Tips for a Low-Stress Christmas
In an idyllic, Sinatra-inspired world, we’d all be floating around in a bauble of joy, feeling totally relaxed, during the build-up to Christmas. But as much as we might love Christmas, studies show it is the most stressful time of year.
With presents to buy, food to prepare, logistics to coordinate and cramming in a full month’s worth of work before the holidays, it can be exhausting. Add to that the financial pressures faced by many of us at this time of year and the stress can be crippling.
However, there are some simple tips and tricks you can follow, which can help reduce your stress.
Start with a List
Create a list of all the tasks you need to achieve, in priority order. This will help you to stay organised and keep motivated.
Declutter Your Environment
Studies indicate that a disorganized, cluttered environment can increase stress and anxiety. And this, in turn, can impact our mental focus, eating choices and sleep patterns, creating chaos if left unmanaged.
The old adage ‘a clear space equals a clear mind’ rings true to most of us. Being organized encourages mental clarity, boosts productivity and helps to create a more relaxed environment.
Start by having a good clear-out a few weeks before Christmas. Hiring a skip bin will make the process a lot easier, as it provides a big receptacle with high sides to limit windblown waste, outside of the house – so you won’t be carting clutter from room to room, or struggling to create space. By following our spring-cleaning tips you can achieve a huge amount – without it being a horrendous undertaking.
Manage Your – And Others’ – Expectations
Christmas should be fun, but the holidays are never perfect and relationships can be put under strain. Keep your expectations realistic and encourage your loved ones to do the same – you’ll all enjoy the festive season a whole lot more.
Remember, not everything has to be flawless, so ease the pressure!
Create a Budget – And Stick to It
Christmas is an expensive time of year and, for many, can create a huge financial burden. Be realistic and work out what you can afford – then work out what you need to buy and allocate your budget accordingly.
By creating a budget and setting expectations with family and friends early, you can relieve some of the financial pressure.
Set sensible budgets for gifts, so everyone has a set amount to spend. This way, no-one will feel under pressure to spend above their means and no-one will be left feeling guilty for spending less on the gift they gave than was spent on the gift they received.
Do Secret Santa
Why not do Secret Santa rather than everyone buying gifts for one another? Not only will Secret Santa be kinder to your wallet, but buying one gift is much less stressful than having to buy multiple gifts for multiple people. To keep things fair, set a budget so everyone has the same amount to spend.
Or if you really feel you want to buy gifts for your family, buy for immediate family only and do Secret Santa with extended family and friends.
Plan Gifts in Advance
Think about what gifts you are going to give well in advance and start your shopping as early as possible.
Leaving it to the last minute will be stressful and you’ll be jostling with the throngs of over-zealous shoppers in panic mode. And you might not be able to find what it is you want in time for the big day.
Also, think about eco-friendly Christmas gift ideas. With a 30% increase in household waste over the Christmas period, we should all be doing our bit to help reduce this figure for the benefit of our environment.
Spread the Load
When it comes to food preparation, decorations and other necessary tasks, spread the load so everyone pitches in.
Delegate tasks – such as vegetable peeling, table setting and washing up – to everyone in your household and allocate clear action points to other family and friends who will be joining you. For example, assign the starter to one person / couple, the desserts to another, Christmas crackers to another etc.
Not only will this help to relieve stress, but it will also reduce your spend.
Prepare as much as you can in advance and freeze it.
There is a huge selection of canapes and desserts which can be made and then frozen. Potatoes and stuffing can also be cooked and frozen and then defrosted and reheated on the big day.
And Christmas cakes are best made at least 5 weeks prior to Christmas.
Wrap it in a double layer of baking parchment, followed by a double layer of foil and then store it in an airtight container in a cool area.
For optimum flavour, bake the cake 12 weeks prior and “feed” it with Sherry, Whisky or Brandy every 3 weeks to keep it moist.
Also, being organised with your menu helps to reduce wastage and out-of-date-food in the fridge, which is another positive step for the environment.
Go Out for Christmas Dinner
Another option is to save all the stress of food prep and go out!
Unwind with Some ‘Me’ Time
Don’t forget to carve out some ‘me’ time. If you’re feeling under pressure and are tight on time, ‘me’ time is probably the last thing on your mind, but it really is beneficial.
Even if it’s just a 10-minute rest with a cup of tea, time out can reduce tension and help you to refocus and recharge the batteries.
If you’d like to order a skip, check out our Christmas Super Special and Summer Special offers today.