By Kristin Cosgrove (from Mamacino)
I have found, over several years and many family festive seasons, that the best way to get through Christmas is to just accept it for what it is.
Firstly, let’s just think about what it definitely is not.
In my experience, Christmas, for those of us fortunate enough to have young families, is not about sipping champagne at grown up social occasions. It is not about coming together with loving families, all dressed in flowing white linen to sit at an exquisitely decorated table located beneath a tree in a gorgeous garden to delight in perfectly prepared delicacies such as oysters, glazed ham and brandy spiked puddings like the Women’s magazines would have us believe. It is definitely not about receiving a gift that you actually like.
What it might be about for you (or for me) is spending too much money on presents nobody needs, bringing family together under tense circumstances to debate how long it takes to cook a piece of pork. Of not realising your compromised alcohol tolerance after nine years of consecutive pregnancy/breastfeeding and after a huge amount of exhausting work (because let’s face it, hosting Christmas is an extreme amount of work) falling asleep under the Christmas tree despite needing to be cleaned up and packed to leave for interstate at 4am the following morning.
So I have been thinking about it and I have come up with a few tips to help you get through the Silly Season and come out the other side smiling.
1. Downscale, Simplify and Downsize
It is wonderful to give to family and friends but let’s be sensible! Talk to your circle about gifts and settle on some guidelines. Kris Kringles are great ideas or maybe just buy for the kids. Set a price limit and consider making some gifts yourself. I don’t want to sound like Scrooge, but we are all thinking the same thing! Money could be better spent than on a new nose hair clipper for Uncle Dave.
If you are hosting a party or the actual Christmas Day lunch, remember that it can not only be expensive but also an obscene amount of work. Give everyone a job! People love to contribute and they love it even more when you suggest what they can do to help. Give someone the drinks list, another the desserts. Put someone on Salads and anyone who can’t bring along something to share can pitch in and help with the dishes!
3. Make it your own
I have certain ideas about what Christmas means to me but that doesn’t mean everyone shares them. We have started a family tradition on Christmas Eve where after attending the local Kid’s Christmas Church Service, we come home and enjoy a traditional Italian Christmas Eve Dinner complete with Prosecco, Tortellini and Carols by Candlelight. If I can enjoy this evening truly for myself, I don’t mind making Christmas Day about others and do my best to ensure everyone enjoys a fabulous day. Also, I highly recommend buying yourself at least one beautiful gift to leave under the tree from ‘Santa’.
4. Don’t expect perfection
Do not, under any circumstances, expect Christmas to run smoothly. That is the whole idea! Light’s won’t work, kids will get gastro, you will be gifted an expandable paper file from the newsagent’s by your husband (well, I really hope this does not happen to YOU!) Breathe, let it go, go with it and laugh…you get a whole year before you have to do it again.
5. Enjoy Yourself
Whether it is an event you are hosting, attending or the actual day itself, do not delay your first champagne. It will loosen you up and give you the giggles and make you much more fun to be around. After that, I take no responsibility!
Kristin Cosgrove is a mother to three lively children, an avid beach goer and food devotee. She is recovering from DPT (Debilitating Perfectionist Tendencies) and so knows what she’s talking about! You can visit Kristin at her blog or on Facebook.
What is your best tip for surviving Christmas Day?