So, we blinked, and all of a sudden it’s Christmas. Is it just me, or was it October about 10 seconds ago?
Unless you’re one of those enviably organised superhumans who completes their Christmas shopping (and wrapping, AND food-prep) by September; you’re probably experiencing the annual frenzied cocktail of shopping/cooking/organising/card-writing/surviving your works-do hangover/popping to the shops for the millionth time…. And as a rule; generally sorting out about 12 things simultaneously at any given moment.
Plus juggling normality, of course; because your career, family and personal life don’t exactly stop!
It’s no wonder this time of year puts so many of us in a spin; only to find ourselves hiding in the shoe cupboard with a babysham just to calm down a bit. (No? Just me?).
This year, let’s decide to do things differently. We all deserve to enjoy the season without feeling like headless chickens.
So, here are my top 3 tips for surviving Christmas!
1. Ditch ‘perfect’
I know this is a rule I generally like to get on my soapbox about, but seriously – this time of year above all others; let the need for perfection GO. Auntie Judith cares a lot less than you do if your pinecone centrepiece looks like a mutated hedgehog, and little Timmy won’t know the difference if your glazed parsnips aren’t as good this year as they were last year.
The truth is, WE care a lot more about everything being perfect far more than anyone else cares (or would even notice, for that matter!). Whilst it’s great to be passionate about hosting the perfect day, or buying the perfect gifts; the fact that you care so deeply means so much more to those on the receiving end, than whichever offering you are provide them. Give yourself a break, and remember how lucky your nearest and dearest are to have someone in their life who loves them that darn much that they’d lie awake at night freaking out about stuffing.
2. Ditch comparison
Similar to tip number 1, but this time we’re getting a bit deep’n’emosh and talking about that ‘Love Actually’ vision, where life needs to be 100% darn PERFECT because it’s Christmas time. From adverts to movies; we are surrounded by images of pure, untouchable magic in every corner of life at this time of year; and this can actually make us feel pretty crumby when our reality isn’t quite ‘good enough’ to match up to it. Unintentionally, these pressures might leave us feeling like we are lacking something, which is the frickin’ polar opposite to the whole point of this time of year!
Things may not be completely perfect in life this Christmas, but the last thing you deserve is for this season to make you feel any worse about it because you’re comparing yourself to a fantasy.
Instead, embrace the season for what it is, away from the noise of what it ‘means’ to be happy at Christmas. This is a wonderful time to focus fiercely on the things that are really great, and do make you happy, and are working out well, and will happen someday. Even in the darkest moments of heartache for those we’ve lost; at least we can focus on how tremendous it was to love another person so preciously.
3. Find every opportunity to laugh and find the fun in things
When things are crazy; when things have calmed down… When things go hideously wrong, and when things go awesomely well! The guaranteed things about this season is that it will pass shortly; so we might as well make the most of all of the madness and find the fun in all of it.
Last year I hosted two families for the first time, and it’s no secret that I’m a real Monica Geller when it comes to hosting. (Where do you think I go the inspo from for tips 1 & 2?).
Despite my best efforts, my potatoes just did not want to cook. I’d over cooked them in the par-boiling stage, and my fat wasn’t quite piping hot enough. Rookie error, I know. It’s painful to remember. I managed to secretly drag my sister into the kitchen in a panic; on the brink of debating if oven chips were an appropriate substitute, when she saved the day and rescued my sorry spuds by rearranging my oven and slyly frying off some things that REALLY should not be fried as part of a traditional Christmas dinner. (FYI – when you fry pigs in blankets they fall apart; and then you realise how weird it is to serve up bacon and sausages separately on the side of a roast dinner. Just saying.).
And lastly – a bonus tip (cos’ it’s CHRISTMAS!) DO check out some of the marvellous apps out there for taking 10 seconds to calm the heck down. Even the most hectic person can find 5 minutes here or there to breathe (and if you can’t, then you NEED to!). Some brilliant free apps include ‘Calm’ and ‘Headspace’, and they are a much healthier alternative to downing a bottle of Baileys in one sitting.
Merry Christmas. Good luck, have fun, and enjoy yourself!