Christmas can cause stress as families get together. We spend time with those who are supposed to be close to us, but there can be friction caused by alcohol, arguments, finances, unresolved issues, and so on. The family Christmas we look forward to can become our worst nightmare.
On the other hand, Christmas can be a time for setting aside everyday stresses and enjoying time spent relaxing with friends and family.
Although Christmas is now very close, here are some tips for a pleasant and enjoyable family Christmas.
- Plan ahead – where you will spend the day, menu, gifts.
- Be realistic. If you have young children, they will get tired and grumpy so have a simple day for their sake – and yours. Expect them to visit too many relatives and they will be overwhelmed and unhappy. Older people love chatting rather than a tight schedule.
- Have a simple meal which doesn’t require too much preparation. Everyone should enjoy the day and share the workload. A (fairly) healthy meal will maintain your usual healthy eating habits so no worries afterwards about extra kilos!
- Limit alcohol. Not only will you avoid a hangover, you may prevent pointless and unpleasant arguments. (If alcohol has been a trigger at past events, what about making it alcohol-free? It will also help your wallet.)
- Keep your credit card in your wallet. Withdraw an agreed amount of cash from the ATM and make that your budget. You won’t be paying it off next year. (And while on that topic, set up a separate account for 2017 and make automatic deposits fortnightly.)
- Give creative gifts that don’t cost much money, but do take effort and thought. If you’re good with a camera, photos of a child, family or couple make a lovely gift. Give a voucher for baby-sitting, massage, gardening. Make a handmade gift, Christmas yummies or a cake. For someone who has everything, give a gift in their name which benefits needy people overseas – a chook, a goat, sewing machine, a water well, etc. It’s the thought that counts!
- If you don’t already have one, start a family Christmas tradition. Tell each person around the table one thing you appreciate about them. Play a game of cricket. Go for a walk. Play ‘Scrabble’. Nap. Read the Christmas story. Watch a programme on TV.
- Be kind and think the best of each other. Everyone has run themselves ragged getting to this day.
- Have an attitude of gratitude for each person present.
- This Christmas may be the first Christmas without a loved one. Remember them and talk about them. It will help ease your grief.
With thought and planning beforehand, your family Christmas can be a very special time for all.