How to Survive Christmas

Christmas can be stressful – particularly with all the added pressure that gets piled on at this time of year.

You’ve fought your way through the crowds of Christmas shoppers to grab the best bargains and stressed over the size of the gifts and whether you have enough.

Families who rarely speak to each other all year feel obliged to get together at Christmas and any underlying tension is bound to creep (or explode) out.

Since the start of November adverts have been showing happy, smiling people enjoying a snow-filled Christmas, sparkling lights, clinking glasses and plates of beautifully prepared food. Endless articles on the prefect present list (not a pair of socks in sight), how to wrap them, how to create a beautifully decorated home and what to cook for the festive season.

If you’ve been planning the ‘perfect’ Christmas – don’t get stressed when things don’t turn out quite as you hoped.  Guests turn up late, the turkey takes longer to cook than planned, the roast potatoes are burnt, the sprouts no-one eats have turned to mush, the tree has dropped all it’s needles and the house has turned in to a war zone with feuding families and fractious children.

Don’t panic!!

Make it as enjoyable and as stress-free as possible.

Plan what needs to be done on the big day. Prepare what you can in advance and work backwards so you can get the timings right (or as close as possible).  Don’t go into meltdown just because everything isn’t ready bang on time.

Get everyone to help out – whether it’s peeling potatoes, setting the table, pouring the drinks or tidying/washing up afterwards.  There’s no point feeling you have to do everything yourself, being a martyr and then complaining.

If they don’t offer, just ask! Many hands make light work (unless it’s a case of too many cooks in the kitchen).  Ask guests to bring a plate, prepare a dish or contribute in some way so you have less to do.

It’s not necessary to have 10 different varieties of vegetable – some of which you’ve probably never cooked before and half of which no one will eat or to provide an endless conveyor belt of food and drink.

Drink plenty of water and soft drinks in between the alcoholic indulgence (if you do), so you avoid a crashing hangover, a headache and even worse temper and alcohol fuelled arguments.

Get out for some fresh air and exercise and have a good walk at least once, whether or not you have a dog that needs to get out too.  Apparently this is one of the things that people enjoy most about Christmas – the family walk.

Have a few store cupboard essentials or something in the freezer for when unexpected guests turn up. After the Christmas indulgence a cup of tea and a biscuit may be all they need!

A happy Christmas is one spent in the company of people you love and who love you.  Doing things you enjoy and yes, probably eating and drinking a little too much.

Remember to relax and enjoy the time spent with your family and friends, especially if you’ve been working hard all year. Be thankful for what you have and for those around you.

It doesn’t have to be perfect to be a happy, enjoyable and stress-free time of the year.