Handling holiday hijinks

Tips for staying stress-free this Christmas

As another year comes to an end it should be a time of relaxation, reflection and absorbing the season’s festivities but sometimes the stress can become overwhelming in the scramble to get everything done.

Presents, relatives, cooking and decorating are just some of the things that can weigh you down so it’s important to be prepared to ensure a healthy and happy holiday.

As defined by the Oxford Dictionary, stress is “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances” and, as well as the presents, Christmas can sometimes deliver the strain.

Presents: Looking outside at the trees it quickly becomes evident that money isn’t growing on them and you’ll have to buy them with your own – this quickly puts unwelcome stress on the average wallet.

It’s always a good idea to buy a few gifts throughout the year so it doesn’t hit the bank account in one go but it’s obviously too late for that so try these things as a group instead:

• Buy presents only for the children
• Set a limit on the cost of the presents for each person
• Have a Secret Santa.

Relatives: It’s a given that not everyone will always get along at a big family gathering so try some of these techniques to deal with any family bickering if it happens:

• Know and avoid the triggers that can set certain people off, such as politics for example
• Dodge too much alcohol as this can loosen tongues and end in either an argument or fight
• Have activities like backyard cricket planned to keep everyone busy and enjoying the day.

Cooking: For many, the king fit feast is a highlight of the day but it can be quiet daunting for the person(s) preparing it. Instead of serving up a plate full of stress, try these:

• Get everyone to bring a bowl of something to eat like potato salad or coleslaw
• Delegate tasks between everyone equally so you don’t have to do it all yourself
• Prepare an ingredients’ list in advance and do the shopping early to avoid missing out on certain high demand foods like turkeys
• Make a strategy beforehand so your plate doesn’t get overloaded. For example “11:00 – put chicken in the oven”.

Decorating: You don’t have to light up the house so it can be seen in space or “deck the halls with boughs of holly” – sometimes less is more. Take it easy and try these:

• Re-use old decorations to save money
• Keep it simple – don’t try to load the house with lights; just a few will do the trick
• It’s not necessary to ‘keep up with the Joneses’, if you don’t want to decorate, don’t.

These are just some of the things you can do to ensure the festive season is celebrated the way it’s intended – happily. If the stress becomes too much, have a yarn with someone you can trust and if you need help just ask.

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