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How to avoid Christmas day being a flop

how to avoid Christmas day being a flop

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The supermarket Christmas aisle opens before Halloween, the kids have been counting down ‘sleeps till Santa’ since 1 December, and it feels like you’ve been ploughing through present lists, shopping lists and to-do lists for weeks. With so much anticipation not to mention the stress of getting everything ready it’s not uncommon for the big day itself to feel a bit well flat!

You’re up late the night before stuffing stockings, up early in the morning stuffing the turkey and before you know it that initial wave of kids’ excitement is gone in a flurry of wrapping paper, and you’re bogged down in sprouts and squabbling. So how do you keep the magic alive, and avoid a disappointing Christmas Day?

Start by pacing yourselves

If your children run downstairs and tear into the pile of parcels while you crack open the bucks fizz for breakfast, you all run the risk of peaking too soon. Instead have a loose ‘schedule’ for the first part of the day, and take it in stages. Insist on breakfast before opening presents (well, maybe one each to tide you over), and stick to just a glass or two before lunch. You’ll thank yourself later.

Make sure you don’t overload yourself on Christmas Day

Of course there’s nothing wrong with putting in the effort to make everyone else’s day one to remember, but be careful not to get so get caught up in complex catering or elaborate table dressing that you miss out. What’s really more important fancy-folding your napkins, or playing with your kids and their new toys?top five christmas

Prepare in advance

Do as much as possible in advance of the big day, so you can sit down, relax and enjoy. Prep all the veg for Christmas lunch the night before or buy ready-prepared (just a small gift to yourself, say thank you!) Get out all those spare chairs and dust off the used-once-a-year serving platters ahead of time, so you’re not rummaging through cupboards at the last minute. And pre-wrap some spare presents, so you won’t get caught out by unexpected visitors (a re-instated ex or over-zealous new neighbour) and find yourself saying ‘oh you shouldn’t have’ – because I didn’t!

Make sure the children have some downtime and you get a rest

Keep to naptimes if possible for younger ones. For older kids bring out a board game or cuddle up on the sofa for the big movie. Or you could head outside for a change of scene, some fresh air, and to burn off some energy (not to mention all that chocolate). Even better if someone has a new bike, scooter, skates or doll’s pram to try out!

Make it last!

Keep one or two surprises for later in the day, to make the magic last. Don’t tell the kids that their favourite cousin is calling round, or fake a ‘second delivery’ of presents once they’ve ‘played with everything Mummy!’ (Now, if the favourite cousin happens to have a Santa suit, you’re quids in!)

And finally if nothing else think about what it is that makes Christmas feel like Christmas for you. Is it that special festive song that reminds you of your childhood, is it sipping a glass of fizz while you call your best mate, is it enjoying breakfast in bed while the kids open their stockings, or sitting down (or standing up, how proper!) to watch the Queens speech? Whatever it may be, make sure that amidst the chaos, cooking and carolling, you make time for your special Christmas Day x-factor.

Merry Christmas!



About Alison McKay

About Alison McKay

Alison McKay is a charity PR professional with over 15 years' experience in full-time, part-time and jobshare roles. Since being made redundant while on maternity leave, she has divided her time between working for a local museum, freelance and volunteer writing, and being chief wrangler to a two-year-old mud-magnet and an almost-seven-year-old wannabe dog-care worker with a penchant for hair accessories. Alison's hobbies include yoga, reading cookery books and putting away just enough clean laundry to keep the pile below 3ft tall.

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