This week we were sent a press release from Lisa Wyn, CEO of Coaching for Dads, on how to have a stress free Christmas. Research has found that 9.58 am is the time of the first family row on Christmas day, and CFD’s offer advice on how to plan the day and minimize the stress.
This got me thinking about how different people cope with stress and how plan as you might, it’s often almost impossible to stop yourself getting wound up, once you enter the zone (as my BF and I like to call it). So in the true spirit of Christmas, here is middleagedmums guide to a stress free Christmas.
Budget and spend wisely – start Christmas shopping on Dec 29th at the sales and buy lots of crap that nobody else wants, put it in a fool proof hiding place, where it can stay till Dec 29th next year, after you have spent the whole of Dec trying to find it.
Don’t agree with your partner that you will not buy each other presents this year, then secretly buy him a day out in Ferrari. You will spend the whole of Christmas day, silently seething and later crying (after a few too many Baileys) as he thought you were really not buying each other anything.
Try to avoid telling your teenagers that they are not having huge expensive presents, as they already have enough stuff, then leave buying the essential pair of boots, skateboard etc right till the last minute. You will then panic and buy huge expensive presents, that they dont want anyway!
Don’t leave going to the supermarket until the last minute, (have you booked your online delivery, cos if not, you’re stuffed!) as you will end up in queues to enter the car park, queues for the tills and queues to exit the car park, and they will have run out of the essential ingredient that Delia has recommended for Christmas 2009 (this year its La Petite Masion Feuilles de Brick pastry).
Do not start drinking Bucks Fizz at 10 am, if you are cooking the Christmas dinner (no matter how tempting it is). Especially if you plan to eat at 4 pm. There is nothing worse than trying to co-ordinate cooking times through an alcoholic haze and the shame of your mum having to take over the cooking will haunt you for weeks.
Don’t get into a cooking time war with your mum. If its her house, start drinking Bucks Fizz at 10 am and accept that the turkey and vegetables will be over cooked. If it’s your house, tell her it’s her day and as a special treat, she mustn’t come near the kitchen.
Try to rise above irritating relatives, annoying children and interfering parents. Your job (call me old fashioned) is to keep the peace and provide an enjoyable day. Above all do not argue with your partner, the facade of a perfect family is vitally important (even if you are secretly seething inside and planning their slow and painful death) My BF once rang me, weeping, from a country lane on Christmas day, as she had run away from home. Try to avoid this if at all possible!
Above all, enjoy yourself, and if the worst comes to the worst, think of Christmas like childbirth, it’s only one day of pain and then it’s all over!