A happy and healthy Christmas – a tale of survival

Treats at Christmas

Written by Kristy Schirmer, a mum of two and a Parents’ Voice Steering Committee member from Adelaide. She has a background in health promotion and public health and is the founder of Zockmelon, a health promotion and social media consulting business.


So, the team at Parents’ Voice asked me to write a blog post about how I manage all the ‘treats’ at Christmas. My husband kindly suggested it will write itself, because I just put them all in the basket in the pantry alongside little Chloe’s birthday party bag (from February), and the last of the Easter eggs.

Boom. Thanks for reading.

But seriously, things do feel a bit different at this time of the year. It’s when you switch from your everyday parental guilt to your festive parenting guilt.

Everything needs to be just so “magical”.

Elves on shelves. Smiling photos with Santa. Insta worthy Christmas lunches. Christmas presents and Kris Kringle’s for teachers, neighbours, sports coaches and work colleagues, as well as everyone in your family, including the fur-babies.

The Christmas time mental overload is next level.

Thank goodness house plants thrive on neglect, because at least my fiddle leaf is looking better than ever.

Anyway, back to the subject of treats.

If you’re a parent who is concerned about how many ‘treats’ there are this time of the year like I am, here’s how I manage Christmas, both the lead up and the day itself.

Term 4 is when every day your kid can come home with a candy cane sticky taped to a card which has been given out to all the classmates. Potentially you could end up with 30 of these.

No one needs 30 candy canes.

I go to the shops and at the checkout my cherubs are offered…candy canes.

I go to the local Christmas pageant and they hand out…wait for it…candy canes.

I would listen to Old Town Road on repeat for 24 hours if it meant I could be rid of all the candy canes.

Christmas TreatsPhoto Credit: Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

It sounds like I’m a regular mum-grinch. Maybe I am, but I’m also the mum who needs to keep everyone healthy (puh-lease no more sick days!) as we stagger across the term 4 finish line.

So, here’s the 1-million-dollars-worth-of-candy-canes question – is it possible to have a healthy and a happy Christmas?

Let’s say, you survive all the Christmas preparation and end of year events and you’ve made it to Christmas Day.

My childhood memories of Christmas are all the aunties and uncles, cousins and siblings bringing a plate of food or more to someone’s house. There are usually at least 4 potato salads, a 1980s drink dispenser with 15L worth of punch, and the festive delicacy of curried eggs. Really nothing has changed over the years other than us all getting older.

Ultimately, I know that my Christmas day will be successful if my kids…

  • Try one or more of the 4 types of potato salad on offer.
  • Have a go at shelling prawns without throwing a poop shoot at the other.
  • Plays with one of their Christmas toys for more than 10 minutes.
  • Eat a balanced meal with minimal sweets, including their schoolmates gifted candy canes.

Because, for me, a healthy and happy Christmas is about surviving the season with patience and kindness, minimising over-consumption of unnecessary gifts and ‘treats’, taking time to play and rest, enjoying Christmas-time foods within reason and reconnecting with extended family.

It’s NOT about having an insta-perfect healthy plate of food for Christmas lunch.

Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy Christmas!


Feature Photo Credit: JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

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