The Gift of Christmas

It’s December and the festive season is officially upon us. While many people are getting into the Christmas spirit, this wonderful time of year is also notorious for raising people’s stress levels.

Christmas is, in fact, our busiest time of year at Family Works Hawke’s Bay. Children’s expectations of lots of presents, an overdressed Christmas tree, a table full of all the best foods can cause anguish for parents.

Stress, anxiety and depression are common at Christmas time. It can emphasize the lack of money and jobs people don’t have, and subsequently highlighting how unhappy or lonely we are.

To make Christmas a little less stressful I have come up with a few tips:

  1. If nothing else, reassure yourself that these feelings are normal and work out a plan to help reduce stress.
  2. Talk to children about their expectations and what is manageable for the family. Small gifts from the $2 Shop have brought a great deal of fun in our house and a great deal of laughter as water pistols are turned on others in water fights. The cardboard box on a hill with mum sliding down can also be memorable. Don’t overlook the simple things. Most importantly, reassure them of your love.
  3. If Christmas dinner is on the cards, start purchasing food ahead of time. Buy a little bit each week. Simple can be far more fun than elaborate meals.  A picnic in a favorite place or a BBQ with friends and family with everyone contributing to the meal is great. The richness of the day comes from the joy of celebrating together.
  4. Get the kids involved in after-lunch activities such as cricket on the back lawn. You may be longing for a sleep but they will be full of energy and organising activities may reduce bickering. 
  5. Christmas is always a great time to tell stories. Nana and Pop or Aunty and Uncle usually have a whole history of stories and it is a great time for kids to learn where they came from.
  6. Don’t expect miracles - more so, create your own miracles and wonderful memories for your children and grandchildren.

This is a time of giving and receiving. Give with a kind heart and receive with a grateful heart. Be generous to those in need and be loving and appreciative of your children and family.

I wish you all joy, peace and harmony for Christmas.  

Pam McCann

Family Works Hawke's Bay Service Manager


Family Works is a non-government child protection, social work and counselling service that aims to address and reduce instances of child abuse, neglect and family violence in the East Coast community. We have offices in Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne. Click here to donate to Family Works to help local children and their families flourish.