Christmas is a great time of year for children with the magic of the lights, Father Christmas, school plays, discos and of course the presents. As parents we try and make it as magical as possible, for some every last detail is taken into account.

However, Christmas isn’t all stress-free. Start with the decorations for example: Everyone placing perfect tree pictures on social media, looking very stylish, themed and let’s face it symmetrical. For those of us with small children, quite frankly the opposite can be said.

Tinsel. Comes in every colour, is draped around the tree in an almighty fashion and this is all before you open up the box named `decorations`.

Baubles, grouped together by colour, or style, or simply by the branch the kids can reach! For most parents they don’t really know that they have OCD until their kids go to bed and they find themselves rearranging the tree!

Then there’s the new craze of “Elf of the Shelf” which has parents looking to each other for inspiration as they carry on the tradition of what the “elf” gets up to every night whilst the kids sleep. But from social media posts we can see the elf on the shelf game is not just for kids, as we see some parents posting some hilarious gimmicks of what their elf of the shelf has been getting up to, (drinking a Bud with Barbie or eating all of the chocolates out of the kids advent calendar….).

As much fun as this is, with still a lot of nights to think and plan what the elf gets up to before Christmas, your stress levels do begin to rise!

The presents

According to some media reports parents this year will spend anything from £100 to £300 per child. Of course it’s not about how much you spend on your children….its about making sure you get the right present!

This in itself can cause most parents to crumble under the pressure. For example, when your child asks for Skylanders Imaginators, and you’ve pre-ordered it months in advance of Christmas, only to find the chosen retailer is now having a 20% off event and you can’t return the one you bought as it’s out of the refund period.

Or even worse, it’s the most popular item this year and every kid in the land wants one and you all of a sudden become Arnold Schwarzenegger out of the film `Jingle all the Way`.

Think about Hatchimals this year. This is certainly the toy of choice and with such a high demand, retailers can’t stock their shelves fast enough. TV shows and bloggers are currently running competitions for parents to be in with a chance to win one. It's the popularity and demand from kids which is high and this is what drives product sales.

Some of the most talked about and top presents listed this year include:

  • Hatchimals
  • Nerf Guns
  • VTECH Kidi Superstar
  • Furby Connect
  • Transformers
  • My Little Pony Castle
  • Music Gifts

Of course it’s not just making sure you have the right present on time and the one everyone is talking about.

It’s also about making sure you put a cutoff date on when the kids have to stop asking Santa for things!

You’re all prepared and presents are wrapped, feeling quite smug with yourself that you’re done and dusted and then as you smile to yourself and your kid is next in line to see Santa, Santa asks the inevitable question “and what would you like for Christmas”… A whole host of presents run through your mind, everything you think they could ask for, you have. But then the one, and there’s always one, a new toy or game, that they answer with and your smile soon fades and turns into an open mouth gawp!

However, come Christmas Eve, there’s nothing more that can be done. It is at this point when most parents de-stress knowing that there’s nothing else they can do, so with a large glass of wine in hand, watching the Christmas ads, sigh a sigh of relief. Knowing that after Christmas Day, a whole new host of stress is upon you…you now have to try and assemble the Toys you bought!

Just remember, as stressful as it seems, Christmas is but once a year!