Do you remember the excitement of Christmas when you were a kid ? Trying to figure out where Mum and Dad had hidden the presents ? Looking forward to eating three different types of desserts or just pudding and custard? Better still if the weather was fine enjoying weeks of school holidays with a gang of friends moving from house to house.
When you get older it gets harder to enjoy the day as so often the run up to Christmas day can be exhausting. It’s often a busy time with a combination of end of year events, extra shopping and cooking plus organising a range of presents. All this whilst trying to hold down a job as well as possibly wrangling children as well. So how do we find the magic of the day again?
- Start by only accepting invitations to events you really want to attend. Things that sound like fun or at a restaurant you really like or with people you really want to catchup with in person. Also look at your diary and make sure there aren’t too many events in the same week. If the invitation involves standing around at a pub drinking and you would rather be soaking in a hot bath then give it a miss.
- Make sure you are looking after yourself in the weeks leading up to Christmas – prioritise exercise by scheduling it in first. Book in appointments that are important for you whether its massage, acupuncture, beautician or hairdresser. You will enjoy the day more if you are in top physical form and not jump limping to the end of the year.
- Make gift giving easier by suggesting Secret Santa, even if its just for the adults. Buying one gift instead of six or eight reduces the load for shopping and also usually means that you get one gift that you really like. Other options could be doing a charitable donation instead of giving presents. It really depends on what will make your family happiest and reduce the stress associated with gift buying.
- On the day ensure the food preparation is shared with all the adults attending. Splitting responsiblity (and costs) for the celebration make it easier. Whether its prawns or ham, salads or desserts, sharing the work makes a big difference. If you are dealing with a variety of food intolerances then have a look at my blog A Gluten and Dairy Free Christmas .
- Break out the board games for entertainment, having some at an appropriate level for the group can really provide good entertainment for a few hours. Current favourites in my house are Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Katan but don’t forget old favourites like Monopoly and Scrabble. We also have a tradition of finding the silliest games possible like Hungry Hippos and Peanut Elephant.
- Make sure your Christmas menu includes something you really enjoy. The most recent addition to our Christmas menu is Donna hay’s wonderful stuffing cup recipe. It’s not hard to make and ensures there is enough stuffing for everyone.
- Start a new tradition such as watching classic Christmas movies as a family (options rang from Die Hard to Love Actually or The Holidays) or enjoy opening one gift each on Christmas Eve. Bake a favourite cookie, pudding or mince pie. The blog A Gluten and Dairy Free Christmas has my recipes for both pudding and mince pies, well they are modified versions of my mother’ recipes and are gluten free with a dairy free option.
Christine Pope is a naturopath and nutritionist and has an online program called Ageing Outrageously. She is in practice at Elemental Health, St Ives and appointments are available on (02) 8084 0081 or by booking online at elementalhealth.net.au .