Do the big day your way

Find joy in be­ing yours-elf this Christ­mas

Balonne Beacon - - LIFE - Jen Gour­ley

IT’S be­gin­ning to look a lot like Christ­mas in our house ... al­ready. The tree went up spec­tac­u­larly early this year and the house is filled with jolly but jum­bled Christ­mas songs sung by my al­most five-year-old daugh­ter, in­clud­ing my favourite which some­how fea­tures Six

White Boomers land­ing in the hay (from the Bat­man-ver­sion of Jingle Bells).

There’s also a lot of Christ­mas dis­cus­sion on my so­cial me­dia feed, in­clud­ing one story which popped up re­cently about how you must give your child only three presents. Need­less to say, the com­ments sec­tion un­der the story was quite colour­ful and not ev­ery­one was “wrapped” in the idea (ho, ho).

This made me re­alise that how we cel­e­brate Christ­mas does not need to be set in stone. Want to give your child more than three presents? Go for it.

I spend all year watch­ing my child grow and de­velop new pas­sions and in­ter­ests, and as I see some­thing I think she might like, I find it and put it away for her birth­day or Christ­mas (which both hap­pen in De­cem­ber so there’s a whole stock­pile of pressies stashed away at the moment).

So there’s no way I could pos­si­bly limit my­self to three presents for her – I love giv­ing gifts way too much. Does it mat­ter? No. The main thing is to teach her grat­i­tude and share with her the joy of giv­ing.

Did you put your tree up early like I did? Or are you pa­tiently wait­ing for De­cem­ber 1? Is it a big tree or a lit­tle tree? Maybe there’s no tree or maybe it’s a stick with some tin­sel fes­tively en­twined around it. Does it mat­ter? No. It’s your tree or lack thereof. If this is what works for you, there’s no need to branch out in other di­rec­tions (ho, ho).

Do all the presents un­der your tree come from Santa? Or do they all come from fam­ily mem­bers?

I had the presents of mind (ho, ho again) to de­clare early on that the gifts in the Christ­mas stock­ing come from Santa and the presents un­der the tree come from me. I spend so much time and ef­fort choos­ing gifts for my fam­ily I want the credit thank you very much. This is what works for my fam­ily and I’m sure you do what works for yours.

How about present un­wrap­ping?

Do you have a wild free-for-all of ev­ery­one open­ing their gifts all at once, with chil­dren shout­ing with de­light as Christ­mas wrap­ping pa­per gets ripped and flies across the room?

Or do you like a more or­dered process where peo­ple un­wrap one present at a time, so you can fo­cus on each present and give peo­ple the chance to say thank you?

I’m unashamedly a con­trol freak when it comes to present time. We usu­ally have a very small gath­er­ing (on av­er­age four of us) and if we didn’t open one present at a time, the whole thing would be over in 10 min­utes.

I like to stretch it out and savour the joy of see­ing peo­ple open­ing their gifts. But if you have a gi­gan­tic fam­ily gath­er­ing you’d be there un­til sun­down and the turkey would be burnt to a crisp if you took it one present at a time. Again, just do what works for you.

Hot turkey? Cold prawns? Tra­di­tional pud­ding? Aussie pav? Church? Beach cricket? Christ­mas Day is all yours to cel­e­brate it ex­actly how you wish.

Spread some love, cre­ate your own tra­di­tions, be thank­ful and do what­ever makes the day spe­cial to you. Bah hum­bug to the Christ­mas dic­ta­tors. Make it a happy day by mak­ing it yours.

❝ Christ­mas Day is all yours to cel­e­brate it ex­actly how you wish.

PHOTO: IS­TOCK

CLAUS FOR CEL­E­BRA­TION: Whether you beach it or back­yard it, make Christ­mas spe­cial by do­ing what works for you.

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