Yes, I’ve said it, I’ve said that Christmas word and I’m not sorry!
For all of those people now throwing their hands up in horror that I’ve mentioned Christmas in the month of October many of you will be the same people that will have conversations with me in December about how stressed you are because you’ve done nothing to prepare for Christmas.
I get it. Unless you are a real Christmas lover nobody really wants to wish their time away, nobody really wants to start thinking about Christmas now but if you want to avoid some unnecessary stress there are a few things you can do right now to help ease that.
As you probably realised by now, I am horribly organised person and always have been so Christmas for me has never been as stressful as it is for many other people I know and that is because I plan. Okay I recognise that that is just who I am and not everybody’s like that and that’s absolutely fine but maybe the following tips will help you to feel a little less stressed this Christmas?
- Buy your Christmas cards now if you haven’t already done so. If you buy Christmas cards have a real think about your never-ending list, do you want to send cards to all those people? Do you need to send cards to all those people? Whatever the answer is, if you buy the cards now you can start writing them just a couple at a time maybe sat in front of the television one evening rather than leaving it until the last minute and it then becomes a chore.
- Start adding bits and pieces do your weekly shopping list. For example, the odd bottle of wine, bottles of tonic, bags of crisps or nuts, anything that has a long shelf- life and you can put away in a box until Christmas. Little and often, will take some of the sting out of the Christmas shopping.
- Find yourself a box preferably with a lid that you can keep in a spare bedroom, under the stairs, somewhere that is not visible and in here store any of your Christmas purchases. You are less likely to dig into the crisps or snacks or Auntie Jane’s chocolates if they are in a box with a lid with a big label on saying Christmas.
- Revisit the present list. I suspect we all do this at regular intervals questioning how necessary it is to buy for so many people? This year I want you to really look at that list, are there people that you could have a conversation with and agree to not buy for each other? Are there people that you could agree on a much smaller budget when buying for each other? Are there people who you’ve always bought for because you always should and it’s either no longer relevant or necessary but just a habit? Everyone has had a tough couple of years and as much as Christmas is a time of celebration, we could all do with a helping hand and sometimes being the person brave enough to hold their hands up and say they can’t afford to do Christmas quite as they used to makes everyone give a huge sigh of relief and wish they’d done the same.
- Don’t over commit. When the inevitable phone calls or texts start coming in from friends & family organising Christmas get togethers, rather than instantly reply with a yes, thank them for the suggestion and say that you will get back to them once you’ve checked everyone’s diary. This way you can ask yourself whether it’s something you want to do, can afford to do, have the time and energy to do. If the answer is no to any of those questions, reply as soon as you can explaining that it was lovely of them to think of you but on this occasion, you are not able to take up the offer and that you hope to catch up soon. Keep it short and to the point. Be realistic as to what you can actually manage over the festive period.
I love Christmas, I always have done and traditionally it’s been a very magical time of the year for me mainly due to my very magical mum who sadly is no longer with us, so I’ve had to learn to do Christmas differently and I’ll admit, I found that incredibly hard and the first couple of years we’re really quite miserable if I’m being honest. However, we have changed our Christmas habits and we do do it differently now which is taken off a lot of emotional pressure making the occasion enjoyable once again. So, if you are dreading this Christmas particularly if you have lost somebody close to you, please know from me that although it will be tough it will get easier and sometimes you just have to go through the rubbish bit to get to the other side. Be kind to yourself maybe change things that you’ve always done, go somewhere different, even change the format of the day so you do things in a different order, although it won’t take the pain away it somehow makes it more bearable.
So, before the post half term madness starts, the Christmas ads are on the TV every five minutes, the phone calls from friends and family trying to make arrangements, just look at some of the little things you can do to make your life easier so that you can enjoy Christmas too.