Most of you by now will be well on the way to arranging your Christmas celebrations. Christmas work parties, cards, budgeting for presents, food and don’t forget the arrangements with who you’re going to spend the Christmas period with and for how long. This ongoing juggling of making the time to do the buying, the writing, wrapping, food preparation and celebrating, the cleaning for your guests as well as putting up the decorations can start to get daunting. At the time, when you begin to start making the arrangements you feel great, everything seems easy and you are in control.
However, one thing a lot of us don’t seem to be able to manage is our obligations. The Christmas period is one of the most stressful times of the year. We tend to get over excited with our spending, thrown together for long periods of time with members of our family that we wouldn’t necessarily choose to spend large amounts of time with, therefore creating a lot of excess distress and uncertainty, let alone forgetting what we are meant to be celebrating Christmas for.
Back in the good old days, when most families lived round the corner from one another, they would get together for a few hours, eat, drink, be merry, have a bit of knees up and then go home again, sleeping in their own beds. Gradually though, a lot of families live miles, countries and even continents apart, making obligations a lot more difficult to manage; spending days or even weeks together.
Let’s face it, even though we would love to and the media tells us we should, we can’t keep everyone happy all of the time, therefore it’s trying to find the right balance so we can create a positive balance. This time of year puts enormous pressure on those hosting the event because you want everything to be perfect, you want the house to be clean, the food to be right and give your guests a happy and entertaining time. For both host and guest the pressure can build up, our routines will have changed, the children might not have access to their friends due to family commitments; your guests will be wanting to be the perfect guest, not to put you to too much trouble. Research shows that stress levels rise considerably and separation and divorce rates rise dramatically in the New Year.
These over excited expectations and the build up to the ‘Big Day’ results in a lot of deflated feelings, irritability, pressure to put on the best entertainment ever, that the hosts and guests alike can feel put upon, a burden and not wanted.
How can you keep your Christmas a good Christmas?
Work out what is the main purpose of this holiday period for you?
This can conjure up a whole host of different values for you:
- Quality time
- Building relationships
- Building bridges
- Adventure (you might decide to go away)
- Quiet time
- Giving back
It is then important to work out what this value really means to you and how this is going to affect the other people that you are intending to spend the time with. Therefore, it’s worth spending some time talking to them about what you all want to accomplish. Working out how you can compromise, rather than allowing the feelings of being the victim, being the martyr which can then lead to resentment and uncomfortable feelings for everyone.
Once these steps have been taken, it is then time to plan how to accommodate everyone and their needs as best as you can. Oh, and don’t forget to include yourself in this as well. You might not be able to address all of the values that are important to everyone but as long as everyone gets some of them honoured then you are well on the way to having a good Christmas.
Some of you might be thinking; “and what if it all goes wrong, it won’t be perfect, my children, my family, my visitors won’t enjoy themselves”. Well, sometimes it doesn’t quite go according to plan but the thing is we manage, we adapt and we get over it. The best thing about Christmas is, we get to do it all again next year and you will be able to laugh about the mistakes from this year. However, there is one must that has to be adhered to. Don’t forget to buy a good range of batteries for the children’s toys. Otherwise, instead of enjoying a relaxing Christmas morning watching your children play with their toys you will be out scouring the local shop for the right sized batteries, before other parents beat you to it. I know we’ve been there and done that – never again!
With all this being said, have a lovely time, make the most of the time you have and ENJOY.
This has been bought to you by;
Your Stress Management Coach and Consultant