50 Ways To Cope With Christmas

Christmas! It is nearly here! It’s the season of goodwill, generosity and charity, traditionally spent with friends and family. Unfortunately, it is also the season for feuds, squabbles and full blown rows, debt, worry and intense pressure.

Emotions can run high at this time of year and as the potential for anxiety and conflict grows, it often threatens to flare up and ruin those few precious days off. 

So, how you can you survive the season… and more importantly enjoy it!! Here are my tips for a fabulous, memorable and relaxing Christmas…

1. Make sure that you have conversations with all your family and friends who are going to be with you on the Day regarding everyone’s expectations. Ask if there are any vegetarian, vegan or gluten free requirements. 

2. Have a think about what your own priorities are for the big day, and concentrate on fun and having a good time instead of unobtainable perfection. 

3. Be gentle, kind and patient with yourself. Now is the time for self care, not self recrimination! 

4. Delegate and share the work. You can’t look like a Christmas fairy goddess, prepare the food, cook and serve all by yourself. Give everyone who is coming a job to do. 

5. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just because your Christmas doesn’t look as if it is straight out of a M&S advert, it DOESNT mean that it was a failure.

6. Have an escape plan. Even it if just walking the dog. If you haven’t got a dog, borrow a neighbours! Having a breath of fresh air for fifteen minutes will do you the power of good. 

7. Drink sensibly – and by that I mean have a big glass of water after every couple of glasses of alcohol. You will thank me the next day!! Also, why not swap the odd alcoholic drink during Christmas afternoon for a steaming hot chocolate, complete with cream and marshmallows. Remember that alcohol is a depressant and can cause low mood, irritability or even aggressive behaviour.

8. With the shadow of rising costs and inflated bills you don’t have to spend lots of money to have a lovely time. Think simple this year.

9. Plan the timings of the Christmas family Zoom calls beforehand. Don’t be afraid to show absent members of the family how much they are missed.

10. You don’t have to be Jamie Oliver or Nigella. A frozen Turkey will do fine. You don’t have to make mince pies and homemade stuffing. That’s what M&S is for, give yourself a break!! 

11. Resolve take yourself for a weekend away in January or February. It’s lovely to have that to look forward to when the aftermath of Christmas can leaving you feeling a bit down.

12. Don’t be afraid to say no, whether it’s to invitations, to unreasonable requests or simply to things you don’t want to do, you can’t please everyone, so decide this year that you don’t have to try. 

13. Resist the 2 for 1 sweet treat deals. You know who will end up eating it all….. 

14. If all else fails, (and you can afford it) do lunch at a restaurant!

15. Cheat! I despair every year when I hear people talking about “cheating” in terms of buying already prepared or pre baked Christmas goods. It’s not cheating, it’s good planning!

16. Delegate, delegate, delegate …the buying of presents, the preparation of food, do not try to do it all yourself. No one is going to give you a gold medal, and you will just end up feeling resentful. 

17. It’s your Christmas Day too. Remember to have time to spend doing what you love for yourself. 

18. I always start Christmas morning pulling on a brand new pair of luxurious slippers. It might be a new dressing gown or new makeup. Whatever it is, a treat will give you a boost as the day starts. 

19. Make lists of what you are buying for both gifts and food and STICK to them. 

20. Save money where you can. Gathering some holly and berries from the forest will make beautiful decorations around the house. Brown paper and ribbon looks as nice as expensive wrapping paper. 

21. Keep a running total of what you have bought for everyone… and remember more is not necessarily better. Think quality and not quantity. 

22. Don’t indulge in last minute panic buying. Stick to the list! 

23 Give yourself the feel good factor by buying from local small businesses where possible. 

24. Do not forget to check the cupboards for what is left over from last year. Jars of cranberry and Christmas puddings in the back of the cupboard may still be well within use by dates. 

25. Don’t worry too much about your outfit for the big day. Just wear black with some sparkly accessories and you can’t go wrong.

26. Try not to keep worrying about what you have forgotten to buy. These days corner store shops are even open on Christmas Day for those who forgot the cranberry. And shops open again on Boxing Day. 

27. Eat healthily. No, just kidding….

28. ….Do be active though. Get outside and walk as much as you can over the Christmas period. 

29. Give to charities and the homeless if you can afford it. If you can’t give your time instead. Plenty of homeless shelters need volunteers over Christmas.

30. Try and relax. Yes, I know it’s not easy, but make time for relaxing activities like yoga, Pilates or meditation. If none of that is your jam, have a walk in the forest or in the beach. 

31. Get lots of sleep. A good nights sleep is definitely the key to keeping things in perspective in a pressure situation. 

32. No family Christmas is complete without the odd argument. If arguments do start take a moment to consider exactly what the participants are arguing about. One party may be talking about feelings, whilst the other might be discussing actionsThese are two different languages. Some people are very practical and will use an argument to try and ‘fix’ things, set out an action plan and resolve differences that way. Others want to discuss how a situation made them feel, they may not necessarily need or want an action plan going forward. It is very doubtful that either one in this situation will understand or “hear” the other. 


33. If arguments are taking over, ask the participants to have a time out. Concentrate on what is important in this moment only. Be aware that it is possible there are some underlying issues. For example, an argument about spending money could have wider implications regarding controlling behaviour, or an argument about unpacking the dishwasher could be about fair division of labour in a household generally.

34. In any argument consider the other person’s perspective, and if this is too hard given that emotions are running high, at least try to take a minute to consider what is motivating the other person to need/want to argue. 

35. Pick your Christmas battles. Not everything requires a full blown argument. Sometimes it really is more beneficial to compromise in certain cases, in order to have more impact in situations where you feel you really do need assert your feelings and position. 


36. Set boundaries for family members that do cause problems. Most families have drama that pops up around the holidays. However, you don’t have to let that ruin your Christmas. Create a set of expectations for family members you don’t get along with. Then, tell everyone these boundaries and the consequences for crossing them.

37. Spending time with family often means answering questions that you wish they wouldn’t ask. Consider the types of questions you normally get, then practice responding to them. As an example, you might get asked if you’re dating anyone. You might say, “Right now I’m focusing on my career and having fun with my friends.” Similarly, you might get asked when you are having another baby. You might plan to respond, “Our family feels complete.”

38. After lunch suggest a film or a walk. Either are a distraction and you can sit back and relax. Pressure is off!

39. Christmas can be a difficult time if you’ve recently experienced a bereavement. Do something special to remember your loved one during this time. This could be a tradition that you shared with them or a way of honoring their memory. It may help you handle your grief during this sensitive time.

40. Reconsider some of your Christmas traditions especially if they are stressful or you do not enjoy them. For example the sending of Christmas cards. Is it really necessary to send cards to people you see every week? Maybe make a donation to charity instead. Better for the environment! 

41. Try and ignore last minute bargains. They are a waste of money if you didn’t need the item. Don’t let a big discount trick you into buying something you otherwise wouldn’t purchase. 

42. Do not think twice about asking for help and support. No one will think any the less of you and others will enjoy being involved. 

43. Take a hot bath on Christmas eve. Decide you have done all you can do and focus on enjoying the day ahead. 

44. Don’t discuss inflammatory subjects during the holiday period. For example, politics is probably a no no on Christmas Day given the alcohol and the heightened emotions. 

45. Don’t catastrophize. A dry Turkey or a batch of burnt mince pies is not the end of the world. 

46. Be satisfied with “good enough”. Other peoples social media posts showcasing their perfect christmases are a) (probably) fictional and b) nothing to do with you. 

47. Treat yourself. Make sure there is something very VERY nice under the tree to reward you for all your hard work. Even if you to buy itself and say it’s from the cats! 

48. Remember it’s only one day. 

49. Try some aromatherapy- believe me it works. A few well chosen essential oils can really help your mood. 

50. Christmas can be a depressing time for some people. If you’re feeling extremely sad or are thinking about harming yourself, get help immediately. Talk to someone you trust or reach out to a suicide hotline, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 0800 689 5652.

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