With only a few weeks left to squeeze in some last minute shopping and to get ready for a visit from your in-laws, the lead up to Christmas often feels like a time of chaos and a never-ending list of things to do.
This year, would the best gift be a stress-free Christmas? If so, well good news – if you’re willing to kick some of the bad habits you normally slip into over the festive season your dream could come true. Remembering the true spirit of Christmas, and making the most of precious time with family and friends, will help everything else fall into place.
Here are our five top tips for taking the stress out of Christmas.
1. Forget the bling
Instead do the whānau thing. The festive season shouldn’t be about spending up big on costly gifts and overspending on expensive food – it’s about enjoying the company of family and friends. Often, inexpensive but thoughtful gifts are the ones people treasure receiving the most. Children are often given a lot of presents which are forgotten about a few days after Christmas so don’t spend too much money on the latest toys and gadgets.
2. Share the load
It’s no fun being stuck alone and stressed out in the kitchen on Christmas Day, especially as with a bit of luck it will be a nice day and much more enjoyable to be outside. Share the cooking duties or ask people to help you out. Sometimes the best move is to invite friends and family to bring a plate – not only does it share the load it shares the cost.
3. Get organised early
Grab a pen and make lists for the jobs you need to do, presents to buy and groceries you’ll need on the day. You can also use this as a way to start a Christmas budget and stick to it. Planning a menu early and writing down the ingredients you need can stop impulse buying at the supermarket. Consider what food you can prepare in advance and possibly even freeze in preparation for the big day.
4. Take a breather
Don’t let exercise take a back seat over the festive season. Make time for a walk on your favourite beach or in a nearby park away from the Christmas madness. Even a quick walk around the block will help you relax and think more clearly.
5. It’s OK to say no
Don’t be afraid to turn down a party invitation or Christmas event. The festive season can get busy and stressful if you’re trying to fit too much into your day or week. You can always take a rain check and organise to catch up in the new year when you will all have more time on your hands.
Try to remember, Christmas is just one day of the year, and although many of us would like for it to run smoothly, often the most reminisced about Christmas’s are ones when things didn’t run quite as expected. Use the day to relax and enjoy the people around you, reflect on the year that was and look forward to summer and the excitement a new year brings.