Make a list of all the gifts you want to buy BEFORE you go shopping. If you wait for inspiration to strike, you could be wandering aimlessly around the shops for hours! Focus the interests of family and friends to help you when choosing gifts (remember money or vouchers are also great gifts as they allow people to choose what they want).
Cross people off the list as you buy to avoid duplication
Buy a few extras, such as chocolates, just in case you forget somebody or you have unexpected guests arrive bearing gifts.
Some tips to reduce the stress of Christmas cooking include:
If you are cooking lunch at home, delegate tasks! You don't need to do everything yourself.
Keep it simple – for instance, you could always arrange for a 'buffet' lunch, where everybody brings a platter, so spreading the cost as well.
Make a list of food and ingredients you need. Buy as many non-perishable food items as you can in advance – supermarkets on Christmas Eve are generally extremely busy.Write a Christmas Day timetable. For example, 11.30am – put items to cook in the oven, 12pm feet up and 20 minutes relaxation time, etc....
And often the biggest cause of stress at this time of the year...
Stress, anxiety, and depression are common during the festive season. If nothing else, reassure yourself that these feelings are normal. Successful stress reduction strategies include: Don't expect miracles. If you and certain family members bicker all year long, you can be sure there'll be tension at Christmas gatherings. Avoid known triggers. For example, if politics is a touchy subject in your family, move the conversation on quickly. If someone brings up the topic, use distraction and quickly choose something else to talk about.
Use relaxation techniques such as Buteyko breathing therapy, to cope with anxiety or tension.
Family members involved in after-lunch activities (such as games in the back yard) are less likely to get into arguments! Plan for something to do as a group after lunch if necessary. People under stress often tend to 'self-medicate' with alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs. Try to remember that drugs can't solve problems or alleviate stress in the long term. Take yourself away from the situation for some well-deserved 'ME' time. Make your health and wellbeing a top priority this Christmas