Christmas can be one of the most beautiful, and stressful times of the year. There are so many things to do, people to see, and cocktails to drink.
Every year it doesn’t get easier. You think it will, no matter how many lists you write or Pinterest boards you can scroll through. Truth is, it’s always a mad dash around the shops on Christmas eve and worrying if you’ve got enough to eat. Here are a few tips to help you with some of the common reasons for the stress this season.
You have to remind yourself that people shouldn’t give to receive. Yes, it is very nice that the neighbours have bought you a lovely hamper or a nice bottle of something. However, they have chosen to go out of their own way. The same goes for family. There are people in my life that will get presents every year, no matter if they return the favour or not. Then there are people that I have to think, “Do I need to get them a gift? Will a nice card suffice?” If there are people who you usually buy for, however under different circumstances, you just can’t this year, let them know. If they really mean that much to you and feel the same about you, they will understand completely. Trust me. If not, oh well. They don’t deserve a present anyway.
Christmas is a time for happiness and celebration. Nowhere in the nativity story did it say one of the wise men took out a payday loan for a few gold bars. Nor does it say another had a personalised box of frankincense from the catalogue on weekly payment. Then the last one felt pressure to match everyone, so went without a food shop for two weeks so he can buy a fancy case of myrrh. Then to top it off, the ungrateful little **** didn’t even say thank you. The same advice is given as with the presents; let people know. Your family and real, dearest friends will absolutely understand. I’m pretty sure that they wouldn’t want you to go without, or worry about your finances come January. Make a budget per person and stick to it.
Ok, calm down. First of all, a Christmas dinner is just a fancier, fuller roast dinner. It shouldn’t be scary. If you’ve never made a roast dinner before, get out of the kitchen. This isn’t your time. Or if you are the last resort, look into cook from frozen, already stuffed alternatives. The hard work’s already done and you only have to bung it in the oven and read the instructions. Plan. Plan. Plan. Do your research and make a menu. Have a look online at what different supermarkets are offering this year. I love watching Christmas food shows from Nigella, and Jamie Oliver. Sometimes they do super simple recipes that you can then find online. Stock up on cheap, aluminium trays to cook roast things in. That way, you can just throw it out and save the washing up. Think about what can be done in advance, cooking times, fridge space. If you have a plan, there is no reason why everything shouldn’t run like clockwork.
Aunt Beryl’s had a few and is criticising your latest haircut. Uncle Dave is being a party pooper and has a face like a slapped arse. The kids are running around with their new toys that are louder than a fog horn. All you want to do is to tell them all to fuck off. My advice to you is to find a safe space. Make a place in your home, whether it be the bathroom, your bedroom, the kitchen, the cupboard. Make this space your own sanctuary that no-one else is allowed to enter. Take as long as you need to re-group, have a breather or drink, and crack on. It’s one day and you can do this. This isn’t the time to have massive rows that’ll run into New Year. Bite your tongue and smile through it.
If you’re hosting a party or trying to organise one, don’t let it get to you. People will come if they want to come. No amount of different incentives will persuade them. Provide some booze, nibbles, seating and smoking area. Tell everyone to bring a bottle and let them get on with it. If you’re attending a party and you’re not sure if you’re going to know anyone, go in strong. Be as comfortable with people as if you did know them, within reason. In party situations, people are ready to mingle and get jolly with others. That’s why you always make friend with random people on nights out. I’m going to tell you a secret, you don’t actually have to go.
Keeping Up With The Joneses