For anyone feeling the festive pressure this Christmas, here’s my tip: lower your standards and live in the moment. Every year I send myself into a spin pre-Christmas trying to do all the activities and create all the magic, setting the bar of expectation so high that I end up feeling disappointed when something inevitably goes wrong. One thing that always, always goes wrong is the gingerbread house. We’ve done one for four years in a row and every time I’ve vowed never again.
On paper, it sounds like a great idea. A lovely Christmassy bonding activity to do at home. In my head, it will be a peaceful, joyous scene, the children sharing the task happily with the end result worthy of Pinterest perfection. The reality, though, is always a little different. The kids argue over who places which sweet where, the walls crumble before they’re even up and then no one actually wants to eat the damn thing so it eventually gets dumped in the bin. Maximum stress, maximum waste.
So this year I vetoed the gingerbread house and, surprisingly, the girls were 100% on board. Turns out they’re not actually that bothered by making the gingerbread house anyway and just went along with it because “You always seemed to really want to do it, Mum”. Oh.
I’ve not given up the tradition altogether though. Instead, I’ve found an alternative to the gingerbread house fail situation and we spent a lovely, peaceful, happy half hour decorating (and eating) these Organix gingerbread men instead. We used a mixture of Organix Goodies blackcurrant and apple stars, along with some regular sprinkles and icing to decorate them – it was so easy I feel like this is an activity even a young toddler would enjoy.
In fact, it went so well it’s spurred me on to attempt a second round of actual baking with the girls – I’m going to try this Peanut Butter Gummy Cookies recipe on the Organix website. And because they only take around 10 minutes to prepare, we might even attempt these Baked Honey Stars afterwards.
Whatever we do, I’ve now come to the realisation that so much of the festive stress I’ve put myself under in the past has been of my own making. I’ve been the queen of Christmas comparison, looking at other parents’ Instagram highlights reels and ramping up the pressure on myself to make every second glittery and magical. But the reality is, real life isn’t Insta life and the things the kids (and parents) will remember in years to come are the moments of laughter and fun, not if the gingerbread house looked Pinterest-worthy or not.
I’ve always loved Christmas but this year I’m even more excited than ever, simply because I’m determined to enjoy it and make it as stress-free as possible. Bring. It. On.
Thanks to Organix for inspiring this alternative to a gingerbread house. This post has been commissioned as part of the No Junk Journey campaign. To find out how I work with brands check out my Work With Me page.