“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas”. Calvin Coolidge
Wow, it’s hard to believe we are in December already, this year has flown by so fast. Have you written your cards? Wrapped your gifts? Feel in control of your pre-holiday preparations?
If the thought of the impending celebrations make you want to cower under the kitchen table you’re not alone. Follow my tips for a stress-free Christmas.
Look after yourself. This has to be number one. It’s only natural to worry about everyone else making sure they have what they need to enjoy the festive period but if you are not ok your family is not ok. Frantically running around in your lunch break searching for the perfect gifts will take its toll on your emotional and physical health. Take regular time out to rejuvenate. 10 minutes mindful breathing a day will do wonders for your stress levels. Delegate where you can – who says you have to do it all on your own?
Take a reality check. You may have a to-do list a mile long but what would actually happen if you didn’t do everything on it? The world wouldn’t end if everything wasn’t perfectly co-ordinated or if the place cards weren’t handmade. Condense your list down and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Let go of traditions that don’t work for you. You probably have an idea of the ‘right’ way to celebrate christmas that comes from childhood traditions but do they actually work for you and your family? My friend refuses to cook, spends all day in her pyjamas and has pizza for dinner and has the best time.
Embrace the imperfection. It is natural to want the day to be perfect but demanding perfection is a form of control and that never goes well! Relax. So the kids want to decorate the tree their way, the decorations are hand made, not symmetrically hung and would never be featured in a glossy magazine. Who cares really but you?
Cheat if you want to. I used to be THE worst for having to have everything home made. Stuffing, bread sauce, you name it I would have slaved over a saucepan to create it. Now I am happy to buy store bought to make the day easier for me. I get to spend more quality time with my children and nobody notices the difference. Everyone remembers a big family meal around a table. The love, the laughter and the sharing. Nobody really actually cares whether the cranberry sauce comes out of a jar or not.
Ditch the judgement. Your Uncle Jack is notoriously hard to buy for but you have found him the perfect gift. He opens it, frowns and places it to one side. How do you feel? Don’t let the negative committee in your head tell you that you got it spectacularly wrong, that you have failed in some way or even that he is an ungrateful pig. Take a breath and move on.
Memories not material. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. It’s not worth starting a new year stressed out and debt ridden. Ultimately the most important thing about the holidays is the memories you create. In ten years time your children will never remember what presents they received but they will remember the togetherness. Find perfection in the love not the stuff.