The countdown has begun. Christmas is just a few days away. And as exciting as it is, it’s very normal to feel a bit stressed about the big event.
A home filled with friends and family is a reason to celebrate. But with children, pets, in laws and more to consider it can be a challenge to keep everyone entertained, safe and satisfied all day long.
But now, in the calm before the storm, is the perfect time to plan for a peaceful and stress-free Christmas Day.
Keep Christmas Day a stress-free zone
Following are four simple steps you can take to help the big day go off without a hitch.
1. Avoid food fights:
Chances are you’ve already planned your Christmas dinner menu. But with special diets, preferences and health issues it’s nearly impossible to please every single person that will be gathering around your table Christmas night.
Don’t bother. You’ve already decided what you will be serving, and there’s no reason to change it. But go ahead and get in touch with all the adult guests who will be attending to ask them to bring their favorite dish to contribute to the meal if they’d like to.
This will allow folks with special diets from vegetarian to gluten-free to bring something they know they will be happy eating. And it will take the impossible task of satisfying everyone off YOUR plate.
If the menu is very adult oriented, be sure to provide a few kid friendly foods too. Macaroni and cheese, meatballs, chicken nuggets and easy to grab fruits such as grapes and mandarin oranges are all good choices.
2. Make light work:
There’s an old saying, “Many hands make light work.” And it’s true, the more helpers you have to complete a task the easier it is to get it done.
You can make this work for you on Christmas day to lighten your load. But the benefits don’t end there. People enjoy lending a hand. So giving folks things to do not only lightens your load, it makes them feel useful.
Kids in particular love helping. And giving them some holiday chores can keep them occupied and out of trouble. For example, children can hand out presents, collect wrapping paper trash, walk the dog and help set the table.
And adults can help with food prep such as peeling vegetables, filling serving dishes and serving festive drinks.
3. Organize don’t agonize:
One of the most fun parts of the day, the gift exchange, can turn into one of the most stressful if you’re not careful. If you’ve ever ended up at the other end of a Christmas morning wondering which gifts belong to who, what people got and even if folks opened your gifts, you know what I mean.
It can be tough to keep track of everything with wrapping paper flying and emotions running high. But you can tame the chaos and keep things under control with a bit of preplanning.
Before you begin, give each guest their own “Santa bag” to store gifts in so they don’t get lost. These can be simple grocery store shopping bags or some dollar store versions you decorate with each guest’s name.
Place a couple of trash bags around the room and ask guests to toss their wrapping paper as they unwrap gifts. It will save the headache of cleaning up later.
And try a Round Robin gift exchange. Recruit the kids to pass out all of the gifts before anyone starts opening them. Then have each quest open one at a time going from youngest in the room to oldest. This way nobody misses a gift exchange.
Use your cellphone to keep track of what the children get. Snap a picture of them with each gift they open. Label the pics with the gift giver’s name and you’ll have an easy reference for them to use when they write their thank you notes.
4. Keep calm and relax:
With you trying to plow through a stack of holiday-related tasks the next few days will be busy ones. All that hustle and bustle can quickly spiral into sleepless nights and stressful days.
If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, or feeling the pressure during the day, don’t pop a sleeping pill or pull your hair out. Try something natural instead, starting with your grandmother’s cure for anxiety, chamomile tea.
Chamomile’s reputation for soothing frayed nerves is well earned. The herb contains the bioflavanoid apigenin, a natural anxiety reducer.
In a study, chamomile slashed anxiety levels by 50 percent in 57 percent of folks who took it. Try sipping on a cup anytime you find yourself needing a little sanity break in the next few days.
And if you’re battling insomnia, valerian root or melatonin could help you slip off to sleep, and wake up feeling well rested. In one study, 90 percent of insomnia sufferers slept more soundly after taking valerian. And melatonin, a hormone which your body produces on its own, could help you get your sleep cycle back on track despite the holiday pressure.
Give yourself the gift of peace and joy this year. These four simple steps can help you plan ahead so there’s nothing but smooth sailing on Christmas Day.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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