The Christmas lead up is a challenging period and I’m sure I was not alone in feeling the pressures of Pressie buying… Trying to find time to write Christmas cards… planning where to go on Christmas and Boxing Day, preparing to brave the Crowds in Tescos… the list goes on…
Here’s a round up of the simple rules I lived by this year to pave the way to a Happy Christmas!
Rule 1: Go easy on yourself!
They say the Early Bird catches the Worm, however I do think you can be too premature when it comes to Christmas shopping. By all means start thinking about what to get your nearest and dearest in mid November, but aim to get all your Shopping done about 10 days before the big event so that you have enough time to get all the wrapping done and Cards written ready for the Postie to take care of. But for heavens sake do not put your Tree up any earlier than 1st December…
For the day itself, Adam and I decided early on that we wanted a relaxed one, spending the bulk of our Christmas at our place, it was our first one there after all. In all honesty we truly had our happiest Christmas because we did things our way. It wasn’t to be anti-social, but we figured that You really cannot please everyone! After the last six of the last seven years of Adam and I having Christmas Dinner separately with our respective sides of our family we felt we were well overdue for a little Christmas time to ourselves!
We made sure to pop in to see his Parents in the morning and the same in the evening to my Grandparents which was really nice. We took our time preparing Dinner (or should I say He did!) and spread out Gift exchanges over the course of the Day which all in all resulted in the chilled out day we were looking forward to.
Rule 2: Do you really need all that Food?
According to The Independent, 4.2 million Christmas dinners were wasted across the United Kingdom in 2014. The figure is the equivalent to 263,000 turkeys; 7.5 million mince pies; 740,000 slices of Christmas pudding; 17.2 million Brussels sprouts; 11.9 million carrots and 11.3 million roast potatoes.
Personally we didn’t go over the top on the Shopping front as others like to do, we had a Turkey Joint that we bought the week before which we kept in the Freezer and then defrosted in time for the big day. We made our own Pigs in Blankets and treated ourselves to some of our favourite Chocolates.
I battled my way through the local Tesco on Christmas ‘Eve Eve’ and I had never seen the place so busy. Outside people were zigzagging the Car Park trying to nab a Space and inside each Shopper as on a Military-style mission to locate each item on their list. Seeing how much people were stacking up in their Trolleys was madness. Each to their own but I really don’t see the point in buying more than you are catering for…
Rule 3: Less is More
A good friend Laura and I firmly believe that “Christmas is not about what’s under the Tree but who in fact is around it”. I always feel that there is so much emphasis on quantity when it comes to presents and less on quality. Give me one thoughtful present over several safe bets any day!
Social Media breeds unhealthy competition and jumping on the comparison bandwagon then sets a high expectation offline, particularly with Children. Facebook and Instagram feeds are always bursting at the seams on Christmas Day showing mountains of presents, becoming digital conveyor belts as you scroll through showing the World how the #BoyDidGood, how #Blessed they are with their Michael Kors this, Pandora that and so on and so forth *Yawn*.
In a recent survey for finance website Bobatoo, it was revealed that the average amount spent on Christmas presents in total per person is between £500 and £700, with Children aged between 5 and 16 having the most money spent on them! I am not a mother myself however I can only imagine the burden that this puts on parents each year to give their Children so many presents.
For the time being, my Husband Adam is like having a Child and I myself are always guilty of breaking our ‘One Present’ rule. I must insist that I didn’t go overboard!
In short, like with most things, less is more!
Rule 4: Staying In is the new Going Out
In years gone by it has been a tradition of people from round my way to go out on Christmas Eve, usually to a Pub for a Wine or Five (The Town Hall in Staines springs to mind – *cringe*) resulting in a shocking Hangover to contend with the next day.
This year however Adam and I spent our Christmas Eve celebrating his Friend Nick’s birthday at his place. Jess put on a wonderful spread (Cheers love!) which I kindly helped them consume and I got to have a couple of drinks (including my first ever Snowball as shown below!) and a few Games in the comfort of their lovely home…I even brought my Slippers along! We all had a great time 🙂
After a eventful year in the world of Work, Home Buying and Wedding Planning, the preparation of Christmas to me felt small fry in comparison. However I have learned that taking a more relaxed approach this year truly has provided me with the happiest Christmas I think I have ever had.
I wish you all a very lovely New Year x