It can be a wonderful experience – all the joy of Christmas, shared with your family and friends. Or at least, that’s the vision that the adverts sell us. The reality for many can be a whole heap of stress, with money worries, family dynamics, and pressure to create ‘the perfect Christmas’ for our kids all pile on. In fact, just a snatch of ‘Jingle Bells’ is enough to bring some people out in a cold sweat. But there are ways to reduce the pressure cooker effect of the holiday season and not be reduced to secretly sinking your grandmother’s sherry in the downstairs cupboard just to get by…
Most people want to truly delight others by presenting them with that perfect Christmas gift. But with demanding siblings, have-it-all other halves and children hyped up on every toy advert they’ve seen since October, it can be quite a challenge. The best plan of attack is to get started early. Leaving all your gift buying to a single trip into the city is asking for stress and pressure.
The best way to handle it all is by keeping a running note on your phone, and jotting down gift ideas throughout the year. If you haven’t done that, then use online gifting sites to inspire you on what to get, from that just-right cashmere sweater for your partner to the hard to track down perfume your Mum used to love or the UK’s favourite dolls prams for your favourite niece. You can even shop via online cashback sites to recoup some of the money.
Learn To Say No
As the festive season gears up, we get many more invitations coming our way, and lovely as those are, each one is also an obligation. For some, especially introverts, social anxiety can make the holidays a real challenge, but even for the most outgoing of us, the constant events can be draining. It’s okay to conserve your energy by turning down invites. Learn to say no graciously and you don’t have to worry about looking rude. We also get many additional emotional demands at this time of year that women seem especially prone to – from getting lumped with organising the works Christmas do, to the admin of the family Christmas cards. Sometimes saying no is the best present you can give yourself.
Stick To A Schedule
During the holidays, we tend to veer out of our normal routines drastically – and this can cause fractious children and overcommitted parents. It can be a good idea to plan out a schedule for the day, so that everyone knows what’s happening and when. That way, you don’t have to worry about juggling too many visitors or the children filling up on sweets because their mealtimes are running behind.
Put It In Perspective
…And finally, it’s good to give yourself a little reality check as well. Yes, you want to have an enjoyable Christmas together with your family, but you can get way too caught up in aiming for unrealistic standards. Take a moment to remind yourself of what you really already know – the advertising that we see all around us is not reality, and has been carefully constructed by teams of professionals. The best Christmas is one where you spend time with people you love – not the one with the most flawlessly decorated tree or gourmet meal. You do you, and do what you enjoy – and that’s the best Christmas you can have.
*This is a collaborative post