I have often wondered how so many people seem to sail through the festive season in a waft of present buying, entertaining, endless visiting, relentless smiling, effortlessly sprinkling all in their path with the Season’s Glad Tidings. I honestly have no idea, but this year I have decided to challenge myself one last time in 2010 and enjoy a happy and harmonious Christmas.
This is not easy for me. I like my peace and quiet, I’m not good in crowds, I prefer routine and home comforts and I don’t enjoy the false, commercial, ringing-of-the-tills financially and emotionally demanding 12 days or so which saps the soul.
So how am I going to turn Christmas from being a right pain in the arse, to the enjoyable, family-friendly, relaxing and reflective period it should be? I’m not sure but perhaps these tips will help me cope with the onslaught.
Don’t overspend– a difficult one especially if you, like me, have children. There is no absolute answer to this dilemma but I am determined to keep to a pre-determined budget.
Shop online– Hurray for Amazon and Tesco I say. Gone are the days when I get up at 3am on Christmas Eve to do the food shopping. Order early and watch the weather forecast like a hawk. If it snows, you may be disappointed and end up eating fish fingers for Christmas Dinner.
Keep it simple-Christmas may not be the best time to experiment in the kitchen. Even the best-loved chocolate soufflé can collapse if nurtured by the drunken chef. If I can manage a traditional roast dinner so can you so stick with what you know rather than putting yourself under unneccesary pressure.
Alcohol-It’s just too tempting isn’t it? Don’t fall into the trap of self-medication to get through Christmas. Chances are it will loosen both the tongue and the willpower both with disastrous results! And remember, it is a depressant.
Lists- You can never have enough lists at Christmas. Food list, present list and the dreaded Christmas card list. How about a kitchen duty list to help spread the workload over the holiday? This is not the time to prove you are Superman or Superwoman…..try and organise some rest time into your arrangements.
Families- If you are lucky enough to have a harmonious family count your blessings. But don’t forget that Christmas can test the very best of family relationships. If, on the other hand, you consider your family to be dysfunctional and argumentative, chances are it will be no different at Christmas. Avoid contentious topics such as politics and football and try to avoid competitive or combative games if they have caused arguments previously.
Back to basics-peace and quiet, log fires, appreciating friends and family, walking the dog, listening to music, generally taking “time-out” should be a priority. Try it.
Communicate-don’t stew in the corner. Keep talking and discuss your feelings and concerns. After drinking Snowballs for the last 20 years, this may be the year to confess that you don’t like advocaat.
So bearing all this in mind, I hope that you are able to make your Chrsistmas a very happy and healthy one and we can all look forward to a wonderful 2011. In the words of the Ministry of Information during WWII, “Keep Calm and Carry on”.
If all else fails, join us on the Depression Alliance Facebook page on Christmas day for some chat, banter, support and much needed friendship from those who know just how you feel!