So many people say that Christmas is stressful for them. Whether it’s spending time with family you’d rather not be with, budgeting, or the expectations of a perfect Christmas, the holiday season can be hard work. But there are ways that parents can have a relaxing Christmas and remove the stress out of their lives.
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12 ways to a relaxing Christmas
1, Plan, plan and plan early
Don’t start Christmas in December. Buy gifts as and when you see them (store them in a safe, memorable place), write a list to check off what you have so you don’t buy the same again, and do a little each week.
2, Budget and save
Start saving from the January after Christmas, and put away money each month in a ‘high’ interest account, or whatever method works for you. If you’re doing shop saving schemes, make sure it’s with a big retailer who won’t go bust.
3, Revert to a simpler Christmas
Remember the Christmases of your childhood, where people enjoyed each other’s company, you went for an afternoon walk together, there were no electronics except maybe the Christmas comedy specials and The Snowman in the evening on the tv. Get out Trivial Pursuits or play charades, and take things easy.
4, Write a food plan
I write down menu plans, shopping lists (buy non-perishables over time beforehand, leaving only the perishables til a few days before), and timings for when things need to be bought, prepped or cooked.
5, Don’t cook if you don’t want to
Go to a restaurant, book a table well in advance (and the meal you’re having) and avoid the washing up and needing to find enough crockery to go round. Or at least, get others to help out on the day (and get them to bring specific dishes or puddings.
6, Borrow or buy a hostess trolley*
You may laugh, but if you’re not like us having an Aga to keep things warm as well as a microwave and electric oven, then you’ll need the storage and warming space if you’re catering for lots of people.
7, Do Christmas activities you want to do and not what’s expected
Many of us fall into the trap of feeling like you have to take the kids to an expensive Santa’s grotto, or to see beautiful Christmas light displays. If you don’t want to, or can’t afford to then don’t. Ask the kids if they want to see Santa (remember they might see him at school or nursery, and often local garden centres or shopping centres have one that’s perfectly fine), and if they don’t, then that’s one task knocked off the list.
8, If you don’t want to host Christmas don’t
Many people feel they must visit family and then there’s fights over which side of the family you’re visiting. If you want to stay at home, then do so. Visit family before or after instead and have Christmas to yourself, or with friends.
9, Get outside
If you want to get away from the hubbub of Christmas, go for a walk in the countryside.
10, Set up a spa relaxation day
Send the kids off to friends or family. Spend the day pampering yourself at home, watch movies or read all day, and eat what you want (or get takeaway). Take time out for yourself.
11, Remove the pressure of Christmas day
Host an open afternoon earlier in the season, and tell family and friends they can just pop in. Do nibbles and drinks, but you’ll find it’s a lot more relaxed and people will only stay a couple of hours. Then you can have Christmas itself for those you want to be there.
12, Play relaxing Christmas music
Make your own playlist to chill you out.
13, Cancel Christmas
It’s drastic but if you really need a break, then do an alternative Christmas or none at all.
Ultimately though, put the kids to work, set up easy activities they can do themselves, or outsource the holiday season to other family members, and it’ll be a perfect time for parents to relax at Christmas.
How do you stay relaxed over the Christmas holiday season?