Organisation, by Charlotte Saker
When I think of Christmas it usually always involves; snow, a lovely big tree, a great roast dinner, and happy family surrounding me. Unfortunately, most of those do not happen. Christmas Day is often dull and overcast, the only tree that I can afford or that can fit into the living room is fairly small and something nearly always gets burnt or under-cooked at lunchtime. And as for happy families, I don’t think I can remember a Christmas when there weren’t arguments.
I think most of us imagine that everyone else is having a lovely festive season and that can leave us feeling really lonely, especially as everyone is so busy. There’s so much pressure that we put on others and ourselves on that one day. There’s such a huge build up that we feel it has to be perfect. I think now more than any other time of year it’s important to be realistic. Realistic that we can’t control the weather, other people or even ourselves. What we can do is try to prepare and make sure that things go as smoothly as possible, because after all Christmas does not need to perfect.
Here are some tips on how to get through the day:
Delegate: If you’re cooking dinner why not delegate jobs? Perhaps ask someone to bring dessert, or come early to help make the gravy. If you’re reading this as a loved one perhaps offer to help or take the children out for an hour so your family member can perhaps wrap the presents.
Keep it simple: Treat the roast as any other Sunday lunch. Maybe buy those tin foil trays and cook everything in them so that you can throw them away afterwards instead of having more washing up. Or maybe buy pre-made food. You do not have to be the perfect cook; your family would rather have a happy stress-free you than a perfectly home cooked meal.
Don’t plan too much: Choose what is important to you, which traditions you want to fulfil, who you want to see. Don’t try to cram too much into the festive season so that you are feeling stressed travelling back and forth or entertaining too much. Try to have some down time. Factor in some ‘you time’ to relax.
Take the pressure off: Sometimes it’s easy to feel like a failure when cooking especially a roast, where everything has different cooking times and you feel like you need three ovens. Get some help and then you collectively take responsibility for the meal. Plus it can be more fun and you don’t feel so alone cooking on your own while others sit around being merry.
Reach out: You probably know someone else who is struggling at this time of year. Make sure they know you are there for them. That they’re not alone. Or make sure they feel involved and not a burden if they don’t seem to be enjoying Christmas as much as you hoped.
Don’t struggle in silence: If it’s you that finds this time of year hard make sure you have an ally. Tell people what you can do and what you can’t, and hopefully it will mean there’s someone to help you.