Saving on Stress This Christmas

We’ve discussed saving time at Christmas, and in this second instalment we’ll find out about saving on stress. Obviously, some of this can be done by following yesterday’s tips, and tomorrow we’ll look at saving money. But today, we’ll look at other things you can do to keep the holidays as stress-free as possible.

One popular agent of stress at holiday time is the appearance of relatives. Mothers, fathers, siblings, uncles – everyone pops out of the woodwork and many people end up feeling very stressed-out by the prospect of trying to squeeze all of their family into a single day. Worse yet; if everyone gathers at your house, you’ll have to pay for, and prepare, a huge meal that feeds everyone.

Thinking about it logically is a great idea. Everyone will have a much nicer day if you’re not freaking out and the meal is likely to taste better if you’ve cooked it for a manageable number of people. Why not spread the family visits over two or even three days? This will cut down on your stress levels and allow you to truly enjoy the experience.

Of course, accomplishing this task is harder than thinking it up. People may not respond well when you tell them you won’t be seeing them on Christmas Day. But if you present it to them as a done deal and offer an alternative, they are far more likely to take it on board as a positive change. “We’ve decided to keep Christmas smaller, and would like to meet you for a meal out on Boxing Day – do you think that’s a possibility?” comes across a lot more realistically than, “We don’t want to see you on Christmas Day, but you can come over the day after if you want.” Bear in mind that your relatives have feelings and you’ll be able to present it to them as a good change rather than a slight on them.

The way to think of Christmas, in terms of stress, is by remembering that the most important thing is everyone’s enjoyment of the holiday, not fitting in as much as you can. So keep your priorities straight. Is it more important that you get to see Aunt Edna, or that your kids get plenty of time to open their presents in the morning? Would you rather feed a large number of people, or feed a meal that people will remember for a long time to come? Do you want to be on the road at seven o’clock, or sitting down with your partner to watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special?

There’s nothing wrong with organising Christmas to maximise everyone’s pleasure and ensure that your partner and kids enjoy the holiday as much as possible. Don’t be tempted to think of it as a selfish move, but instead consider how much nicer their Christmas will be when you aren’t a complete wreck because of how much work you need to do to please absolutely everyone you know!

When you’ve finalised your guest list, start figuring out what you need more of. Serving dishes? Plates? Cutlery? Chairs? Get it all organised a few weeks before the holiday so that, on the day, you know what’s what. A Christmas meal alone is plenty difficult enough to keep track of – don’t try to organise yourself into a hernia, at the same time!

Then sit back and relax as you enjoy Christmas the way it’s meant to be – a wonderful time with your family, basking in each other’s love and care and eating a huge amount of turkey!