What to do when you’re suffering from Christmas stress….

You WILL enjoy yourself this time of year, and make sure everyone else does, even if you have to half kill yourself to do it…..

DON’T…. GIVE…. IN…!

Yeah, that makes sense. Off you go.

Regardless of your religion – or whether you even have one – Christmas time brings about a change to our daily lives – and it starts about November 1st. Joy be to all – yes and we have to put up with it for longer and longer every year.

Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE CHRISTMAS! I really do. I love the excitement and anticipation of it all – both as a kid and a big kid with little ones of my own now. I love the socialness of Christmas – the thought of getting together with people you might not have seen all year due to the pace of every day life. And I love the carols, the fayres, the decorations and the giving of presents. I love it all.

But I DON’T love it – for 7 weeks before the day itself. I DON’T love the pressure to buy all the latest gadgets and toys. I DON’T love the commerciality of it all, I DON’T love chocolate advent calendars (what happened to the excitement of the different pictures each day and the countdown being enough?) and I certainly DON’T love the putting up of decorations before 13th December. So yes I guess you could say I’m a Christmas purist. And that means I am determined to enjoy myself this time of year despite it being rammed down throat for sooooooo long – and I will do it without the stress.

OK so I know I’m not the only one who wants to enjoy Christmas. Of course I’m not. And I’m not the only one who gets stressed with thought of all there is to do to get ready to relax and enjoy myself for a few days. It’s crazy isn’t it?

Is it really worth it?

Well some would say yes! We want it all to be perfect so that when we do relax, it is… well.. perfect. It’s completely understandable…. But is it really worth it? Is it worth the weeks of stress, present hunting, family organising, house cleaning, card writing and sending and everything else we put on our backs for the perfect Christmas? Well I think you know my answer….  NO.

STOP. Just have a think about why you are doing all of this. Oh hang on I’ll save you the time – is it because you think that this is what you ‘should’ be doing? Yep, thought so!

Do you enjoy the stress of Christmas? Of course you don’t – so why do you put yourself through it? Really, what would happen if you didn’t send Christmas cards this year? What would happen if you didn’t get a holly wreath for the front door this year? What would happen if you didn’t get the brandy cream, mistletoe, bows for presents etc etc etc? Really, what would happen? Would it really affect how much you enjoy being with your family? Would it really affect the fun you would have opening presents? Do you think people would be devastated if they didn’t get a card from you this year? Of course not!

What’s it all about?

Christmas is not about appearances. Christmas is not about keeping up with the Jones’s. Christmas is certainly not about meeting everybody’s expectations of what a Christmas ‘should’ be like.

Christmas – aside from the religious foundations and observances – is (for me anyway) about family, friends, sharing, giving, enjoying, compassion and most importantly it’s about love. Not just the romantic kind nor just for people you know – but all kinds of love for everything and everyone. Love for strangers, love for your environment, love of understanding and empathy, love of fun and enjoyment, love for your family (even the ones that rub you up the wrong way!) and just plain and simple love of life and the magic of Christmas!

You can stop the Christmas stress – just by saying STOP. Focus on what’s really important this time of year. Not the parties you need to go to or the ones you have to throw. Not the cleaning and organising you need to do or the presents and food you need to buy. Christmas really isn’t about the turkey. It’s not about the presents. It’s not about the tree. It’s about magic, love and peace.

Embrace the true meaning of Christmas and ditch the stress – go one you know you want to! (After all, really, what’s the worst that can happen? Err – you could have a stress-free, truly enjoyable, down to earth Christmas that everyone really enjoys. Hmmm sounds nice doesn’t it?)