Keep calm and carry on this Christmas
Do thoughts of the festive season fill you with joy, or dread?
It is almost time to unbox those Christmas decorations, shop for Champagne and start singing carols again. Before your inner Scrooge can shriek, ‘Bah! Humbug!’, have a read of our top 7 tips for managing the pressures of the holiday season, and keep calm this Christmas.
1 Set your intention
Try to keep things in perspective and aim to focus on the big picture. Remember the things that are most important to you: connection, tradition, memory making and kindness. What do you value most about Christmas?
Use your values as a guide and set your intention for this festive season. An intention might be expressed in a single sentence: Christmas is for connecting with loved ones. Use your intention like a mantra, a foundation to which you can return when you are feeling overwhelmed by busyness.
2 Think like a guest
The weeks before Christmas are not the time to exhaust yourself with an enormous list of home improvement projects. When you last attended a social gathering, did you check to see whether your host had cleaned the top of the fridge? Didn’t think so! Let yourself off the hook, and preserve your energy for the things that truly matter.
Your guests do not expect perfection. Think like a guest and relax in the knowledge that your visitors already feel grateful to you for taking the trouble to host Christmas.
3 Shop online
To avoid the tiresome experience of busy supermarket checkouts and crazy car park situations, complete your Christmas shopping online. You can purchase gifts, and groceries, from the comfort of your own home.
The websites of supermarkets Coles and Woolworths include instructions for establishing an online shopping account and arranging delivery. Most departments stores, and retail outlets, provide online shopping opportunities. Gift wrapping is sometimes included as part of the service, this is particularly helpful when purchasing bulky gifts for children!
4 Enjoy Kris Kringle
Inviting everyone to join in a gift exchange game like Kris Kringle, or Secret Santa, is a wonderful way of bringing people together at Christmas. To play these games, family and friends are randomly assigned the name of a person for whom they must provide a gift.
Some families like to put a monetary cap on KK gifts, others like to introduce a creative twist to the game. You might ask your guests to exchange only handmade gifts, edible gifts, red gifts, second-hand gifts or gifts beginning with a specific letter. Change the theme each year to keep everybody guessing!
5 Start a new tradition
If your family has become a bit set in their ways, you could shake things up a little by introducing a new tradition. A gentle game of cricket, or a few rounds of pin the nose on Rudolph, might get everyone off the couch and laughing together.
Traditional parlour games like Charades, Eye Spy and Pass the Slipper appeal to all ages and are easy to play. You could introduce an annual group photograph or, just for fun, you could set up a silly selfie station complete with a festive backdrop and crazy props.
6 Ask for help
It sounds simple, but when times are busy it can be easy to forget to ask for help. Most people enjoy being of assistance to others, especially at Christmas. Try not to become overwhelmed, let others share the load this festive season.
You might like to consider asking for help with preparation, catering, serving or clearing up. You could request that guests each bring a plate of food to share or a beverage to enjoy. The provision of extra chairs, crockery and cutlery might also be helpful.
7 Keep it simple
Prepare as much as you can ahead of time. To avoid a stressful last-minute hunt for platters, napkins and vases, take these items out of storage in advance. Keep things simple and arrange your catering so guests can serve themselves. Use the kitchen bench as a buffet, set up a salad serving area and organise a drinks station.
The lived experience of Christmas celebrations is often very different to the sparkly perfection we see on our screens. Christmas does not need be flawless to be successful. Remember the true meaning of Christmas and embrace a little more peace, love and understanding.
May your days be merry, bright and calm this Christmas!
How will you keep calm during the festive season?