I love Christmas. I love the fairy lights, the food, the atmosphere and catching up with friends and family. One of my favourite nights pre-Christmas is wrapping presents in front of the fire, snuggling with the pups whilst the husband is out on his work’s ‘do’. There are also things about Christmas that I don’t like quite as much but I usually only remember this in the New Year when I realise I’ve spent a lot of time rushing about, eating way too much and not being as restful as I needed to be… the excitement of Christmas is a whirlwind and this means I end up saying yes to almost everything and not factoring in enough ‘down’ time. This year self preservation is key!
Looking back over the blog it appears that most of things I have written about over the last year (managing our own and others expectations / taking time out / being ‘too’ busy & learning to say ‘no’) now feel very relevant when I start to think about the festive period. If ever there is a time to put theory into practice it will be in December!
Christmas is widely recognised as a time we seem to do many things just because it’s Christmas; because we feel we should and it is expected of us and we don’t want to upset anyone even if, deep down, we don’t honestly want to do some of things on the calendar. It can be a time of pressure and of obligation …. in amongst the shiny baubles and mince pies.
Without some conscious preparation as to how we approach Christmas all the best laid plans could go out of the window so I am going to start thinking about this over the next few weeks …. I wonder if this might resonate with you at all?
Perhaps a good place to start is to make a note of your ‘perfect’ christmas and list the things that matter most to you;
- Who do you really want to spend time with over the holidays? Probably the most difficult question, particularly with family, but it is the one which can have the biggest impact. It is a time for being kind to each other and feeling able to relax rather than making small talk with those who we only see once a year and, at the risk of sounding a teensy bit harsh, who, given the choice, you might not see at all…
- How much time do you realistically have? How would you like to divide this between friends, how much time do you need for yourself and for immediate family?
- How much entertaining do you naturally feel comfortable with? Some of us have endless hostessing skills, others not so much. I know that I can muster up a few feasts over the festive holiday but any more than that feels stressful and is something I have learned not to do out of obligation and I am sure my friends are grateful! No one likes a grumpy hostess.
- How many parties do you want to go to? Same as above, I prefer to say yes to the things I really want to do, small dinners with close friends and family. This way I avoid spreading myself too thin and then not being good company because I am secretly waiting to get back to mince pies and an early night (due to tiredness as I said yes to every invite back in November).
- How much food would you prefer to eat? This sounds a simple question but I know it is always a challenge, especially when I am out and people are so generous with cheese! and especially if I have had a few cocktails! This is the challenge which results in me spending January & February trying to lose the extra pounds.
- How much time do you set aside for you to unwind and relax? Surely at the end of a year of working hard we need to factor in enough time to reflect and relax yet I pretty much always go back to work feeling like another week off is still required!
And now ask yourself the same questions and answer them with how things actually are and see how closely the two sets of responses match. Hopefully close enough to ensure you enjoy your time off and without feeling too much pressure. If it isn’t very close at all or there are a few answers that you aren’t comfortable with then perhaps now is a good time to start thinking about how this year can be different and more focused towards your ‘ideal’ Christmas?
More conscious thought now means more time to sparkle later!
Please share any thoughts or comments below and perhaps you can share this post with someone you know that may appreciate it ….