Surviving Christmas

Christmas, the most beautiful time of the year. But to reach the upper state of happiness during Christmas you will have to accept the days of despair up front.

The awful stress of Christmas is often caused by the fact that we start too late with our preparations.  A good thing to do is to create in advance a good “Christmas plan”. Who will come, what will you eat and drink, make a shopping list, pre-order important ingredients, etc.

Six out of ten people get into stress because a day before Christmas they don’t know yet what to buy and find out that a lot of things are already sold out. Internet shopping can help you out. No running up and down through the city and most often your packages are delivered at your house the next day.

To avoid stress and headaches the best tip for the Christmas dinner is to keep it simple. The enormous amount of dishes after the Christmas dinner has appeared to be a large stress factor. And what if your new recipe will fail? That’s the reason that you shouldn’t make your Christmas dinner too complicated. One good advice is to get the cook book of Nigella Lawson called “Nigella’s Christmas”  to plan and cook your Christmas dinner. Keep in mind that you have to enjoy the dinner without feeling guilty. When the table is set with all the delicious dishes and the drinks are being served don’t feel guilty about the extra calories. Also that will give you unnecessary stress. Instead take half portions but enjoy to the fullest. Don’t forget the next day to take a nice long walk.

In December it is also very important to keep your wallet happy. Christmas presents, Christmas outfits, food and drinks…December can be an extremely expensive month! Avoid the financial stress by making a budget for all the presents. Don’t delay buying a Christmas tree cause the later in the month the more expensive the trees will be. Pay close attention to special sales in the supermarket. In all honesty, why would you buy an expensive new outfit again? I bet that no one will remember what you were wearing last year!

To make sure stress will not catch up with you set the bar a little lower this year. A lot of stress is caused by the high expectations of ourselves and others. Your spouse and children need to look at their Christmas best, the house needs to be tidy and clean and of course the dinner has to be a culinary delight. The more perfect the picture is in your head, the more aggravated you will be if you will not live up to these expectations. Try to accept the situation as it is and let everybody enjoy and be happy. Even if the dinner fails…just order out. Did the dog run over the Christmas tree…just clean it up and enjoy. So whatever happens, keep smiling, enjoy and be proud and happy.

If you don’t watch yourself you find out that all you do is work during the Christmas days. Making breakfast and coffee, welcome the guests, making drinks and preparing the dinner. And this, three days in a row. Be sure your guests don’t come early, so you will have more time and you are also able to take a moment to sit down and relax. Put on a Christmas movie for the kids so you can take a small nap or sit down for a minute to read your favourite magazine. So try to do as much things you truly enjoy. Running all day, making a huge breakfast, playing games, visit your family and your parents in law coming over for a visit…some people think that this is the ultimate way to spend Christmas. For others, it is a living hell. Try to do as many things as possible that you really enjoy, without being selfish and of course, consider the wishes of your family members. Just make sure it’s a beautiful day for the whole family, including yourself.

A good tip is to also celebrate the third day of Christmas. Only two days is too short to do all the things you want do on Christmas. This is the perfect day to visit friends and family or to relax and enjoy a little private Christmas time.

My final tip for a stress free Christmas is “take a vacation instead”. It’s an excellent option. Twenty percent of the people choose a sunny Christmas instead of the snow and cold. Just pack your bags, get on a plain and head out to the sun. And after a couple of days you return home with a nice tan, all relaxed and ready for the new year. So all in all don’t forget, it is your Christmas too!!!

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