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Preparing for Christmas

Published Date: 14 Dec 2023

December is such a busy time, with school, youth groups, and family and friends all offering fun events. And of course we want to do them all – after all, it’s Christmas! However, exhaustion often means we get cranky and easily frustrated when things don’t go exactly the way we want them to.

We’ve learnt through the years with having four children that planning and careful organisation can prevent lots of problems. We rely on using a family planner on our phones to keep us all in the right place at the right time, and this is also really helpful for planning in advance time for the things that are important to us.

Christmas is not only busy, but very exciting, which adds to the energy zap. We find that if we don’t manage the tiredness, we will suffer the consequences – tears, tantrums, grumpy children (and parents). So, we actively plan ahead – quiet family time, time to sort decorations and Christmas jumpers, and time to relax with Christmas movies and food treats.

Towards the end of November, we took the decorations out of the roof space. We washed the Christmas jumpers and pyjamas, then checked what fitted and who needed new items. We checked the Christmas lights were working and identified what we needed to replace. Doing this ahead of time means that we spread out the work and also avoid the stress and disappointment of trying to decorate and realising that those lights weren’t working. It also means that we can enjoy a shopping trip to get any Christmas jumpers or PJs that are needed, before there are non-uniform days in school or charity Christmas jumper days.

We then had a day set aside to sort the lights for the garden, with a different day to decorate the tree and inside the house. Splitting up the decorating allows us to be together while we decorate and enjoy the Christmas build-up, but also not exhaust ourselves by trying to do everything at once.

As always, we let Charlotte decide when to wear her cochlear implants and when to have a hearing break – this is especially important at this time of year when there are so many other things that require her energy. By having breaks during the day, it means she can fully enjoy the chat around the dinner table and family movie time when we all sit down and relax together.

I would highly recommend spending a little time planning ahead – make sure you include timeslots for preparing, decorating, family time, socialising, and extra sleep from early bedtimes in advance of busy days.

Merry Christmas everyone.


Sara and her husband James live in Northern Ireland and are parents to Sam (15), Matthew (13), Oliver (11) and Charlotte (9). Charlotte is profoundly Deaf and wears bilateral cochlear implants, communicating with a mix of speech and British Sign Language (BSL). Sara blogs about her experiences on Facebook as 'Deaf Princess' and Twitter @DeafPrincessNI and is leading the 'Sign Language for All' project.