How to survive Christmas – our top tips

 In Family Counselling

With so many expectations to have the perfect Christmas, the holidays are an extremely stressful time for you and your relationships. Whether you have young children, stepchildren, older parents, annoying siblings or even a partner that isn’t pulling their weight, we’ve put together some tips for you to think about when you plan Christmas this year.

So grab that mince pie, put your feet up and check out our guide to survive Christmas.

Get started early

Relieve the pressure by writing a list of tasks early on so you can be prepared for Christmas. You can also spread the cost a little more too, by buying snacks and long life items gradually in the weeks leading up to Christmas, for example.

A list will also help you delegate where you can – get wrapping the presents early with the children, or ask your partner to write and post the Christmas cards.

State expectations

You need to deal with both your own and other’s expectations of Christmas, which can often be set far too high! Have conversations with family and friends in advance to set spending limits for gifts, organise a secret santa or offer ideas for presents that don’t need to be bought, such as babysitting or washing the car.

Say no if you want to

You don’t have to do all the cleaning and all the cooking – it’s OK to say no and ask others to play their part. Get the whole family to help prepare the house, get everyone to bring a dish or a course for the Christmas meal, or even make it all easier on yourselves by going out for the traditional Christmas turkey!

Avoid conflict

A great tip from Relate Counsellor Barbara Bloomfield:

“If you’re worried your guests might not get on, go for a walk in the afternoon to break things up a little. This gives everyone the chance to chat to someone different, or even to stay at home if tension is building.”

Again you can prepare in advance by speaking to people you know might not get on to explain to them how important it is to have a peaceful and stress free Christmas.

If you think the children or younger people might bicker, ensure that you (or delegate someone else) are on hand to break up any potential conflict situations.

And relax…

Remember that it is your Christmas too, so take the time to appreciate it. If you find this hard, you could always highlight the parts of the season that are special to you, such as watching a Christmas movie on Christmas Eve or taking that bracing walk after Christmas lunch, and make sure that you have no chores or responsibilities during those times so you can truly enjoy it.

However you celebrate Christmas, we hope you have a fantastic time!

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