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Christmas Stress: How to cope

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Christmas stress can soon ruin what should be a joyful occasion. Instead of relaxing with family and friends, enjoying a fun filled day and eating a delicious Christmas dinner, you may find you are skint, stressed and praying for the whole event to be over. Gone is the notion of ‘peace on earth and good will to all men’ and in its place is ‘get out the kitchen, the turkey is ruined and I’m paying off my credit card until next Christmas’.

The perfect Christmas

We are all conditioned to believe that the perfect Christmas consists of happy families sat round a festive table, eating turkey cooked to perfection, enjoying party games and finished off with a good ol’ sing song around the piano. In reality, it’s not always like that and it’s important to remember that Christmas is one day out of the year that comes and goes in a flash. For your Christmas to be perfect you shouldn’t be basing it on someone else’s idea of perfection, instead think about what is really important to you and how you want to enjoy the day. There are no rules and flexibility is key. If you’ve said dinner will be at 2pm yet you’re still slaving over the stove at 4pm, don’t panic! Give them some pringles or peanuts and go with the flow.

Don’t set standards so high

Although you might strive for origami style napkins, perfect table centre pieces, the best present’s money can buy and a schedule that runs to perfection, in reality this rarely happens, so don’t put any more pressure on yourself. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so if you’re worried your sprouts are overcooked, to the rest of the family, they might be just right. Its not about perfect sprouts, it’s about enjoying the day.

You can’t choose your family

Inviting a mother in law from hell or obnoxious uncle to be in your home for hours might be a recipe for disaster, but if you have to spend Christmas with them, try and rise above any tensions and don’t expect them to suddenly change just because it’s Christmas. Even if someone has made a rude comment, politely remind them it’s Christmas and not the time for any ill-feeling in your home. Remember, it’s just for one day, so give them a little slack, don’t rise to the bait and let it go over your head.


The cost of Christmas can soon spiral out of control if you don’t set a budget and stick to it. There really is no point getting into debt and not having a penny for the next 6 month just to buy expensive presents. You don’t need to spend a fortune to show someone how much you love them. It’s the thought that counts so if you’re really strapped for cash, consider baking cakes, making gifts such as candles or photo frames or even speak to family and friends and suggest a no-present policy that year. They may even be grateful it’s one less person to buy from or be relieved as they’re also on a budget too! Look for second hand bargains or shop on eBay for gifts that might be considerably cheaper than in stores.

Family on Christmas eve

When it comes to kids, we do want to get them what they want but be realistic and let them know they can’t always have everything. Younger kids often spend more time playing in the boxes gifts come in that the toy itself so don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t get every child’s toy on their list.

Preparation is key

The last thing you want on Christmas morning is the alarm going off at 4am to give you time to get dinner prepared. Try and do as much preparation before the day as possible. When it comes to food, try and get as much as possible beforehand, just stocking up on necessities nearer the time. Prepare the potatoes and veg the night before, you could even cook the turkey the day before or not even bother with a turkey at all if you don’t want! It doesn’t matter if you cheat a bit too; no-one will judge you for using ready made frozen roast potatoes. You should also delegate where you can, get older kids peeling the spuds, younger ones setting the table and aunts and uncles sorting out drinks.

Don’t leave buying presents until late, you will get stressed in the crowds and end up buying gifts you don’t really want just to buy ‘something’. Think about doing your shopping online from the comfort of your home and letting the postman deliver your shopping rather than struggling with all those bags.

Take time out

The lead up to Christmas can often be consumed with various invitations out for meals, drinks and get togethers. Feel free to say no to some of these if you don’t want or haven’t time. You can quickly burn yourself out looking after the kids, going to work, preparing for Christmas and then finding time for social engagements, so if you want a night to relax in a hot tub, then do that instead! When it comes to Christmas day, if you want to sit down and relax for a bit, do it; don’t rush to wash the pots or get the next course on, remember you aren’t a slave for your family, it’s your Christmas too!





About Rebecca Robinson

About Rebecca Robinson

After spending the last 8 years juggling life as a mum of two, wife and working full time as a Project Manager for a global telecommunications company, Rebecca Robinson made the decision to follow her love of writing and took the plunge; turning her passion into a full time career. Since becoming a full time writer, Rebecca has worked with various media and copy-writing companies and with the ability to make any topic relevant and interesting to the reader, now contributes to The Working Parent on articles ranging from credit cards to teenage relationships. Ever the optimist, Rebecca's dreams for the future include a house in the country filled with children, dogs and horses in the field!

Website: Rebecca Robinson

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