Christmas with small children is, erm, interesting. It’s chaotic and messy, wholesome and humbling and well just all-around exhausting trying to find that special gift they really want for Christmas.
With commercial hype around the holidays starting as soon as the clock strikes midnight on Halloween, it’s no wonder toddlers are in a Christmas frenzy by December.
As the pressure piles on for you to make this the most memorable family Christmas ever, it’s easy to lose sight of the reality of what it will be like to celebrate Christmas with your toddler.
After all, toddlers are not famous for their gratefulness, manners and cheery dispositions. Can you make it through the down without encountering at least one epic meltdown? It’s impossible to predict, but, probably not.
As the parent to a toddler, you’ll know only too well that the only things on your letter to Santa are:
Parents really want for Christmas #1: An Affordable Christmas List
Dear Santa, I remember from the movies I watched during my childhood that each of the toys you distribute are handcrafted in your workshop. I also remember that each child receives one special toy so, erm, why does my toddler have a Christmas list as long as her arm?
Please, help me out by restricting her to only affordable gifts. I don’t want her to create a Christmas list that sets us all up for disappointment. In fact, if at all possible, could you try to nudge her towards the gifts I’ve actually already bought, wrapped and hidden in my wardrobe? That would make life so much easier for me.
Parents really want for Christmas #2: A Late Start
Santa, I know, I know. I was once the wide-eyed kid desperate for my parents to wake up early on Christmas morning. But that was because I didn’t understand just how tired they were. I didn’t realise they hadn’t had a decent night’s sleep since long before I was born. If you could help me out by postponing the beginning of Christmas Day until long after 7am I would really appreciate it.
I’ve been rudely awoken at 5:30am every day for weeks, please don’t let that happen on Christmas too.
Parents really want for Christmas #3: For There To Be Batteries
Dear Santa, please make sure you include batteries with each and every toy you send my toddler on Christmas. Please don’t let my child sob because he can’t play with whatever brightly offensive and loud toy it is he wants to enjoy. I won’t be able to take the battery out of the clock this time, I did that last year and still haven’t got round to replacing it.
If you must, fill my own stocking with batteries in varying shapes and sizes because I just don’t want to deal with the disappointment this year.
Parents really want for Christmas #4: For Their Child To Be Grateful
Dear Santa, this Christmas we will have a house full of proud grandparents, excited aunts and merry uncles. Please, please let my child remember his manners on this important day. Please let him wax lyrical about how much he loves the hand-knitted scarf from grandma. Don’t let him toss it to the side ungratefully and start listing the things he really wanted.
Please let my child avoid the selfish spoilt Christmas brat behaviour and instead act like the little angel I so badly want him to be.
Parents really want for Christmas #5: A Relaxing Christmas Dinner
Santa, I love Christmas Dinner. It’s my favourite time of the day. I love Yorkshire puddings, pulling crackers and watching grandma fall asleep in her chair. Cooking it isn’t easy. There are a bazillion things to do, limited space to do them in and, oh, around a hundred people getting in my way. But once those roast potatoes are nicely browned and the gravy is ready to be poured into the gravy boat, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labour.
Well, at least it would be if I didn’t have small children. I’ll probably spend my Christmas dinner rescuing food from the floor, trying to tempt my toddler to try a parsnip and generally trying to keep him entertained and happy so everyone else can enjoy their meal.
Parents really want for Christmas #6: For Their Child To Know
Dear Santa, I’m not trying to steal all of the credit but do feel I deserve my fair share here. Nobody wants to spoil the magic of Christmas for their child, of course. There’s something exciting about believing in Father Christmas and flying reindeers. But, Christmas is a lot of work for the parents and, sometimes, it’s nice to get a thank you.
So while I wouldn’t wish for the magic of Christmas to disappear, I hope you won’t judge me for wishing that my toddler would be aware of the effort I’ve put in, and maybe even give me a thank you kiss at the end of the day.
Parents really want for Christmas #7: A Tantrum-Free Day
Dear Santa, I don’t know how powerful you really are, but if you could let me have a tantrum-free Christmas I would love you forever. I can handle tantrums, hell, I’m the queen of handling toddler meltdowns but I’d really love to have Christmas off. I’d love to sit back and enjoy the day with my family without having to worry about the toddler losing his cool. I don’t want him to shout, scream or cry with anything other than pure joy on Christmas Day.
Btw. here are 9 effective tips for dealing with toddler tantrums. You’re welcome.
Parents really want for Christmas #8: Magical Christmas Sweets
Dear Santa, since you’re going to be at least partly responsible for this one, I hope you won’t mind me talking candidly. My toddler is probably going to get a lot of crap for Christmas. Chocolate, sweets and selection boxes galore. There will be enough sugar there to keep him on a solid sugar high until next December. And, of course, he’s not going to want me to take them away from him.
So, for Christmas this year, please can you give my child magical chocolate and sweets that won’t turn him hyper, rot his teeth or cause his blood sugar to soar.
A Dutch study indicates that eating that eating chocolate and non-chocolate snacks everyday as opposed to binge eating has a positive impact on anxiety, energy and the emotional state.
Parents really want for Christmas #9: Well Timed Naps
Dear Santa, I don’t have any control over when my child naps so I’m not sure why I think you might, but I figured I may as well ask. I’ve included a copy of the television listings for Christmas Day. You’ll notice that some of the programmes have been circled, these are the ones I want to watch. I would really appreciate if you could work your magic and ensure my toddler naps at these times.
Parents really want for Christmas #10: An Easy Bedtime
Dear Santa, I know this list is getting a bit long but rest assured this will be my last request. As you can imagine, Christmas is pretty tiring (probably more so for you) and by the end of the day we’re all exhausted. For toddlers, exhaustion comes hand in hand with fighting sleep so I’m prepared for a bedtime battle at the end of the day. I envisage it taking hours to calm my hyper toddler down, read all of his new stories and convince him that nothing exciting is going on downstairs. I know it will take hours, plenty of patience and energy I just don’t have.
For my last Christmas wish, I would love an easy bedtime. I would love to just watch him fall soundly asleep in my arms within minutes. Then, of course, I can skip downstairs to my festive drink, Christmas specials and some quality time with the person I love.
All The Parents
Recommended Reading: Check out 9 Things To Do When Your Toddler Is Driving You Nuts and 11 Things Your Baby REALLY Wants For Christmas.