Top Tips for a Stress-Free Christmas

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Survive Christmas? It is possible. The key is in the planning. We give you 12 tips for achieving super-chic this festive season without losing your sanity.

For all its jolly and its ho, ho, ho, Christmas can be one stressful season. There are the constant carols, the work dos, the kriskringle shopping, the boozing catching up with friends, the pressure of finding your partner/sulky teenager/new paramour the perfect gift… not to mention enduring the fam and in-laws. And you’re hosting? Give us strength!

The key to crisis management? Planning. A measured approach to Christmas will take the weeping out of it, unless you go heavy on the eggnog. In which case, you’re on your own.

Here are 12 tips to make sure your Merry Christmas does not become an oxymoron. 🙂

BE EARLY

A wise person once said pretending Christmas Day was November 25 was their saviour. (We’re making no religious comments here.) They planned their entire festive season so that it was done and dusted by November 25. We’re talking shopping, planning and card-writing.

You don’t have to be quite so diligent. Perhaps being a month ahead won’t work for you but early is best…

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Images sourced: stampinup.net and inspiringinterns.com

LIST LIKE SANTA

Make a list. Check it twice – okay, you can check it as many times as you like. Santa is pretty sure of himself – understandably. He’s had some practice.

Note down all those little things your loved ones mention in passing that they like. This way you won’t end up frazzled and freaking out in the zombie hoards that take over the planet on Christmas Eve.

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Images sourced: sweetrecipesinurdu.blogspot.com and juliecantrell.wordpress.com

UNDER-PROMISE, OVER-DELIVER WITH THE EATS

For those of us who looooove to entertain, this season can be a trap. The trick to staying on good terms with your sanity is to dial it back.

Rather than delivering that eight-course degustation menu with matching wines, treat your fam and friends to a feast of a more modest size.

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Images sourced: thegrocer.co.uk and lookingtocook.co.uk

LET GO OF ‘SHOULD’

And like the Beatles said, ‘let it be’. Christmas is known for turning the most laidback of individuals into stress monkeys.

So banish your inner perfectionist to the Sudoku corner (that should keep them busy) and set yourself free of expectations. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Your way. Whatever way it turns out. ENJOY your Christmas.

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GIVE IT A TRIAL RUN

Go on. Think of Bridget Jones and her infamous blue soup. Don’t want to do the whole lot? Make sure you’ve made everything on the menu at least once before.

Confession: this is an area of improvement for me. I’m always crushing on some new recipe and including it in my menu. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it bombs. But when it works best, it’s a simple recipe served amidst others I’m very familiar with.

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Images sourced: calonplus.co.uk and gizmodo.co.uk

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

Acknowledge the little things and the little people. They always lift your spirit. Or, the way the light hits the beads of condensation on a bottle of Prosecco.

Seek out your favourite people. Spoil them with your presence. 😉

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Images sourced: gourmetician.com.au and ewallpapers.eu

SATE IT, DON’T SLAY IT

If spending time with your family is a little tricksy – aka they make a bed of nails look super-snug – adding a little modicum to your measures is a good thing. We’re talking alcohol. A little tranquiliser can go a long way. Channel your dopamines for good, not evil.

Another suggestion – stay chez anywhere-else-but-at-home. A hotel is nice. Or bring a friend and hold them like a shield betwixt you and your family. A little buffer if you will. Everyone is a little less likely to unleash if there is a stranger in the midst who can judge them.

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Images sourced: celebrationsathomeblog.com and sheknows.com

AND LASTLY, DON’T MENTION THE ELEPHANT

You know the one I’m talking about. The subject that will bring down the house. And not in a good way. Let that large mammal sit silently beside Auntie Jean as she downs her seventh G&T before lunch.

Watch this space for our 12 days of Christmas entertaining tips and our Christmas highlights from all round the globe! Those bells – we’re a-jingling them! 🙂

Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.