There are gifts, music, sparkly lights, parties and family gatherings, but often Christmas feels like anything but a celebration. From trying to fit your shopping in around work, to hosting the big day and sorting out family squabbles, it’s no wonder the ‘silly’ season soon becomes a serious nightmare.
The bottom line is, only you can decide to make this year different. Here are three easy ways to make your Christmas stress-free.
Do Christmas your way and don’t invite stress to the party.
1. Do it your way
One of the hardest things about Christmas is trying to fit in with everyone’s plans and expectations. While compromise is necessary, in order to get everyone in the same place, at the same time, the other details are entirely yours to play with. For example, do you hate sweating in the kitchen cooking a roast? Don’t do it and have a cold lunch instead. Can’t stand the thought of cleaning up after everyone’s gone? Go to the beach, park or a restaurant instead.
Traditions are lovely, unless they create more stress than they’re worth. Do Christmas your way and opt to relax and enjoy yourself, instead of working so hard to please everyone. Chances are, others will like the change too and you’ll start some new traditions that are much less stressful to take part in.
Don’t like Christmas shopping? Rethink the meaning of gifts.
2. Rethink the meaning of gifts
It really is the thought that counts, so get creative with how you and your family approach giving.
You only have to walk into a shopping centre in December, to notice the frenzy surrounding Christmas presents. Guess what? You really don’t have to join in, if you don’t want to. Apart from obvious reasons like blowing your budget out of all proportion, many Christmas gifts end up forgotten at the back of someone’s cupboard, anyway.
If Christmas shopping doesn’t feel like an investment in joy to you, rethink the meaning of gifts. It really is the thought that counts, so get creative with how you and your family approach giving. Do a Secret Santa to minimise shopping, arrange for everyone to hand-make presents or pool the money that would have been spent on gifts and invest in having an experience together, instead.
Family fights at Christmas might be legendary, but that doesn’t mean they’re necessary. When everyone’s eaten too much chicken, had one too many beers or feeling tired, it’s easy for tensions to boil to the surface and mild bickering can quickly escalate into outright arguments.
While you can’t control the actions of others, you can take steps to ensure a drama-free zone. Arrange games for adults and children, so everyone’s occupied. Try to quickly diffuse any touchy issues, by changing the subject. Arrange to give back to the community via a charity in your area, so part of the day is a reminder of what Christmas is all about.
When you strip away the shiny objects and expectations, you remember that Christmas is all about spending time with loved ones and feeling grateful for how lucky you are.
Knowing that, simply don’t give stress a role to play this year and get back to being merry.
Nicole Leigh West
Nicole Leigh West is the author of fiction novel, 'The Gypsy Trail' and an internationally recognised travel and lifestyle writer.
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