It’s that time of year to get out the Christmas decorations, play your favourite Christmas album and start the social festivities with bottles of bubbles and lots of food. But are you dreading this time of year like many others do as they get older? If so, there are ways to keep calm and get into the Christmas spirit without feeling stressed.
It sometimes feels easier to jump in your camper and relax at a beachfront campsite over Christmas in the retirement years. But remember the big picture. Try not to feel overwhelmed by the busy hustle and bustle. Connecting with your loved ones (friends and family) is what Christmas is about for most people. Whether it’s giving through volunteering or travelling to your children’s house for Christmas, keeping perspective is key. It’s a short period of time for some great rewards spent with people that you love.
If you’re staying home and hosting the family Christmas, try not to stress about getting the house perfectly clean. Also don’t stress about cooking everybody’s favourite food either. Nobody cares if your house is a bit dusty or not. They’re there to enjoy your company and each other’s company. And let people share the load by bringing a plate of food each. After all, if you’re retired you might not want to cook huge feasts anymore. People don’t want you to be in the kitchen preparing food the entire time that they’re there. They want you to be with them, relaxing and celebrating the day.
I don’t know about you, but crowds drive most people crazy. If you’re an internet user, consider buying your gifts online this year and having them delivered to your door. Many retail outlets offer cheap or free shipping nowadays. And you can even get free wrapping at some places if you so desire.
Not only can you buy all of your gifts online, but you can also buy your Christmas food and alcohol online too. By doing this, you can set a delivery date with supermarkets like Woolworths to Christmas Eve, ensuring that you get the freshest food possible. This can all be done while avoiding the shops, in the comfort of your cool and comfortable home.
You might dread Christmas because it’s become monotonous. So why not try to change it up a little? We recently moved to a friendly neighbourhood, where all the neighbours come out to play a game of street cricket after the lunch festivities. All of their families join in and it’s a blast. The children occasionally run around and have a water balloon fight and it brightens up the mood right when you feel like you could have a nap and never eat again.
Whether it’s street cricket, or a game of charades over a glass of brandy, thinking of ways to add fun to your day and set new traditions is priceless.
Asking for help isn’t easy for most people, but have you considered moving Christmas around each year? That way it breaks up the travel for people and shares the load among family and friends.
If you can’t move venues from year to year, think about asking people to help with catering, cleaning, and setting up. Get the young ones involved. It’s a great time of year for everybody to pitch in, making the experience more enjoyable for everyone.
Prepare as much as you can ahead of time and avoid doing last-minute tasks. Choose meals that you can prepare in advance, and set up a long table or bench where people can serve their own plates of food.
Single-use items are no longer used in many areas as they aren’t environmentally friendly. So in order to reduce your cleaning, consider having a garbage bin for people to place their food scraps in. Have a labelled bucket next to the bin for cutlery, plates and bowls. And have a couple of trays for people to place their used glasses on. This will make washing up or stacking the dishwasher so much easier.
Organisation and load sharing makes for a smooth and calm festive season. Remember that everything won’t necessarily be picture perfect, but the spirit of Christmas and sharing with loved ones is what truly matters.
May you all have a peaceful and joyous Christmas this season!
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