It can’t have escaped your notice that the silly season is well and truly upon us. I swear that each year the run-up to Christmas gets more and more frenetic.
As women we seem to take on the challenge of ‘making Christmas special’ and trying to ensure it is the ‘best Christmas ever’ by managing endless to-do lists and mentally rushing around like a lunatic.
If you are a working mum then you probably have the longest lists.
There are our work Christmas functions, for which you need to find the right outfit, departmental lunches and nights out with the ‘girls’ – oh and let’s not forget ‘secret Santa’.
The kids have their own end of year events for which you have to prepare, outfits, food, taxi and supervising for school, sports and anything else your little ones are involved in.
Then there are the events related to your partner’s work, barbeques, nights out and ‘let’s invite everyone round to our house … you don’t mind do you, darling?’
Never ending workload
If you work then you know that workload ramps up at the end of the year as you try and finish everything off before the break, and slide into December 24th mentally and physically exhausted.
Not only have you had to keep on top of everything at work but you’ve bought and wrapped all the presents. Made sure the tree went up and the house has been decorated. Mailed all the Christmas cards, or sent the Xmas emails to family and friends.
Organised everything and everyone for Christmas day. Food shopping is done, now you have to prepare it all and make sure everything runs smoothly for ‘the best Christmas day ever’.
In fact, as I write this I am exhausting myself just thinking about it – and I haven’t even touched on the New Year celebrations ….
So how can you minimise the Silly Season Stress?
Here are my top 5 tips for surviving the Christmas Madness.
Some I have used and my clients have shared some with me, they just may help you during this time.
If you have kids and you need them to help out using the old standby ‘I have to tell Santa if you have been good’ the thought of Santa not bringing Xmas pressies can be an amazing motivator. Check out Santas Helper where your kids can check if they can get off Santa’s naughty list and he will even email them directly. Sneaky I know, but hey you need all the help you can get.
Let go of obligation. One of the main reasons we get into a state of overwhelm at Christmas is because we feel we are obligated to help everyone have a great time. But what about you? So if you have too many invites to go out pre-Christmas, choose the ones you really want to go to and say no to the rest. If you want to catch up with those people suggest a catch up in the New Year.
If hubby wants to invite people round to your place, you can say yes as long as he is organising everything (and stick to that). Don’t feel the need to be the hostess – tell everyone where the fridge and the loo are, and that you are kicking back and enjoying a relaxing time. It is very liberating and also guests feel more at ease – believe me.
Try a pre-prepared Xmas lunch. There are lots of them out there – My Food Bag has a Xmas lunch option (which you still have to cook) there is Eat My Lunch too who not only deliver Christmas lunch for your pre-Christmas parties but will donate a lunch to a child who may otherwise go without.
My best ever version of this tip would be this. For 20 years while I was married I never once cooked Christmas lunch, and no I didn’t just blag off others ha ha. My husband and I loved Indian food, so on Christmas Eve each year we would go to our favourite takeaway and order a banquet meal with all of our favourites, and on Christmas day we would heat it up. Job done in less than 20 minutes. I can highly recommend it.
Find space to look after yourself during this manic time. Make sure that you plan some time where you can do what you want to do. Whether it is time at the beach, a coffee at your favourite café, or a long soak in the bath (for our northern hemisphere friends) it is vital that you schedule that into your diary. If you can’t get peace at home, make sure you book some time out of the house and go and have time for you. Even if it is having an extra 30 minutes chill out time somewhere after you have braved the shops – just stop, take a breath and take a guilt-free time out.
Take a creative break to reflect. At some time over the Christmas period spend time with a journal and some pretty coloured pens and just allow your creative brain to play, to dream and to reflect. I find that doodling my thoughts in different colours allows my creative brain to be heard above the din of the constant festive to do list.
Try stream of consciousness writing (writing with no subject or definite purpose, with no need to be neat, or correct or even make sense – just go blahhh with a pen and paper). Find a quiet space (it could even be sitting in your car at the supermarket car park) but find that space. Allow the colours and the shapes and the writing to wash over you – reflect on how far you have come in 2017 and what your heart desires for 2018. Be open to play and imagine ‘what if’ and see what comes through.
If you do some or all of the above, I am sure you will have a stress-less Christmas and maybe it just might be the ‘best Christmas ever’.
If you are looking for a creative diversion over Christmas – I will be hanging around the Living Life In Colour FB page – so check out what I am up to.
And if you would like to explore your dreams, have fun, and make 2018 your best year yet – BOOK NOW for Dream BIG Paint BIG starting Saturday 20th