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There hasn’t been much festive chat on the blog yet, but there is no denying the fact that Christmas is creeping up upon us.
The shops are jam-packed with the goodies, lights are being turned on and advent calendars will be cracked open on 1 December.
Whilst Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, for many it also brings stress and worry.
Yes, it is lovely to sit on the sofa watching festive films and drinking hot chocolate, but with so many other things to do first, that moment can feel like it is a world away.
We a great believe that surviving the holidays without tearing your hair out, is due to three key elements:
Planning. This has to be the greatest stress-buster of all.
Delegating so you don’t have to do it all yourself.
Being realistic and lowering your expectations. Christmas is a time to relax with family and friends, not for proving you are best interior designer and cook.
So, first things first for a less chaotic holiday, take turns. We know that deciding where to spend the big day and with whom, can be a delicate matter but taking it in turns can help. If you hosted last year, let your sister take over this year. If the in-laws camped out with you at New Year, maybe they can return the favour when seeing in 2017. If you really don’t want the politics, get away from it all and have a break somewhere sunny.
Decide on a budget, and stick to it. Make a list of everyone you have to buy for, from mum and dad to school teachers and the postman, and work out what to get each one. It can be tempting to blow the budget, but be sensible and remember, it really is the thought that counts.
When it comes to groceries, shop online. It is so much easier to click your way through the aisles and by doing so you avoid brussel sprout wars and massive midnight queues. Things do still get busy in cyber space, so book your desired slot now and then unpack your turkey, mince pies and crackers in your PJs with a glass of wine, free of stress and other shoppers.
Another top tip when it comes to food is to cheat. Pre-made gravy, a ready to go Christmas pudding and frozen roast potatoes are just as good as the ‘real thing’ and lets be honest, with a glass of two of wine and the buzz around the room, no one will even notice.
Set yourself a target. If you want to actually enjoy Christmas Eve, plan to have all cards written and presents wrapped by 20th December. The worst thing is running out of tape and paper at the 12th hour and tears spoiling the festivities.
Keep a diary of where you are going and when and don’t be tempted to double book, or noses will be put out of joint.
Stay away from social media. There is nothing like scrolling through Facebook and Instagram to make you feel you aren’t good enough and this doesn’t change at Christmas. The main thing is you and yours have a great time. This doesn’t mean having the biggest tree, most presents or perfect make-up as you sit and open your presents, and putting it online, but rather enjoying the moment and making memories.
Don’t neglect yourself. Navigating the holidays can be a challenge so you need to be fighting fit and at your best. Try not to skip meals, get plenty of sleep, don’t over do the mulled wine and drink lots of water. These might be simple steps but they will help keep you smiling when those trying relatives are, well, trying.
Most of all remember to have fun and appreciate those you love.