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5 Tips for Surviving the Christmas Holidays

The holidays are both fun and stressful. For all the ‘Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ jingles, it’s also the toughest for many people.  Especially after the year 2020 turned out to be with lockdown many people have extra worries to deal with this year.

Some people over-commit to family, friends, volunteer tasks and find themselves over scheduled and unable to actually enjoy the season. Some of us dread the inevitable, obligatory socialising and the pressure of being ‘on’.  Others are grieving or lonely.

So here are a few Holiday Survival Tips. 

Reframe obligations

Some people complain about how much they have to do to prepare and if I ask if they can cut down on some of those jobs.  The typical reply is, “Oh, but I really like having 37 different types of home baked cakes”  If that’s the case then stop looking at these things as chores.

This isn’t a martyr contest. Nobody cares if you offer 4 sides with your Christmas dinner or 40. Do things because you want to, because it brings you joy. And stop doing the stuff you don’t want to do.

Stick with the people who warm your soul

Some of us are not close with our families. For many, many people, family relationships are rarely nourishing and often painful. We’ve built friendships that stand in for the sibling and parental relationships that will simply never be fulfilling.

So why feel obligated to spend a holiday with anyone other than those who bring us joy and unconditional love? Create a holiday plan with the people you most enjoy and cherish. or at the very least, an escape plan to unwind with the people who will let you vent after a stressful family interaction.

Step back from the gift-giving (and receiving) or just change it dramatically

Some people feel obligated to buy big gifts that they struggle to afford and end up in debt after Christmas.  Don’t feel you need to buy the latest designer item if you can’t afford it.  Your friends and family don’t need to get expensive gifts to know you care about them.

Think about the environment as well.  Buying lots of gifts with plastic packaging that is going to end up in landfill doesn’t help the environment.  Try to keep waste to a minimum.

Rethink your assumptions

Just because you’ve always done the holidays a certain way, doesn’t mean you have to keep doing that. It’s all a choice. 

Sometimes you don’t even need to change the pattern, just recognizing that it’s a choice is enough.

Carry out a random act of kindness

Most people have had a really rubbish year.  Can you do something simple to make someone’s day?

Some ideas

  • When using a vending machine pop £1 in so the next person gets their drink paid for
  • Send someone a text to let them know you are thinking of them
  • Secretly drop a surprise (flowers, home made scones) on someone you know’s doorstep

Wishing you a happy, merry, joyous Christmas. I hope you get exactly the holiday you want..

If you are struggling at all and need someone to speak to about anything at all the Samaritans offer a 24 hour confidential helpline and can be reached on 116 123.