The perfect Christmas cake, the perfect outfit and the perfect body to match... Why is it always about pleasing others and ensuring the peace among your family members, should anything go wrong?
The time has come to be selfish. Make it about you and not about them. Budget permitting, you should book a Christmas family getaway. If you are operating on a shoe-string budget, get your family to come round and get them to bring their own turkey, cake, etc. It's only fair, as after all, you are to clean up the mess after they go.
All the demands aside, Christmas is a holiday and an opportunity to relax with your family on the couch or elsewhere and spend some quality time together. However, if you really need to wait for Christmas to spend some quality time together, no wonder it's usually a family disaster.
Here are 3 striking tips my clients shared with me and I am applying one of them for my own Christmas celebration this year (Can you guess which one? ☺ ) :
- Be honest with your family, if you are tired, you are tired (whatever the cause).
Last year Annie told her partner how exhausted she was. She had just got a new job, and she was still recovering from work related stresses. Her husband John asked whether she wanted to go away, to which she replied that she still wants a family Christmas but she doesn't see herself doing it the way she wants to and the way that was normally expected of her.
John spoke to his family and... his parents invited them for Christmas. Not only did Annie not have to lift a finger, John's parents enjoyed every minute looking after their son and their daughter in law.
- Set a budget (and stick to it).
Polly, known among her friends as a spoiled fashionista, really wanted to keep-up her appearance and spoil everyone with seriously impressive presents. The trouble was, her credit cards were already maxed and she wouldn't get her next wage in until after the Christmas. After I explained to her that presents say more about us, i.e. the giver, than the people we give them to, Polly came up with the most extraordinary solution. She went to one of the local library crafts event where she was taught how to make her own Christmas cards (all materials were supplied! I seriously respect fashionistas for their resourcefulness's) and she hand-made Christmas cards for all her friends with a very personalised message.
Needless to say, her presents were a smash hit!
- Combine the efforts.
It may sound logical but Marissa hated the very idea of having a joint Christmas celebration with another family. However, her children were insisting because they were 'besties' with the next-door couples' kids.
Unwilling to upset her kids, especially at Christmas, she agreed.
After the festive meal the kids ran off to the lounge to have their own party and the adults, (to Marissa's surprise), cosied up and became very couply and start sharing the stories of how they had met.
Afterwards Marissa told me, "I never thought that bringing another family into my house for Christmas would bring my husband closer and would see my kids behaving like angels for the next two weeks?!"
And this one is from me personally ☺
When Gabi, a career minded singleton from London, was faced with Christmas time, she collapsed on my couch in tears. She couldn't possibly face going back to her beloved Sheffield for Christmas. Two of her siblings were married with kids and her mother and step-father were constantly joking that there was something wrong with her because she is still single and that none of her boyfriend's last long enough to add extra babies to their grandchildren collection. Gabi equally didn't feel she couldn't go. She even asked me whether she should hire a Christmas date, just to prevent the mentally draining well-wishes from her family.
To which I replied:
"This time it is about you and not them. If they need an extra grandchild - they can pester your sister or your brother. And I strongly recommend you come clean before the Christmas party and explain the reasons why you are considering avoiding the family festive arrangements."
Not only was the Christmas party magical, but it gave her family an opportunity to see Gabi's pain. Her family saw that they were not helping her by trying to bully her into a relationship, but quite the opposite, they were diminishing her already shaken confidence.
At times, honesty is the best policy x