Remember advent calendars as a kid? You’d open them and go, ‘It’s still only the 9th December? Christmas Day is AGES away!’ As an adult, you open your calendar (because anyone who doesn’t treat themselves to chocolate for breakfast doesn’t love themselves) and go ‘OH MY GOD! It’s the 9th already?! Christmas will be here before we know it!’
A time that should be restful and joyous is often filled with straight up panic. We’re all guilty of it. Last year, I had a full on, weeping breakdown because thanks to payment schedules, I could only afford to buy presents a couple of weeks before Christmas. No one needs that stress in their lives. Here’s a few ways that you can make Christmas less of a nightmare and actually enjoy it for once!
Nothing has to be perfect
Don’t listen to the adverts, they’re full of bullshit. You don’t have to kill yourself to get the best turkey, or that sought after toy that everyone wants.
(Remember a couple of years ago, when you couldn’t get a Frozen Elsa doll for love nor money? I saw multiple parents going apeshit at Disney for ‘ruining Christmas’ because they’d already promised their kids the dolls. I wish I were kidding).
None of that noise is worth it. For starters, it isn’t possible. No one has the perfect family, or work schedule, or bank balance. Give it up. In the words of the elusive Elsa, let it go. You probably don’t want half of the stuff the ads have been shoving down your throat anyway.
Don’t go bankrupt
Showing someone you love them doesn’t mean you have to spend the national income of a small island nation on them. You spend too much, you get stressed out, and everything is awful. I’m going to share a top tip with you. A few years ago, my boyfriend and I agreed to stick to a budget of £60 on presents for each other. Your budget can be higher or lower, but it can really help with that nagging fear of not having bought enough for them.
Take time out
Running yourself ragged isn’t going to benefit anyone, especially you. Carve out ten minutes every day, just do something non Christmas related. Drink a coffee. Go for a quick walk. Read a few pages of a book. Do whatever makes you happy. It’s the best way to avoid a festive burnout.
Don’t feel obliged
There’s always something that’s trying to take up time or your energy at Christmas. It could be the work Christmas do that you’re really not feeling, or a relative that you really wish you didn’t have to see. Whatever it is, you’re not obliged to do it. If it makes you feel bad or you just plain won’t enjoy it, don’t worry about it. Instead, use that time to do something that you’d much rather do instead. You’ll be glad you chose to spend that time away from activities and people that make you feel worse.
These are just a few tips, but overall remember that Christmas is a time for everybody. Don’t burn yourself out trying to please everyone. Get into the spirit of the season, and do as much or as little as you want. I, for example, am going to lie very still on the sofa and play old video games until my eyes bleed. That’s festive, right?
Siobhan Harper is a freelance writer living in Birmingham UK. She strongly believes in figuring things out as you go along, but only because she's pathalogically disorganised. You can follow her adventures in writing at http://wingingitsiobhanharper.blogspot.co.uk/, or her thoughts on early mornings and dogs on Twitter at @Beatrix_Plotter.