Christmas is almost upon us. And while it can be a wonderful time of year, it can also be a stressful time of year.

  • We are rushing off to social events and Christmas parties. Trying to fit them all in

  • We are battling the “Christmas rush” buying presents for the ones we love

  • We are cleaning the house like crazy

  • We are cooking up a storm to provide the feasts of feasts

  • We are crossing our fingers that everyone behaves themselves on the day

  • We are . . . . . . . . maybe a little bit stressed???

Christmas Parties

So how do we make the holidays less stressful and more enjoyable? Here are some tips and suggestions that I hope will help to keep you stay sane over this holiday period.


Your Family or Mine?

It can cause a great deal of stress and/or every year about whose place you’re going to visit on Christmas day. Especially if there is a divorce in the family. It could be possible that you have to visit up to four different family Christmases on the one day. Or what if one part of your family lives interstate? How do you decide who to visit when?

Decide early: Ideally – by about March, start to have an idea about where and when you will be spending Christmas. And advise all family members of the arrangements. The earlier the notice to more time there is to plan the finer details


Christmas Lunch

Alternate: If interstate travel is involved. Make a deal with family members that you will alternate the Christmases. i.e. One year you will spend the year in town with your family, and then next year you will travel interstate for your partners family. Or have an early or belated Christmas so you can fit both in

Go European: Luckily for me, no one in my family has Christmas scheduling conflicts because we celebrate Christmas the European way (the Austrian side of my family) on Christmas Eve. We all get together around 5pm, socialise, have dinner, sing carols, open presents, have liqueurs on the deck and then fall asleep. We wake up with Santa’s gifts for the kids on Christmas morning, have a hearty breakfast. And then we all head off to our in-laws for a Christmas Day lunch. Even part of my in-laws’ extended family now celebrate on Christmas Eve so that they can spend time with their children and grand-kids.

Stop striving for perfection

Christmas is about being with the ones that you love. And the ones that we love, are just happy to be celebrating with us. They don’t care if your roast isn’t Nigella Lawson perfect. They don’t care if your house doesn’t look like a photo shoot for Women’s Weekly. They don’t care if you serve a store bought pudding instead of a homemade one. Your loved ones don’t care

What they do care about is spending time with you. They want to relax and enjoy themselves and they want to see you being relaxed and enjoying yourself as well. So let go of the need to host the perfect Christmas and enjoy hosting a happy Christmas instead

Bring a plate: There is nothing more Australian than the concept of bringing a plate. In my family, we all get allocated several dishes to bring on the day (ironically I always end up with buying prawns even though I’m allergic to them). So start allocating certain dishes to your family members and reduce the stress

Meat and three veg: Over my several decades of enjoying Christmas dinner, I have noticed an overabundance of food on the dinner table (and a multitude of leftovers being left-over). One family has four different roasts and the other two different roasts. There is the 3-4 different types of roast veges, carrots, beans, peas, zucchinis, baked cauliflower in cheese etc. And to top it off there’s two different types of desserts. Can someone say “Food Coma”!!!! Try simplifying it down to just one roast (and maybe a BBQ chicken heated up), two roast veges and two green veges, and one dessert. Trust me, your / our waistlines will thank you for it

The cook never cleans: This needs to be a stock standard rule. The cook never cleans. You’ve done your bit, now it’s time to chillax. Have your significant other “encourage” family members to hop out of their chairs and start washing up. So that it’s not a huge chore, one washes, one dries and one puts away. The three of them can have a good natter and it’s all done in no time

Christmas Lunch

Don’t buy into the drama

If your family Christmases have always been drama free, then I have just one thing to say to you. Can I come over to your place for Christmas?

Unfortunately for a large percentage of us, there always seems to be some type of tension over the dinner table. Whether it be passive aggressive bullying, emotional neediness to be the centre of attention, sibling in-fighting or the relative who cannot control their alcohol. There seems to be some kind of drama that threatens to spoil the festivities. Here are some strategies to avoid or minimise conflict

It’s not the Great Debate: Just remember that Christmas is a time to celebrate the good. So that means that there are just some topics that are no-goes on the day. E.g. politics is a big no-no. The same goes for controversial news stories.

Family fights at Christmas

Don’t Dredge up the Past: Most families have some unpleasantness in their past. Christmas Day / Eve is not the time to dredge them up. If you feel that an issue really needs to be addressed, do it before the day (several weeks if possible)

Toilet Break: If you start to feel yourself get a little hot under the collar because of the current table discussion. Remove yourself from the situation. Go to the toilet, help the cook, offer to do the washing up, you forgot something in your car. Whatever excuse you need to leave the table / area to take a breather and calm down. A good 5-10 break ensures that when you get back, the conversation will have moved on

Talk behind their back: If there is a particular person that there has been a bit of “past history” with, then start talking behind their back. No, no, I’m advocating a good bitching session. What I mean is, compliment this person to someone that you know will pass it on. Be genuine with your compliments though

Don’t break the bank

Not only is buying all of the Christmas presents stressful. So is January when you open up your bank statements. Buying gifts for the ones that you love, doesn’t mean that you have to go into debt. With a little planning and some strict budgeting, you will be able to survive without the post-Christmas hangover

Set a budget: Have an agreement with your whole family as to what your present limits are per person and stick to them. If you want to buy someone something extra special (a.k.a expensive) team up with several family members so that you can all put in towards it

Kris Kringle: Another way to do this is have your family members agree to a Kris Kringle Christmas. A maximum budget is set, and then each member draws a person’s name out of the hat.

Under 18’s only: Some families come to the agreement that they only buy presents for the kids. This works especially well if you have a large extended family. And let’s face it, as we get older – there’s only so much stuff that we need.


Christmas Bill Shock

Sales, sales, sales: The more organised of the group, tend to watch the sales throughout the year. And do some crafty Christmas shopping so that they are buying quality items at 50% off. These are usually the people who can claim that by October they have done all of their Christmas shopping

Be creative: If you have a bit of an artistic flare, why not make some of your gifts. I still have a pottery item a cousin made me for Christmas over a decade ago. I still love it. And one family member creates a photo-book of all the good times had that year. If you can make something that has both meaning and love behind it, it is usually very well received

Love your gift

On Christmas Day (or Eve) sometimes you need the skills of Oscar winning actor to mask the expressions of shock, disbelief or disappointment on some of the gifts that you receive. That well-meaning family member who just does not get you or your style. Whether it be you end up with a pack of undies or a thermos (when you never go camping). The opening of the presents can sometimes be fraught with danger. Here’s some tips to get the day

Lists, lists, lists: Around mid-November it’s always a great time to start dropping hints for what you would like for Christmas. In my family, we send around a Christmas wish list, which really helps to narrow down what to buy your loved one. Plus it takes out the stress of shopping for all involved

When you get a crap present

Remember your lines: Smile and say “thank you so much for this”. The gift giver has put thought into the gift and even if it might not suit you, always acknowledge their effort

Regift, regift, regift: So what do you do with all the unsuitable gifts that you have received at Christmas? Why not celebrate Regifticus like my group of friends do. Every year we get together on Boxing Day for a BBQ and the Regifticus celebrations. Where we gift to each other all of the unsuitable gifts that we have received throughout the year. As the old saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. You can find out more on how to celebrate Regifticus here

So I hope that you have enjoyed reading this. And that my tips and suggestions prove useful. I hope that you all have a Merry Christmas and a Fabulous New Year’s Eve – Enjoy

Liesl (a Holistic Kinesiologist) is passionate about helping you to create and embrace your new life. Liesl excels at identifying and clearing any limiting beliefs or blocks stopping you from achieving the life that you want. Liesl is committed to supporting you along every part of your journey. To discover how Liesl can help you visit the what I specialise in page. If you are wondering how Kinesiology works, visit the what is Kinesiology page.

Liesl Frank Holistic Kinesiologist