My 5 Top Tips for a Stress Free Christmas….

Ok, so I know not everyone loves Christmas as much as I do, but you know what? We can all enjoy this festive season with family and friends. You don’t need to go overboard quite as much as I do, but you can still enjoy it without getting your tinsel in a tangle!

So, here are my top 5 tips for a stress-free Christmas:

1. Remember, it’s not about the money!
So many people get caught up in “Keeping up with the Jones” especially around Christmas time. They think they need to buy all the most flash gadgets for their family and that if they don’t buy their kids the latest and greatest toys, their kids won’t love them anymore and will be scarred for life! I know in years gone past, I have been guilty of this, but there is something to be said about wisdom coming with age!

I asked my kids what I got them for Christmas 2 years ago, and they couldn’t remember! I then asked them about our “Strong Family Work Do” (our excuse to celebrate the year just gone) that same year and they could remember what we did, where we went and what they ate! So really, this goes to show me it’s not about the “stuff” but of making memories…..which doesn’t have to cost a cent!

2. Plan
It always surprises me when people say to me they haven’t even thought about Christmas and it is December 22nd! It’s no surprise that Christmas will be on December 25 every year, so go ahead and make a plan! Now you don’t have to start planning in June but at least think about it before Christmas Eve! Put a wee bit of thought into the presents you need to get, who is cooking, and what you are cooking, not just on Christmas Day but the week before and after. And also if you are going on holiday, don’t leave packing and planning to the last minute! I can promise you, having a plan will alleviate so much stress!

3. Relax
It doesn’t have to be perfect! For so many years, I would get super stressed at Christmas thinking that everything had to be perfect. But I have learnt (the hard way!) that it doesn’t! People won’t remember the perfectly folded napkins, they won’t remember the perfectly wrapped colour co-ordinated presents, and you know what? They won’t even remember the perfectly cooked, immaculately decorated dessert that you spent hours on. What they will remember is the atmosphere, the laughter, the Christmas where you dropped the dessert when you were carrying it to the table. And they will remember the memories that are created by just being with family and friends.

4. It’s ok to say No
I don’t know what it is about the Holiday Season, but EVERYBODY wants to catch up with you! You have work do’s, end of year break ups and the kids seem to have something on every other day that requires either a present or a plate of food! Even people you haven’t caught up with all year, decide now is a great time for that long overdue catch-up! But, it’s ok to say no! All these festivities can become quite overwhelming and something that should be fun, can easily become a chore. So, it’s actually ok to say no to some things. There is no point being out every night for 2 weeks leading up to Christmas and sleeping your way through Christmas Day because you are just simply worn out! Catch up with people in the New Year when things have settled down a little, or just simply say no (and spend the night at home watching Christmas movies!)

5. Remember the Reason for the Season
It’s not all about the presents, the food or even spending time with family and friends. These are all great things, but please, let us not forget why we celebrate Christmas! If we keep the main focus on the birth of Christ and all that entails, we won’t get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas and we won’t stress ourselves out trying to have everything perfect!

So, stop, take a deep breath, and go have the most awesome Christmas!