Ways To Instantly Make Christmas Less Stressful.
Although Christmas is generally thought of as a time of happiness and Joy, for many of us it can also be a time of unnecessary stress. We often put so much pressure on ourselves to have the “perfect” Christmas that we become overwhelmed when our reality falls short of our expectations. We sometimes take on much more than we can physically and mentally handle which in turn, can lead to an overbearing sense of failure and underachievement.
So here are my five ways to instantly make Christmas less stressful.
1. Unfollow everyone on social media that make you feel inferior or give you unrealistic expectations of what you can realistically achieve.
This means everyone from the posh shops such as Harrods, Selfridges, John Lewis to the Instagramers with perfect trees who get gifted every new release item under the sun. For one, the shops are all staged; they aren’t real, family homes. Yes their decorations are gorgeous and their gifts are luxurious but it’s so ridiculously overpriced and unattainable unless you have an endless amount of cash and professional stylists on hand. High flying instagrammers are also pushers of the unattainable. You’ll never have exactly what they have because more often than not, a lot of their stuff is gifted to them in return for followers or business promotions. Yes, the likes of Instagram & Pinterest are great for sourcing inspiration but try to keep that inspiration within your means. If you’re trying to copy so and so Christmas tree and yours doesn’t come out quite as good, you’re only going to feel disappointment. Always be you, do what you like, how YOU want to, within YOUR means.
2. Scale down the spending. This one is sometimes harder done than said but honestly, it’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever done in terms of lessening the Christmas pressure on myself. This year, I decided to set a budget, I’d never had a budget before and always just bought everything I thought my children would want. This would often cause me to think “well they need this to go with that” and “x has more gifts than y so I have to buy more gifts for x but spend the same on y” and I’d often buy loads of random things that they didn’t even need; new dressing gowns, duvet sets, posh chocolates, Christmas themed toiletries. In the end we ended up with hundreds of gifts but the majority were meaningless and unnecessary so the stress was for nothing and all I was left with was an empty bank account. This year, with my new budget in place, I’m buying gifts I know the children really want, and once I’ve hit the budget for one kid, I know that’s one child sorted. I’ve also crossed off a lot of people from our gift list; such as teachers, neighbours, work colleagues, friends we see once a year, distant relatives etc. You don’t have to buy gifts for people just because. I’m easily saving myself £200/£300 by not buying for these people which is also saving me from all the stress of looking for their gifts too.
So; keep your gift giving list small, set a budget, only buy what you know they’ll love.
3. Be cruel to be kind (to yourself) always hosting guests at your house? Say no! Many years ago we always used to host my dad & my brother for Christmas dinner. Of course, it was always lovely to have them round but catering for just two extra people piled on the stress. Now, Christmas with just us is so much simpler and stress free. We’re not waiting for people to arrive or worse, hoping they’ll leave. We’re not all crammed in the kitchen while the sprouts over boil, we’re in zero rush to get out of our pjs, our house can stay a mess and we don’t worry about having to clean up. Just say no to hosting guests. And make Christmas a “no visits and no leaving the house day” - you don’t have to cram in seeing every single one of your family members in one day, spread it out over the season instead.
4. On that note let go of the guilt. Please do not let any one make you feel guilty for anything over Christmas. It’s your Christmas too and you should do it however the hell you want to. If you don’t want to host guests for dinner, do not feel guilty about it, you’re lessening the stress on yourself so that you can be happier & healthier, ain’t no one going to blame you for that. Do not let images of perfectly decorated trees adorned with masses of gifts underneath make you feel guilty that yours isnt the same; yours is perfect too! Perfect for YOU and YOUR FAMILY. If you want to put your tree up 8 weeks before chrimbo? Do it! If you want to eat mince pies in September? Go for it. Don’t ever feel guilty for being you and staying true to yourself, your family and your budget.
5. Don’t fret over Christmas dinner! Let’s be honest, Christmas dinner is just a glorified roast, right? So you don’t have to go all out to make it great. Just by adding simple things to the table such as Christmas crackers & a gravy dish can make it look special. As for the food, you don’t need 6 different varieties of meat & veg. 1, it’s too stressful to cook and make sure everything is ready on time. 2. The majority of it will go in the bin. Sit down with your family and decide together what everyone wants & doesn’t want and work your Christmas lunch around that.
6. Buy online. One of the biggest stresses for me used to be having to join the Christmas crowds to do my shopping. It’s mayhem out there this time of year so now I do 90% of my shopping online. That way, I don’t get stressed half way through and abandon my basket just to get home. Online shopping is so much easier and simpler.
7. Housework. I’m definitely guilty of going overboard with the house work when it comes to Christmas, so this year, I’ve been spreading the “must do” jobs out over October/November. I refuse to spend December cleaning and doing unnecessary housework just for one day of celebration. With all the guests, visitors, trips here and there, it’s almost impossible to keep on top of everything, so don’t stress about housework. Just keep up with what you can and don’t try comparing yourself to Mrs Hinch and her gang. You’ll have plenty of time for housework when the kids go back to school.
8. Enjoy yourself! Make the most of festive TV and indulge once in a while on taking a break and looking after yourself. If you’re less stressed you’ll more than likely be able to actually enjoy the festivities. There is no joy in working yourself into the ground just for one day. Your children and family would rather you be ok than have you stressed out to the max!