We love the dream of a perfect white Christmas, the perfectly decorated tree, the perfect presents,
the perfect Christmas turkey dinner, the laughter and joy of having our family
gather, but typically it’s one of the most stressful times of the year. The
expense of buying gifts, the pressure of last minute shopping and the
heightened expectations of family togetherness can all combine to undermine our
perfect dream. Stress, anxiety and depression are common during the festive season.
Christmas can lead for some into family trauma; a study has shown that January
8th is the busiest day of the year for divorce lawyers when up to one in five
couples will enquire about divorce after the pressures of Christmas. The
enforced ‘togetherness’ of Christmas, coupled with the start of a new year,
with all its expectations and pressures of ‘New Year Resolutions’ are thought
to be the main ingredient in this sour Christmas Pudding!
But by taking a new perspective, looking calmly how the dynamics unfolds we can choose to think and
do a few different things this year so we might have a better chance to truly
enjoy a calm peaceful Christmas.
Here are some practical suggestions to help you reduce your 'Christmas stress':
1. Whatever you do – stay calm; don’t let the pressure rise to high. Rather than strive for perfection,
make things as good as you can get it. Keep on telling yourself – ‘I am ok,
everything is ok, will be ok’, take a deep breath and breath.
2. Keep asking yourself ‘What can I be grateful for?’ rather than what is wrong or not perfect.
3. Relaxation and meditation just few minutes a day with your special music in the background
helping you stay focused and calm.
4. Plan where and how you will be spending Christmas well in advance. Write down your ideas, plans and
your lists, this will help take the stress from your mind of trying to remember
everything. Best use a fresh exercise book.
5. Buy presents in advance. Many shops, webshops have already released lovely Christmas gifts for everyone
on all budgets.
6. You can try evening out payments over the weeks leading up to the big day. It’s so much better to
pre-pay than to be lumbered with debt in January.
7. If you find it difficult to plan what presents to buy for your friends and relatives, think what are the
problems your family may have – stress, sleeping difficulties, ADHD, depression
or any health related problem. Then write a list and keep that with you,
looking around for what best may help them, whilst still finding the bargains.
8. Avoid known triggers. For example, if politics is a touchy subject in your family, don't talk about it. If someone
brings up the topic, use distraction and quickly move onto another subject, or
write down in your exercise book phrases to break up the conversation, such as
‘Oh dear I forgot to take the potatoes out of the oven do you think you can
fetch them for me?’
9. Family members involved in after-lunch activities are less likely to get into arguments. Plan for
something to do as a group after lunch, a leisurely stroll, bike ride, a
treasure hunt or a sing-along or your favorite family board games.
Anyway what ever you choose to do differently this Christmas on behalf of my wonderful Alphamusic Team and
myself wish you a wonderfully happy and peaceful, stress free Christmas.
Christmas presents ideas for calm and happy Christmas from Alphamusic: