Now that mince pies are in the shops and festive adverts are on the TV, you might be getting that feeling of dread about the time ahead. The Christmas carols talk about season’s greetings and good will to all, but we all know that it all goes out the window if you visit your local high street any weekend in December. You can be lying awake at night worrying about gifts for your family, friends, the work Secret Santa, and even the neighbour’s dog, which hardly helps the stress levels.

On top of the present buying there’s also the social functions that pile up around this time of year. All manner of relatives come out the wood work for parties and get together. By the time January rolls around you’d be forgiven for not remembering what the words ‘quiet night in’ mean. As many as one in six say that they would even cancel Christmas, rather than dealing with the stress of the season.  

You don’t have to reach Grinch levels of yuletide hatred, but taking some time to destress can go a long way to helping your enjoyment of Christmas. Here’s some ideas to help you get through it all.

Plan and Reward Shopping

Part of the reason that Christmas shopping can be so stressful is because a lack of planning can leave you get jostled aimlessly from shop to shop without achieving an awful lot. The best approach here is to write down everyone who you plan on buying for, and try and work out what they want, or how much you’d plan on spending.

Always do some research into safe shopping online, to try and circumnavigate the need to actually go out shopping, and you might even save some money while you’re at it! If you are getting up early on your weekend to brave the crowds, set a time limit and reward yourself with a wee mulled wine at the Christmas market once you’ve finished.

Christmas is for Relaxing

Many of us feel too inclined to keep busy in our free time throughout December. If you find yourself with a free couple of hours, you start to panic, thinking that something has been forgotten. The Christmas cards? Ordering the turkey? Booking work off for the school nativity? You don’t have to spend every waking minute busying yourself for others.

Trying giving yourself some ‘me’ time to look forward to. You could book a trip to a spa for the afternoon for some proper relaxation. Even taking an evening off to soak in the bath can go a long way. People feel an urgent need to say yes to everything, and it can often be too much to take on if you’re in demand.

Enjoy Yourself

This might seem like a rather trite thing to highlight, but when there are so many of us getting stressed and spending too much over the holidays, it bears repeating. If you’re going to lose your mind on December 25th because the roasted parsnips are a little well fired, you need to put things into perspective.

Christmas is supposed to be a joyous time of year, and also a time to remember that there are many people who are less fortunate than ourselves. So while you might let the little things get to you, remember that you could be much worse off. The work of charities like Shelter help to drive this home.