Making the Most of Your Seasonal Trips

Every year, when the holiday season rolls around, families the world over take trips to see their relatives. But it’s so easy to end up spending all of the Christmas period in a state of stress, trying to find a way to see everyone and keep every little present straight. How can you make sure the customary Christmas visits are as relaxing, successful and fun as possible?

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First of all, those presents make for a difficult issue. A lot of people find that they get confused, bring the wrong presents, and/or mix people up. Even five minutes spent at every house you visit, rooting though the trunk of your car looking for the right presents is too much, so think it through methodically! If you pack up all the presents in question by house, you’ll be able to make it a lot easier. Use some carrier bags to segregate your gifts by visit, so you simply open up the trunk and take out the appropriate bag for the visit you’re about to make! This will take you maybe a few minutes, but save you a lot of time and stress in the long run. Alternatively, if you have the time and opportunity, drop the presents off beforehand and let them grace the bottom of the Christmas tree. That does preclude your seeing the recipients’ reaction to your gifts, however, which is a big downside for many people.

If you’re visiting a lot of friends and acquaintances, keeping the social interactions easy is a good idea. Have a plan in case awkward topics are brought up. Politics? Religion? Have some go-to statements to say, like, “Let’s not talk about that today,” and some topics to ask questions about that will distract the person in question. “Let’s not talk about that today; I hear you got promoted, what’s your new position like?” Prepare a few such distractions for every person you’re expecting such discussions from, so you can switch them around and make it all sound very natural.

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Not everyone exchanges gifts with every friend or family member, but there is nothing wrong with bringing a bottle of wine or other drink to every gathering. Tesco, Asda and even Sainsbury’s carry affordable wines, leaving it feasible for you to bring a drink into every home you grace with your presence this holiday season. Just be sure you keep it reasonable as far as your own alcohol consumption is concerned, especially if you’re driving!

Another lovely way to spoil your loved-ones this Christmas is by bringing home-baked goods. Mixing a cup of Trex with a cup of softened butter, a cup and a half each of white and brown sugar, 3 eggs, a teaspoon of vanilla and a couple of bags of chocolate chips before baking it in small balls at gas mark 4 or 180 degrees for 10 minutes (take them out before they brown more than the slightest bit at the edges; they’ll be squishy when you take them out but solidify to a lovely chewy cookie) will give you a huge number of cookies you can easily pack up in batches to bring along.

Make sure your kids have something to do on long car trips; print off a list of car games you can play with them and if your car has a DVD player and no kids who easily get car sick, bring a film they haven’t seen, for them to watch. You too can turn the after-Christmas visiting spree into a relaxing, pleasant combination of people you love and things you enjoy doing!

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