I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Christmas. I love the time of year, the opportunity to close the door and spend time with family is one that I look forward to. I like to cook, read, play music, and Christmas always promises the time to do these things, however it doesn’t always deliver on that promise! I find the shopping and pressure to buy the perfect gift stressful. Family commitments can quickly stack up, and by the 24th I have spending fatigue and can feel quite depressed with the whole thing.
Over the years I have gradually tried to simplify Christmas, and despite having had a family bereavement this year, I’m the most relaxed I’ve ever been.
1. Start early and buy gifts you love
Ok, I know people that start their Christmas shopping in January and swear by it. That’s not for me – but I have started picking up bits and pieces during trips and I have found that if I love the gifts I’ve bought, I feel so much better about Christmas.
2. Secret Santa
As families become larger with nieces, nephews, grandchildren and in laws, the present list can get out of hand and just another daunting chore. Running a Secret Santa for the adults means you can spend more time choosing a special gift, and less time just ticking off a list – which I find quite depressing. We started one this year, and to my knowledge, everyone is finding it a relief.
3. Save for Christmas all year round
I hate the financial pressure Christmas puts people under. I think a bit of moderation with the spending is good, and it’s always nice if you’ve saved all year around and have an extra pot to help towards the expense.
4. Don’t cram it all into one day
I’ve stopped trying to cram everything into one day. I’ve learned to pace myself both with the visiting and present giving so that I can enjoy it rather than feeling I’m keeping to a tight schedule to fit everything in.
5. Simplify the food
There are so many options when it comes to Christmas food. I’ve stopped thinking I need to do it all and have pared it back to the things we really enjoy. I love cooking, so I’d rather have less, but make the things that make it feel like Christmas for me.
I think the fulfilment curve applies to Christmas eating too, you want to go slightly past ‘enough’ and into indulgence – any further and I think the pleasure of indulgence is lost
Make a list of the most important things you want to find time for this Christmas, and stick to it. This year Erin wanted to have time to laze about and enjoy her gifts, so that’s been a priority and everything else has been slotted around that.
7. Don’t over commit
There’s a risk of trying to do too much over Christmas – to fit too much in, and really not have time to enjoy any of it. Do less, and enjoy it more is my plan for Christmas 2016!