Christmas is certainly one of the most fabulous and happy times of the year. But my word isn’t there some pressure to be fabulous and happy THE WHOLE. WAY. THROUGH. Is it really that much fun to ride a one horse open sleigh? Is ding dong really merrily on high? Fa la la la la, la la la WHAT?
If you’re cooking a turkey dinner (complete with trimmings, starters, desserts, cheese boards, wines, sherries, crackers, after dinner mints and alternative options for those picky eaters) for near enough 500 people (well, sometimes it feels like that doesn’t it), then it’s really quite a challenge to not totally lose it.
Add to that the activities on the build up to Christmas: gift purchasing, Christmas Do’s, wrapping, decorating, markets, mince pies, merriment… and, well, it can all get a little overwhelming.
Here’s our guide on how to keep it together, stay relaxed and really enjoy the essence of Christmas:
1. Put those family argument “Ghosts of Christmases past”, behind you. For the day at least…
Seriously, Christmas Day is stressful enough without bringing last year’s family argument into it. Why ruin a wonderful meal and such important family bonding with bad tempers and cross words?
We all have family squabbles. Why? Because these are the people in your life you are the closest to. But for a smooth day, forget historical arguments, put them to bed and hold that tongue when Uncle Clement has had one too many Irish Creams and starts deliberating on your life choices.
Love your family and laugh at their individual neuroses. Would you really have them any other way?
It’s all too easy to try and take everything on single-handedly, but as much of a control freak as you may be, trust us, it’s better to delegate. There is nothing satisfying in trying to do all the work yourself and getting upset when you can’t enjoy it.
Plan your Christmas Day ahead of time and prepare as much as you can beforehand. Stick on the Michael Buble album and warm some mince pies while you get the whole family involved in veg preparation on Christmas Eve.
Nominate your partner as Drinks Executive, your eldest child as Decorative Artistic Director and your Sister as Cleaning and Crisis Manager. Have fun together doing the preparations and you’ll realise that the work can be just as much fun as the play.
This is, of course, applicable throughout life generally, but never is it more important than over the Christmas period.
This is easier said than done: take half an hour as regularly as you can (ideally, daily), a cup of your favourite herbal tea (we recommend Chamomile for true relaxation), a few drops of lavender essential oil on a tissue and a comfy chair. Sit back, sip, sniff and snooze. You’ll be amazed at how much this short recharge will get you going again.
4. Less (of the booze) is more (of the schmooze)
OK OK, it might be tempting to throw back that mulled wine when your Grandma comments that the turkey is a little dry and that’s not how she would have done it…but refrain from overdoing it on the alcohol. It will only make steps 1 and 3 harder to achieve and will make you feel even more exhausted and sorry for yourself the day after.
Try to keep the plug in the jug.
5. Don’t forget what it’s all about
This really is a crucial step. We all get so caught up in the frivolities of Christmas, the commercial allure, the constant spend and splurge and coordinated fun and frolics. In an age where the constant demand for perfectionism is suffocating, we’re all too hard on ourselves when we don’t effortlessly pull off Christmas Day without breaking a sweat (or several glasses).
The truth is, it doesn’t matter if your turkey is too dry, if you run out of clementines or Dad doesn’t like the scarf you’ve spent months knitting for him. It doesn’t matter if you forget the pigs in blankets, you spill the mulled wine on the carpet or you don’t have enough seats for everyone (resulting in you sitting on an upside down bin).
All that matters is that we’re fortunate enough to celebrate anything at all. There are millions and millions of people globally that won’t even see a smile on Christmas Day let alone a mince pie. There are people that wish with all their hearts that they had the option of getting stressed about a holiday as opposed to just struggling to survive.
Be grateful for what you have, who you have, laugh at the misdemeanours, love your kin and most of all, relax.
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