Avoiding Christmas Overwhelm

I’m so sorry for mentioning the C word in October. I won’t be putting our tree up for a very long time, but knowing how stressful so many people find Christmas and getting prepared for it, I wanted to raise the issue well before the busy-ness of the season begins.

A problem with Christmas is the level of expectation. There are traditions to be kept, loved ones to make feel appreciated, memories to be made. We want to have a magical time and yet so often some people get to Christmas exhausted, stressed and wanting a holiday to get over all the work of making the day so special.

I have a few hacks to share to take some of the overwhelm out of Christmas.

Firstly, don’t wait until just before guests arrive to organise your home. If your space is already decluttered and you know where everything is, everything, including Christmas preparations will be easier and less stressful. A tidy home is not just for Christmas, as the saying should go.

Secondly, don’t be afraid to delegate. Don’t let pride or feeling you should be able to do everything stop you from asking guests to contribute food for the day, or giving other members of your household jobs to do to make the celebration a fun one.

Thirdly, food! This can be a big potential stress point.
Before setting yourself the goal of creating from scratch every festive food that was ever eaten, find out what those you’ll be spending Christmas with love.
What are their favourite festive foods, what are yours?
Maybe each person can choose one thing, and even better, maybe each person can be responsible for making that dish in advance.
If there are traditionally festive foods that no one’s that excited about, you could skip them.
Eat what bring you and your loved ones joy. You don’t need to prepare and consume out of obligation or tradition.

Fourth, presents.
Do you have to buy for a million relatives? Or does it feel like you have millions of relatives once you get to shopping?
Instead of buying something for everyone in your extended family, alternatives include
– planning to spend the money you would have spent on a day out together. A shared experience will last in everyone’s memories longer than any gifts you might have bought
– secret santa. Each member of the family or friendship group is given someone at random to buy for. That way everyone gets one person to buy for and one present to open. There are helpful secret santa websites which make the process of assigning giftees to gift buyers easy

Finally, whatever you have planned, give yourself enough time.
If you love Christmas crafting, making hand made gifts and cooking elaborate winter feasts, Awesome, I love these them too. Just give yourself a realistic amount of time to complete your plans.
If you know you have a tendency to be over ambitious in your planning, make a list in order of priority, with the ‘if time allows’ things on the bottom. That way you won’t be disappointed if you just get the most pressing plans done.

Nothing takes the shine of Christmas like people being too stressed, too tired or too overwhelmed to enjoy it.

If in doubt, simplify.

If you know that Christmas overwhelm is something you struggle with, or if the time between now and then already feels stretched. Do get in touch.

I am available for both in person home organisation and decluttering and for virtual life organisation and planning sessions.
Together we can come up with an achievable Christmas plan or make space for your celebration so that you get to enjoy your holiday and not collapse in a heap while others celebrate around you.


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