I don’t remember things started so early when I was a kid? Why do we all do it? I don’t think we will decorate quite so early in the future as December has felt quite long this year.

I’m also very unconvinced about chocolate in advent calendars. Obviously the kids love it and it is a good way to tell Monkey how many days are left until the big day. But both of my kids have had more chocolate in the last month than they usually get in maybe half a year! Because it isn’t just chocolate in advent calendars, it’s treats from father Christmas and from preschool. There seems to be tonnes of it about and it just feels like too much. I know that it comes down to choice and I don’t have to give the kids a chocolate advent calendar and I’m not sure whether we will next year… don’t want to be bah humbug either so will have to think of something.

There seems to be father Christmases everywhere too now. You can barely leave the house without seeing the big guy in shops, shopping centres, at pre school and school fetes. I had to stop Monkey going in one shop as I knew we would have a tantrum if he saw him and I didn’t let him go to him. But he can’t see him every time we go out, it would cost a fortune and there are only so many naff presents I can cope with! Then there is the whole encouraging our kids to cuddle a stranger in a fancy dress costume… but let’s not go down that road.20151209_105616

Moving on to nativities at pre-school. Don’t get me wrong it was very cute seeing all the kiddies at pre-school all dressed up and singing but really they seem so young for putting on a show. Quite a lot of them were very overwhelmed and my Monkey wasn’t alone in crying for much of the performance. It just feels like a bit too much pressure on them? Some of them revelled in it of course as all kids are different but many didn’t. Why is there the need to do these performances? Who is it for? Us parents? I would rather have my little man be happy carrying on his usual routine than upset about the changes and feeling pressured to do something he isn’t comfortable with yet. Maybe that’s just me though. It was lovely but I guess I’m just not sure it was worth it, if that makes sense.

We managed to get a few smiles after pulling silly faces from the audince... but he wasn't happy about perfomring!

We managed to get a few smiles after pulling silly faces from the audince… but he wasn’t happy about performing!

I’ve also found that some children at preschool are ‘writing cards’ for their friends there. Or rather their mums are getting lists of the kids names and writing out cards to each of them. On the one hand it is lovely and thoughtful and Monkey does enjoy receiving the cards … but on the other it just feels a bit too much. I don’t even know who some of the kids he has received cards from are… and when I ask him Monkey says he doesn’t know either. Maybe that says more about me as I am not the most sociable person in the world but who has the time or money to write an additional 20 odd cards for children that will just go in the recycling in a few weeks? I may get Monkey to help write a few for friends… though given that tomorrow is his last day I may never get round to it haha. He has made some gorgeous cards for his relatives though.


I am also eating too much at the moment… which I know is down to no-one but me. There is the attitude of why not, it’s Christmas, treat yourself. But it’s not actually Christmas yet and I have been over indulging for too long so now a week before Christmas I feel ready to diet already! Like I say it’s no one’s fault but my own but it’s just another example of things being ‘too much’ at the moment.

Christmas presents are another matter entirely. I loved this post from Sara at Mum turned Mom about why they are giving their children experiences rather than gifts and this post from Mum of Three World really spoke to me too about the uselessness of some of the gifts that the shops are filled with at this time of year. We don’t give the kids very many presents at Christmas, one from us, one from santa and a few small bits like books as stocking fillers. They get enough from their relatives and don’t feel they need much more… and I will follow Sara’s example in the future! As for everyone else we usually buy from lists we have been given for ease and making sure it is what they want… but this year we have gone off-list for most people and have hopefully bought some thoughtful presents that they will like and/or find useful. I hope so anyway!

I think part of my problem this year is actually that we have been uncharacteristically organised. Thanks to a couple of child free shopping trips we got organised buying presents really early and I am not sure that has been for the best. For a start, a couple of things have been reduced since then (grrr) and also I am second guessing some pressies and wondering if we are giving enough and am ending up spending more than I do when things I am less organised. Daft eh?

I am aware this is a slightly rambling grumpy post and I assure you I am not really scrooge reincarnated. Outwardly I am joining in with a smile on my face. Monkey and I are crafting, I am wrapping presents and writing cards and most of all I will love spending the extra time with my family as that is really what it is all about to me. I know that many of the above gripes come down to choice and I feel maybe I will make a few conscious choices next year instead of being swept along with the tide of what everyone else is doing.

I’ve also been watching the “back in time for Christmas” programmes recently and it is fascinating seeing Christmas across different eras compared to Christmas now. Have you seen it? What did you think?

My word of the week is a bit of a cheat as it is two words – “too much.”

The Reading Residence

16 thoughts on “Is it all a bit too much?

  1. I love Christmas it’s my fav time of year. But I do stress about presents for relatives. We only put up our decorations last weekend and made a lovely day of it, with my one year old we didn’t need to buy much, it is more about the experience, magic and family time. And remembering to relax and enjoy it all x

  2. We’ve put our decorations up really early this year – partly because I knew we wouldn’t be able to do it last weekend and partly I guess because I had already seen so many other people doing it. I think the longer you have it all up for the more every-day it becomes and loses a bit of the magic come Christmas day. As for preschool – I have a very similar picture of JJ when he was three (as a king) crying his eyes out! EJ has taken it all a lot more in his stride but I know what you mean. EJ has also been given tonnes of cards by people I’ve never heard of (not sure about him!) and I’ve been feeling really guilty about not reciprocating but seriously – a list of 30 names on top of a 30 name list from his brother’s class at school and all our own cards too -it’s just too much! I prioritised JJ’s schoolmates because at least I know who most of them are, but I did two cards for the little girls EJ spends Tuesdays with at the childminders – he loves them! So yes – it is definitely becoming a bit crazy and at the same time my work friends were agreeing today that no-one feels very Christmas-y – probably because of these unseasonably warm temperatures we’re having! Xx

  3. I completely agree that it is too much for little ones. I asked my mum not to get chocolate advent calendars this year and the children are fine with that (this year!). I think the build up for the nursery “nativity” is too much though for little ones and the poor nursery staff, a few children were in tears understandably at ours as well. My daughter just looked uninterested mostly though! I think maybe I will try and decorate later in December so the build up is not sooooo long!

  4. I love Christmas but I do resist the pressure to start it so early. We only put our tree up a couple of days ago and I found myself getting stressed because it felt so late and yet in reality it was exactly the same point in December when it went up during my childhood and the same time that we’ve done it every year – it’s just that my social media feed has been full of Christmas decorations for weeks. And I’m with you on the preschool cards – I got quite stressed out doing them and then wondered why I was writing cards for children that my daughter doesn’t really interact with – I think it was really just because I knew that she’d enjoy posting them in the preschool postbox but she would have enjoyed it just as much with a few cards instead of lots. Love the cards you’ve been making with Monkey – it’s fun to make cards together, isn’t it?

    We decided not to have chocolate advent calendars this year and did a book advent calendar instead which the girls both love and they haven’t noticed that they don’t have a chocolate calendar. I’ve also tried to think more about presents too – I had a moment of wondering whether I was being mean by only getting a couple of things for the girls but really they don’t need any more and it only means more toys going to the charity shop in the new year. I’ve done hampers for family and filled them with food and drink I know they like. Sounds like you’ve got the right idea with your gift list too. I don’t think you’re the only one who finds it all a bit much and I’m off to read the posts you mentioned. Sorry for the epic comment – clearly you’ve struck a chord with me on this too!! Hope you and your lovely family have a wonderful Christmas x

  5. I know exactly where you are coming from. There does seem a lot of pressure to perform to parents for the little ones, we have been to a school play, preschool little sing along and a carol concert by Little 1 at Rainbows, the girls have had a lot to learn and Little one is shattered from school work on top too.
    I agree with you on the christmas card front, we just gave one to each teacher and Little 2’s best friends and Little 1 was able to write all of her own this year.
    We sometimes have an alternative to a chocolate advent calendar, we have had playmobil ones in the past where over the course of the 24 days it makes a little scene and they they can keep the toys, they are expensive at around £20 but we see it as a christmas present and the girls usually share one, this year we have just a cheapy chocolate calendar though. Merry Christmas x

  6. It does seem to be starting earlier and earlier each year, doesn’t it? I like the build up with the kids, so we do start doing festive activities and fun once December arrives. We’ve chocolate advent calendars this year, though it is the first year. My kids are loving it all and I’m just keen to collect Boo from school today and actually enjoy the break together. Hope you all have a lovely Christmas x Thanks for sharing with #WotW

  7. I must admit I had the same thoughts about Ethan’s nativity but for different reasons being it is now a SEN school. Some children, older I may add, where distressed and I did think who are we doing this for? The parents surly, is it worth it to see your child that upset. I also agree about the tree. We put ours up on the 1st last year and I was so over it. This year we put it up later, not by much but I feel it has helped my mood. Your also right about the chocolate. Little E is having lots of chocolate, Ethan didn’t go near the stuff until much later.

  8. I do find that the festivities start far too early, I much prefer the fun to start later on! It’ll soon be over Caroline, ha! Then to look forward to the next event that will be taking over the supermarkets 🙂 #WotW

  9. I totally agree with the decorating months before Christmas. I absolutely love Christmas but I think I’d be fed up of seeing the decs for that long.
    And as for Christmas plays at such a young age is kind of pointless.
    My sons play was exactly the same a couple of years ago, most of the kiddies like you say were tired or overwhelmed and spent most of the duration upset. I’m glad my little man is Home Schooled now, far too much pressure nowadays and for what?
    I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a very happy new year x

  10. It definately feels overpowering at times. The internet/Pinterest with the massive pressure. Some things are good some bad but that is life, you just got to do what you feel happy with which is not always easy as it can realky draw you in but happiness is more important then anything. X #WOTW

  11. I couldn’t agree more. So many parents I have spoken to this year have said how it’s getting too much now and that the schools arrange too much in what is a very tough term anyway (I used to be a primary school teacher so I know what it’s like from that point of view!) this year in the last two weeks there were endless performances, activity afternoons, stay snd play sessions and outings. Daily emails inviting us or asking us for help with various things. Far too much and it gets the children far too over excited!

  12. I have so many thoughts on your post!

    1) Yes, it IS getting earlier every year. I saw a comedy sketch on YouTube the other day about store executives trying to get ahead of the competition by starting their Christmas 2016 sales/hype on Christmas Day 2015 – so you had to get in line as to whether you wanted to see Santa for 2015 or 2016, etc. It wasn’t far from the truth!

    2) Santa is everywhere and it’s a bit much. Every store feels like they “have” to have Santa there at Christmas so he’s everywhere.

    3) In the U.S. we do the stupid card thing every year at Valentine’s and have for years. I hate it for all the same reasons you do! I’ve since learned that in the UK and other places, Valentine’s Day is not a holiday where kids have a forced card exchange with all their classmates. Made me think about moving!


  13. Yes, it is getting earlier every year. This year I put the tree up at the beginning of December and have been eating Christmas cake and mince pies since then. I have had four full Christmas turkey lunches with various teams at work. Cygnet has seen Santa twice – he made a guest appearance at the local library and not a day goes past when the brownies are not singing carols at the station on the way home from work. It is lovely but exhausting. #thetruthabout

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