If you are the person who is responsible for ensuring your family has a wonderful Christmas – or any Christmas at all – the run up to the festivities can be enormously stressful. Fear not though – I have some top tips for binning the festive overwhelm and even potentially enjoying the whole thing!

This is Part 1 – Parts 2 and 3 will be with you next week and the week after. I’ve got your back this Christmas.

So where do you start? The first thing to do is to decide upon your success criteria for what a good Christmas looks like to you…

There is so much that can go into Christmas, and festive marketing tells us that there are so many things we “need” to have included, so you really could drive yourself crazy trying to do all the things that are “Christmas”. Whereas really we only need to do some of them, and those things we need to do are the things that we want to do.

So what are your priorities? What are the boxes that, if they get ticked, you know you and the people that you care about will have had a good Christmas?

Start with a blank sheet of paper, no pre-conceptions, no thinking about what you always do or have done so far. Just for now, have a piece of paper in front of you, and start by listing the things that would make a good Christmas for you. For instance, for me it’s a glass of mulled wine, opening presents with my children with a creamy cup of coffee on hand, twinkly lights…that’s what it’s all about for me. What about you?

Once you have your list, write down the same things for your partner/children/whoever it is that you spend Christmas with. What are the things that mean a good Christmas to them? If you have never asked them, now would be the perfect time. What is it that they feel are the key elements of Christmas for them?

The shorter the better for these lists, because these are the boxes you are going to try to tick this Christmas. These are the things you are really going to focus upon. Once you have this list, it will help you to understand what to say yes to and what to say no to. It will also help you to understand which are the things that you don’t need to worry about, no matter what the Christmas adverts say. Maybe the crackers don’t really need to match the napkins. Maybe you don’t actually need to send a Christmas card to everyone you have ever met. Maybe you don’t have to attend every Christmas event that is in the calendar. Or maybe these are the things that matter to you and your family the most. The important thing is to know where you need to be putting your energies.

There are too many options for things we could do, have, create and purchase for Christmas, so let’s start by narrowing it down to the things that really matter to us. I would love to know what is on your list, please do comment below!

Helen Calvert
November 2021