Preparation for Christmas can be a wonderful opportunity for us to think of our loved ones, buying presents, cook delicious foods and spend quality time with family and friends. But why have we turned it into a time of frantic, worry and stress?
Until a couple of years ago, I too, got caught up in the frenzy of feeling like there’s just so much to do, so much to buy and too much time spent decorating the house and Christmas tree. Worse than that, the thought of packing everything and storing it in the loft for next year’s Christmas made me not even wanted to start.
Why has it turned into a chore rather than beautiful moments spend with family and friends? As a child I used to love the days leading up to Christmas, there is an excitement in the air as I watched the adults getting ready, buying presents, foods and decorations for their Christmas tree.
We didn’t have much but what I got was time spent with my Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts as I didn’t get to see them on a regular basis due to them living far from us, oh, how I used to treasure those moments.
Nowadays, Christmas is a stressful time for most of us, we feel like we have to send all these Christmas cards, buy presents that people might not appreciate, decorate the house because we fear what people would think of us if we didn’t put on a show!
Everything has been blown out of proportion, Christmas merchandise is already in the shops from September.
Conversations with our friends revolve around “I don’t know what to buy for …. this year”, “Are you all set for Christmas?”, “No, I haven’t even started“, It’s only one month…..three weeks, two weeks …..to Christmas and I haven’t done a thing” on and on I we rant ……
A couple of years ago, I decided to simplify and approach the whole event differently. It didn’t make sense to me to let ourselves be so stressed. I decided to do it differently and now I do really look forward to a Christmas.
And here are my 6 tips that I want to share with you so that you too, will have a wonderful, stressed-free Christmas.
1. Simplify, simplify and simplify
Yes, you read it right, at the core of this frenzy is:
I won’t be loved if I don’t buy people big, expensive presents.
I won’t be loved if I don’t work hard to decorate my home.
I won’t be loved if I don’t spend endless hours shopping and cooking.
This year, simplify by learning to love yourself by doing things your way rather than following some standards of what has to be done.
Only send Christmas cards to long distance friends and relatives who you won’t see at Christmas. Tell all your friends you see regularly that you won’t be giving Christmas cards and the money saved can go to a good cause.
Make a list of all the people you think you have to buy presents for. Go through the list again and ask your yourself, am I buying this person a present out of obligation or is it because I just want to give this person some joy?
If the answer is the former, then you can cross it off and keep crossing it off until you have a list that you feel happy with and you know for sure that these are the people you want to buy for.
Next to your list, you can write down whether you’re going to buy small, medium or big present, depends on your relationship with this person. This will make your shopping a lot easier.
2. Get organised
Once you have your list, take some time off, make yourself a cuppa and sit down to plan out what you need to do and when you are going to do them.
3. Make use of online shopping
I never used to like online shopping because I like to touch and feel the objects I’m buying. But recently I’ve found online shopping gives me more choices and saves me a lot of time.
Nowadays I go shopping to marvel the displays in the store and really enjoy myself rather than having the pressure of thinking what to buy, because I’ve bought most of them online already.
4. Group tasks together and do one thing at a time
Write out all your Christmas cards in one morning and afternoon, as you write think of the person you’re writing to and share something about what’s been going on with you and your life, not just a simple greeting message.
With the internet and emails, we don’t write with pen and paper anymore. If you enjoy writing, use this time to bring back the art of writing and use lovely stationery.
If you like going shopping, then put aside one day to go to a big shopping centre where you can buy most items all in one go. Then treat yourself with a delicious cup of coffee or a light lunch afterwards.
Wrap all your presents in one go and really enjoy the process of making something look beautiful.
Plan what you are going to cook and write out a shopping list, order them online or go shopping if you enjoy it but go on the weekday if possible to avoid the weekend rush.
5. Extend your welcome to someone who is lonely this Christmas
Christmas can be a very lonely time for someone without family or loved ones. Extend your kindness and compassion to someone in need.
6. Let go of past resentments, forgive and be happy
Some people dread Christmas because of past resentments and hurts between family members. This Christmas decide to let go, forgive what someone said or did that upset you, make peace in your mind and just be happy.
I know this is easier said than done but if you set your intention to have a peaceful and joyful Christmas then you’ll find it easier to implement.
These are my thoughts on how to have a wonderful time this Christmas, if they resonate with you, give them a try and let me know if they help you.
When the day arrives and your presents are already lovingly wrapped, the food is ready to be cooked to be enjoyed and celebrate the real meaning of Christmas.
Practice generosity and compassion starting with this Christmas and see how that will change all your Christmases from now on.
Be blessed, this Christmas and all the days to come.
With much love
Loanne is a Health Coach/ Therapist and a Mindfulness Teacher.
Her mission is to help people to have Less stress, More joy and Better Health.
She specialises on Stress, Depression, Addictions, Weight Issues and Body Image.
To contact Loanne or book a session at the Kingston Natural Health Centre, please call 020 8549 8000