How to Avoid Christmas Stress

It's no secret that I adore Christmas, but even I have been known to get stressed out by the mad dash of present buying, food shopping, visiting, cooking, wrapping, socialising, card writing, etc etc etc.  So here are my top tips on how to avoid the stresses and strains, and make the very best of your Christmas with just a little bit of planning and plotting:

  • First, and most importantly, decide what Christmas means to YOU.  What's most important for you, is it the presents, the food, or family time?  Whatever it is, make that your priority.  If your family are spending special time together having fun, will an overdone sprout really spoil that?  Or if presents matter but money's tight, spending extra time on the wrapping will ensure your perfect pressie needs are met.

  • Don't overbook yourself in the run up to Christmas, and prioritise - drinks with friends or the work do?  Bit of a no brainer!  Choose the option that will give you most enjoyment - and possibly even a bit of relaxation time!

  • Don't over-extend yourself on the big day either - if you only want to cook for 4, do that.  And spread everyone else out over the week after Christmas, it'll make the festivities last longer anyway.

  • Wrap presents as soon as you buy them, so you avoid last-minute wrapping fatigue, and/or Christmas Eve stress!

  • Have one wrapping paper per child, and wrap ALL of their presents in the same paper, then you only need write one tag, or better still a lovingly-written card to attach to the first of the many gifts.

  • Plan all your meals between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day well in advance, and draw up the mother of all shopping lists.  Freeze meals ahead of time, and buy everything else you'll need before Christmas Eve, or better still book some supermarket deliveries well in advance.  That way you avoid having to go to the supermarket until into the new year.  The odd one or two things you'll need can be picked up at the local shop.  (I LOVE this one, although one year I was rather disconcerted to see Easter Eggs in the supermarket on 2nd January!!)

  • Plan, delegate and prioritise as much as you possibly can.  You could even join the sad creatures like me who have a Christmas planning book, and record every detail of what needs to be done to be used again next year!

  • Make sure you have some me-time, schedule it in your diary.  A relaxing bath, trip to a coffee shop, or afternoon off doing something you love, will help restore perspective, and restore your energy for the next onslaught!

  • Keep some normality in daily life by taking the dog for a walk at a regular time, playing with your children in the park, or something else which takes you away from the ogre of Christmas.

  • Order or buy your Christmas cards in November, and write them on 1st December.  Get them in the post, then if one arrives from someone you forgot, so be it.  There's always next year!  If it's someone you really care about, then give them a ring or pay them a visit instead.  That will be remembered more than a Christmas card would!

Most of all, enjoy yourself!!  Christmas is supposed to be a time for everyone to have fun, not just the rest of your family!  If it's not perfect, then so be it, there's always next year...

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