Joanne Gallacher
By Joanne Gallacher

How to survive Christmas with family

Christmas Survival Tips

Parent's Christmas survival tips for the most wonderful time of the year. Well, at least it is if you’re not the one running around like a headless turkey (see what I did there?), trying to make the perfect Christmas Day.

We put so much pressure on ourselves and why? For one day only everything must be perfect. We expect to suddenly live in Peace and Harmony with family members who on the other 364 days of the year we avoid. However, on this special day which has to go perfectly we allow them all to descend upon us and sit side by side at the dinner table.

We smile as we pull crackers but the assassin’s grin cannot hide the thought that: “If only this cracker was a Taser?”.

I don’t want to kill any annoying family members but merely stun them into silence so I can later enjoy a “Silent Night” whilst watching the festive version of Downton Abbey.

Christmas survival tips

I don’t think it’s much to ask for. Especially as I will have been the one to have bought all the presents and wrapped them. I will be the one clearing the wrapping paper whilst following the children around with a pen and notepad as I try and keep track of the gifts they’ve received. I didn’t even know we had a Great Auntie Nora so where on earth will I send the Thank You card?

Then of course there is the dinner to grapple with. If this all sounds rather familiar then I have 10 Christmas Survival Tips to stop you getting in a hot and sweaty state on Christmas Day.

I must confess though, I have no answer as to why the men buy their gifts on Christmas Eve, and triumphantly pass them over to us still in the carrier bag. Well some do anyway. Still, we can’t have everything!

So, here are my tips to try and give you a great Christmas.

1. Preparation: This is key to cutting back on the stress of Christmas. Don’t leave everything until the last minute! I’m terrible for doing this. I may start picking up gifts during the summer months but by December I still have mountains of wrapping to do!

2. Spend what you can afford:  Write down who you need to buy for and set yourself a budget. Don’t go over the figure you’ve allocated. If you end up spending less, see it as a saving. Cut the gift list! Why are you buying for people you never see? Again, I could do with taking my own advice – such a difficult conversation to have!

3. Wrap as you go: Buy, wrap, tag and put away.  A rule I should follow, as I type I have gifts strewn here, there and everywhere.

4. Call, don’t send cards: See it as doing your bit for recycling. Why not pick up the phone and speak to that relative? I’m sure they will be happy to hear from you.

5. Buy don’t bake: Stop trying to be the prefect housewife. If you enjoy baking then go for it but don’t beat yourself up for buying shop sold mince pies. Just enjoy!

6. Shop online: OK, I feel a bit guilty here. I do love a nose around a Christmas Market and I know we need to keep our local High Streets going BUT shopping online can solve the major headache of parking and elbowing your way through busy shops. Maybe do a bit of both – just to alleviate my guilt!

7. Delegate: Why are you doing everything? Delegate the Christmas shopping list. If you are cooking Christmas Lunch could a guest make dessert?

8. Lists, lists and more listsThe only way to make sure you remember everything! The only problem I foresee here is if you lose the list! Maybe photocopy it? Or take a photo of it on your phone.

9. Prepare food in advance: Christmas Day is a day for you too so wherever possible cut, cut, cut, sauté, sauté, sauté as early as possible.

10. Relax: Have fun and try and put your feet up at some point!! Whether it’s sitting down to watch the Christmas soaps or declaring Boxing Day a no-visit day and you head off for a walk, do something for you. Do not be tempted to tackle the sales. Unless of course that is your idea of fun!

And, in a recent interview about Christmas we got the Perfect Houswife's top tips for Christmas, yes Anthea Turner spoke to us about de-cluttering for Christmas. Why not check out the interview which is now available as a podcast.

Do you have any tips to share with ourselves? I would be very keen for more help. Have a lovely Christmas all. xxx

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