Over the years that I’ve been blogging, I touch on the craze that surrounds Christmas, the Christmas preparations, the stress and financial burden that lots get caught up in.
We see media and social media perpetuate this need for a perfect Christmas, which makes us even more stressed about this holiday. For our first Christmas as parents, Angelina’s first Christmas, I went full out and organised a big Christmas do. (Read about Baby’s first Christmas) Thankfully we thought it all through, as there were a couple of logistical and language barriers and managed to have a wonderful Christmas, and I learnt a lot.
There are some simple hacks to having a stress-free, easy Christmas the most important bit is not to get sucked up by the (commercial) hype, but to enjoy the run up to the holidays and the Christmas for what it’s meant to be- a bit of rest and reconnecting at the darkest end of the year.
Christmas seems to enter the shops earlier and earlier each year. Retailers pile on the pressure and then all starts to snowball.
Resist the urge to start Christmas too early
Do you feel the need to yield to the mounting pressure from retailers and media to have your Christmas tree up in November already? Seriously resist the urge as you will clutter up your life. Why deprive yourself of the anticipation and the joy of enjoying a beautiful Christmas tree, decorated with love, when life is calmer and you can appreciate the magic more?
Use Advent as your Perfectly Imperfect Christmas Preparation
We have a couple of focal points in our calendar in the run-up to Christmas. Advent is one of them and I shamelessly exploit it for my own purposes of gradually decorating our home and staying organised. One of my tools is my kids’ Advent calendar:
As a British/Dutch/Hungarian family living in Sweden our pre-Christmas calendar is quite full with St Nicolas added in. There are is also the added complication of the Christmas narrative being different in these countries:
Don’t get into Financial Difficulties because of Christmas
It’s so easy to get carried away with getting bigger and better presents year after year. If we’re honest, most of the things we want and need, we already buy as and when. The thought really does count for so much more.
Hitting up charity shops may in the months running up to Christmas can be extremely rewarding. The shops are not only a treasure trove of possible bargains, but they can provide some inspiration.
Be clever with Gift and Remember what Christmas is really about
As we mentioned think outside the box in terms of presents. Christmas is so much about the human connection, the light, the hope. A charity shop-bought second-hand item ticks quite a few boxes for this. However, if you think outside the box a little bit and give the person an experience this may help strengthen bonds, as you can find things to do together.
We have an inspirational list of ideas for experiences:
Don’t sweat the Christmas Dinner
So many people get hung up by creating complicated meals for a large gathering. It is wonderfully decadent to enjoy such a meal, however, know that you can push back.
If you have some good appliances that you know well, you can actually cut down on the how long the Christmas Dinner preps take. There are some awesome slow cooker and combination microwave hacks for making the preparation of a big feast so much easier.
I’ve don’t it myself:
Aim for the Imperfect Christmas
Reconnect with the true meaning of Christmas and aim for a Christmas that focuses on the people that matter instead of things.
Focus on the Christmas Spirit instead of the Material Things
When Christmas is finally here, really enjoy the days, focus on the togetherness. We tend to have a playbook for the day of Christmas Eve, because that’s the big thing for us, based on our traditions and where we live currently. It makes it easier for all to stay on track and know what’s happening, but we also don’t make a big deal of things if and when they do slip.
Chill without pretences on Christmas Day and Boxing Day
Only invite family and friends in front of who you can be just you, no pretences, no posh, uncomfortable clothes, no super tidying needed. You know, those people who love you for who you are!
Here’s one particular Christmas Day, when our friends were 90 minutes late and it was not an issue at all.