Holidays like Christmas can be stressful for those that organise the festivities, so I asked The Midlife Movement Community what they thought was the secret to a happy holiday. They are a thoughtful, enterprising bunch! Here are their top tips:
1. Remember, it's only one day!
"I try to remember that it’s just another day. So much of the pressure to have a “perfect Christmas” comes from people trying to get us to buy things. It’s lovely spending time with the family, but it is only a single day, with a glorified roast dinner - one day out of 365 - and how the rest of them are, on average, is what really matters. That helps me stay more relaxed. And if people want something a certain way, they are welcome to do that themselves!"
2. Make lists
Angie's top tip:
"Make lists and keep checking them and hopefully crossing things off to give yourself a sense of control. When it’s all in our head it snowballs and we can think we’re less organised than we actually are."
3. Schedule time for yourself
"My husband cooks Christmas dinner. That is my chill time. I aim to keep my glass topped up and play games with the children."
4. Prepare ahead of time
Jan has this to say:
"Prepare veg in advance. Eg: parboil potatoes, toss in preferred oil and freeze. Prepare pigs in blankets day before. Prep stuffing week before and freeze."
5. Ditch the "Schedule"!
"Christmas Day we have no scheduled time for dinner so I’m under no pressure, we aim for 2 but if it’s not it’s no big deal...setting deadlines for a fun family day defeats the object for me...and having no deadlines removes them stress."
6. Make time for Doing Nothing.
Claire's top tip:
"Turn chores into games, plan in blocks of ‘down time’ or even whole pyjama days!"
7. Have a Mindful Christmas
"Mindfulness allows me to breathe, and be in the moment."
Jane is planning to get everyone to pitch in:
"Enlisting everyone's help makes it fun for all... And we get to laugh with a glass or two of fizz in our hands."
9. Do your own thing
Jess is planning an alternative to Christmas:
"Following tradition adds to my stress so I've decided it's time to create our own traditions. We're not even religious so we have changed the name of it to 'appreciation' day, so this year we will give our gifts while saying 'I appreciate You', eat whatever food we really like, no crackers which is fine - landfill, and now I can relax about it."
10. Get outside
Sam has a cunning plan:
"For me it’s all about getting outside. I walk the dog more than normal and ask everyone to do something while I’m out!"
11. Enjoy yourself!
"Do what you can to help yourself. If you're out Christmas shopping, stop for a minute, admire the lights and then move on. There will be people and situations where its not possible to do the above and I accept that but please, think of yourself. After all, you deserve a nice Christmas time too.
12. Let go of the fantasy of a "perfect" Christmas
Jane's tip is:
"Enjoy the day what ever happens, put aside the perfect Christmas."
BONUS TIP: Freeze your lemons! 🍋
Top tip from Sheila:
"A frozen slice of lemon in your G&T brings about a sense that all is well in the world...try more than one for that touch of rebellion!"
Thank you to everyone who answered my call for tips for a stress free Christmas! Why not add your own on the Facebook page.
And if you're still looking for tips for presents for yourself, why not get a loved one to pre-order our new book so that you get a treat in 2020!