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December 16, 2010

Christmas Survival Top 10 Tips!

I’m sure you can’t have missed that Christmas is more than on the horizon.  Pretty imminent I’d say!   As I write I can hear Bing Crosby crooning “White Christmas” on the radio.  Don’t get me wrong – I love Christmas; my children are at that magical age of enjoying all it brings – the school and village nativities, the Xmas parties, Xmas craft days, writing to Santa, the twinkly Christmas tree lights, well loved home made decorations, pulling crackers and reading the silly jokes and so on – but Christmas can also be a tough time. There can be the stress of  “it’s got to be perfect”, or “how can I afford to buy the kids what they want?” or “there will be someone missing from our table this year”….. It can be a highly nostalgic, poignant and reflective time of  the year. 

Whilst being mindful of the serious stresses of the festive period, with this blog  I’m just aiming to throw out into cyberspace a mini Christmas Survival Guide, with a sprinkling of humour and light heartedness to help you keep “your Christmas head”. 

Here we go then and please feel free to add to them, it’s not an exhaustive list and in no particular order or rank!

1.  Spend a bit of time thinking about what Christmas means to you.  What do you want from Christmas?  What are your priorities?  It may or may not be about religion for you.  Special family time, relaxing in front of the box, eating and drinking, partying…….Write down what you want and/or need (I’m not necessarily talking about that diamond ring or Aston Martin on your wish list although both would be nice!)  and then brainstorm your options of how to get them whilst bearing in mind the needs and wishes of others, which leads me on to……

2.  Compromise – think about what you are and are not willing to compromise on.  Remember that Golden Rule “give and take”.

3.  Communicate clearly, calmly, and in a timely manner with your nearest and dearest.  Telling your wife on Christmas Eve that you don’t really want to go to her family, yet again, for Christmas Dinner really isn’t a good idea……

4.  Preparation and delegation.  I have many friends who are ace at preparation, presents all wrapped by the middle of November if not before, but what about delegating?  Sit down with the relevent people (husbands included!) and list who can do or provide what.  If you’re a bit of a control freak, especially delegate – it’ll move you out of your Comfort Zone and will be good for you!

5.  Keep a sense of perspective.  It’s just one day after all, although the media would like us to think otherwise.  Be thankful for what you do have as opposed to don’t.  Take whatever steps necessary to reduce the hype!

6.  Remember your own health and sanity.  Building in a little “me” time each day is essential, not a luxury – and you’ll be a much nicer person for it!

7.  Get out into the great outdoors, health permitting.  We’re spoilt for choice with all our glorious scenery here in the Yorkshire Dales in England, and I’m sure you have plenty of great scenery around you too so make the most of it, whether on your own or with the family or friends.  Great for regenerating the mind, body and soul.

8.  Plan something nice for the New Year for you to look forward to after the fairy lights have come down.  It doesn’t have to be something big and expensive – just something that is special to you.

9.  End the Old Year the way you want to start the New Year – so keep an eye on all those excesses – food, booze and finances.  Great at the time but will you be thanking yourself come January?

10.  And if all else fails, remember your Sense of Humour!  If the turkey’s still frozen, if the kids hate their presents, if you haven’t got that diamond ring you wanted, just put it down to experience and move on.  At a future date you WILL be able to see the funny side…….

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“What is Christmas?  It is the tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future.  It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal and that every path may lead to peace”.  Agnes M. Pharo

“There is no ideal Christmas; only the Christmas you decide to make as a reflection of your values, desires, affections and traditions”.  Bill McKibben

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Many thanks to you all for reading my blogs this autumn and for your many encouraging and uplifting comments.  I look forward to joining you again early in the New Year.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Christmas and health, happiness, peace and prosperity for the New Year and 2011.

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