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As exciting as the Holidays are, they can also cause a rather large amount of stress – especially for those hosting. With everyone coming together under one roof with their own wants, needs, and ideas of how Christmas should be run, it can be a struggle to keep things calm…so we’ve thought up a few ways to make it an enjoyable time for everyone.
With all the images of the ‘perfect’ Christmas floating around social media these days, it’s only natural that our expectations and aspirations are set high - but this causes unnecessary pressure. It’s easy to get your home looking Instagram-worthy without breaking your bank or your back and you’ll thank yourself for it in January. Don’t underestimate the festive feel of a few lengths of tinsel and some wall décor, and picking a theme is a sure-fire way to keep everything coordinated.
Nobody wants to be rushing around doing everything last minute. Prepare what you can in advance to minimise chaos. Avoid large queues and bustling crowds by shopping online where possible, and make use of time-saving shortcuts like pre-lit trees and gift boxes instead of wrapping paper. There’s no shame in shop-bought mince pies and Xmas puds, and you can check out our handy meal-prep guide for tips on readying the banquet.
Delegating tasks helps keep everyone busy, makes guests feel useful, and takes some duties off your shoulders. Point someone in the direction of the dinnerware, glassware, and cutlery and let them lay the table. Get someone to wash and dry as you go, to avoid a big clean-up and give you back some countertop space. Set little ones to work as sous chefs, stirring sauces and passing things to you, but supervise them at all times around hot or sharp items.
You can’t choose your family (especially the in-laws) and not everyone gets along - some conflict is almost guaranteed. Think up a few ways to diffuse any tension, like asking guests to pop the kettle on or going for a walk. Getting out of the house for a while allows everyone space to breathe and the chance to talk to different people. If you’re aware that specific people that don’t get along, perhaps consider this when planning seating arrangements for the big feast.
Don’t try to cram too many activities into one day and allow time for the unexpected. Going back to basics, board games keep everyone entertained and chatting. Let the kids have a go with their new toys for an hour and perhaps have a go yourself. For those that don’t want to join in the fun, then you can always have the TV on in the background. Make a list of all the Christmas specials that you want to watch and note down the times they’re on so you don’t miss them.
Remember that it’s your Christmas too and you’re allowed to relax. Put your feet up while the potatoes are roasting. Read a few pages of your book whilst the others are having a natter. Take a nap in the afternoon with a cosy blanket and some festive cushions. Light a wintery candle and cover the smell of lunch with the aroma of warm spices. Just take a moment to slow down, have a glass of bubbly, pull a cracker, and appreciate the day before you blink and it’s gone. The next Christmas is just around the corner.