Do you find that every year Christmas grows ever more stressful? What with buying gifts, trying to keep everyone happy, putting up with drunken relatives, and wondering how you’re going to pay for it all, the holiday can sometimes be more trouble than it’s worth. So I present the following essential guide to getting through Christmas without losing your sanity …
For my fellow Grinches, this is my number one tip. Ignore the whole thing altogether – or at least as best you can. This is quite difficult when the whole thing is so in your face, but it can be achieved. Stick to your guns and if you don’t want to participate, then don’t.
Do you want to have a truly relaxing time? Do you really not enjoy family gatherings? Or do you not have people to celebrate with? Then book yourself into a hotel. Kick back, relax and let somebody else do the hard work.
Are you always the one who ends up hosting the entire extended family for dinner, and doing all the work? Are you fed up with preparing mountains of vegetables and getting no thanks? Then make this year different. Tell people if they want to get fed, they will do their bit. Share the work around.
Cooking and food preparation takes up a lot of time and energy (and that’s without clearing up afterwards). If you’re having a party or a meal, ask people to bring some dishes to share. This usually works out well, and you won’t end up with forty salads. This kind of meal is also more relaxed for the host, as you won’t have to jump up every five minutes to check on the next course.
Be very firm about what you will and will not do over Christmas, and stick to it. If you have a small child and would rather spend Christmas at home quietly, then do so. If you don’t want to spend fourteen hours driving to the in-laws every year, invite them to come to you.
If you really don’t want to do something, then don’t do it, or you will be miserable, resentful and stressed. Never give in to emotional blackmail, or the same tactic will be repeated every year.
Set a budget and stick to it; it also helps to save up and put money aside throughout the year. Don’t feel compelled to spend money that you can’t afford. Agree with family to buy presents for children and not adults, don’t go mad on spoiling the kids, and if you don’t want (or can’t afford) to participate in office outings and present-giving, then say no.
Do you feel that you ought to spend the holidays with family? Well, obligation can be very stressful and not enjoyable, so why not compromise. Visit your family one year, your partner’s family the next, and stay at home on the third year, for example.
What tips help you survive the holidays? Do you swear every year that this year will be different, and then find yourself trapped on the same old merrygoround? Are there any Christmasses you’d rather forget?
Top Photo Credit: catklein
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