Christmas is coming and don’t we know it. If we’re not shopping and cleaning, we’re wrapping presents and taxiing children around to various Christmas events. There’s Christmas lunch to prepare, presents to be bought and the in laws to deal with, is it any wonder 42% of women say Christmas is the most stressful job for this time of year*.
If you can feel your stress levels building, we have a list of the three top Christmas stresses and how to deal with them- and none of our tips include cancelling Christmas!
If you’re more Cordon Bleh than Cordon Bleu, preparing Christmas dinner can be the stuff of nightmares. Not only has your kitchen been turned into a war zone, your fridge and freezer have been invaded by condiments you’d never normally eat and ingredients you’re not quite sure what to do with. The family are expecting a Delia Smith inspired creation, the stuff of legend, and you’re not sure you can live up to their expectations. Here are our handy hints:
We’re still only in November, so there’s plenty of time to plan your meal.
- Make sure you know how many people are coming and what their dietary requirements are.
- Decide what you’re cooking and what ingredients you’ll need.
Search for recipes in magazines, online or in cookery books. If someone you know cooks a certain dish you love, ask them for the recipe. Some sites you may find useful are the BBC, Channel 4, Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson.
Prepare In Advance
Are there any dishes you could prepare in advance? Foods such as stuffing can freeze easily to be brought out on the day. Just remember to defrost it!
Are there any ingredients you could buy in advance to avoid the rugby scrum that will be the supermarket on Christmas Eve? If so, go for it- just remember where you put them!
Why not buy frozen products to serve on the day? You can buy frozen veggies and desserts in advance and simply defrost or microwave them easily.
Always give yourself extra time on the day to prepare food, as something always crops up or food won’t be ready on time. You can always keep things warm in the oven to prevent them from going cold.
Ask For Help
Speak to family- instead of you doing all the work, could they contribute a dish? Some people may want to bring dessert, whilst others may have a favourite tipple in mind to share. If this isn’t an option, could they contribute towards the cost of the meal?
Family is one of the biggest Christmas stresses.
Everyone has turned up for Christmas dinner and there is no space whatsoever. The kids have been turned out of their room and relegated to the floor whilst Aunt Betty is still angry with Aunt Dot since they fell out over who ate the last mint in 1983. Add to this alcohol and over excited children and what could go wrong?!
Explain to the kids exactly what you expect from them. This way, they know what behaviour is expected and the consequences should they misbehave!
- Plan activities everyone can get involved with such as going out for a mid morning walk to let the kids run off some steam, and to give you some time away from the house
- Play some board games that the whole family can enjoy or find a suitable DVD to watch
- Before the big day, speak to anyone you’ve had a family feud with and try to wipe the slate clean
- Try not to turn into your 12 year old self with siblings and family members. Instead, remain an adult and approach the situation in an adult way
Ask your partner for help or support; don’t try to tackle the family and the day on your own.
You think your house is a tip. The kids leaving toys in every nook and cranny, the more you clean, the dirtier it feels and you’re sure people will see how unclean it is and judge you.
It’s Not As Bad As You Think
So your home doesn’t look like a show home- whose does? Your home is lived in so there’s going to be a bit of mess here and there, but unless they’re Kim and Aggie from ‘How Clean Is Your House’, who’ll notice? Christmas is about spending time with your family and enjoying being together.
- If relatives are staying, plan which rooms they’ll be staying in
- Explain to the family which rooms will be used for what
- Plan which rooms to clean first, with instructions to the kids which rooms will need to be kept tidy
Once you know who’s staying where, you can begin cleaning. Start with rooms such as bedrooms first, as these are easiest to clean and keep that way. Get the kids involved and reward them not only for cleaning the room, but keeping it clean.
Divide The Work
Some rooms you can’t clean in advance, such as the kitchen, bathroom and living room. Instead of trying to tackle these on your own, get the family involved. This article will tell you how to get your house guest ready in an hour, whilst Channel 4 have some useful cleaning tips.
If you’re still struggling and feeling stressed, you may find the following links helpful: