For many people Christmas is a stressful time. Whether it’s your responsibility to prepare a Christmas dinner for a big group that seem to believe it’s provided by Santa and his elves rather than hours of hard work, or you have to navigate a complex web of family obligations, avoiding old arguments and grudges and pacifying aunts and uncles who seem oddly combative this festive season.
It’s meant to be a time to relax and be happy, but so much can get in the way of that. Today we’re taking a look at how you can make Christmas a more relaxing time, and really get to enjoy it.
Block Out Time
If Christmas carries with it a busy workload and family obligations, block out time for yourself. If you need to mark it on a rota, do so. If you need to make your point clearer, use the same rota to mark the time you’ve been cleaning, peeling potatoes and putting crosses in the bottom of Brussel Sprouts.
When your time comes, slip away from the kitchen, from the room full of warring relations: slip into your men’s Slydes, or your fluffy socks and brook no interruption to your you time. If you need to, excusing it with “I’m going to wrap presents” should guarantee you some undisturbed peace.
Put Everyone to Work
If the tradition in your house has been for one person to put in all the work on Christmas Eve or Day to prepare a big dinner, wrap and presents and, in general, to take care of everyone else, it’s time for that to stop (especially if that person is you).
It means that one person doesn’t get to enjoy the day and that, as their stress builds, everyone else will find themselves in danger of an outburst. Dissipate that stress by spreading the work: it’s only fair for everyone to get involved.
Be thoughtful in how jobs get doled out: if people are forced to do things they’re not confident or skilled at it puts everyone’s good mood (and Christmas dinner) in danger, so try to play to people’s strengths. Don’t ask someone to make an elaborate dish if they’re not an experienced cook – they’ll be more happy peeling potatoes or laying the table, lifting this grunt work off your shoulders.
This also helps keep people occupied: if you have children that would otherwise be asking you for attention or expecting to be entertained, parking them with a job to do, and the knowledge they’ll be contributing can kill two birds with one stone!