My Top 5 tips for surviving the silly season

Tis the season to be jolly…well burnt out. Fa la la la la la la la arrrghh…

There can be so much pressure this time of year. Hours of shopping in busy centres chasing down that perfect gift. All that food preparation for the big feast that will end up with enough left overs to feed a small nation. Sweating the credit card bill when it comes around in January and trying to not think about how big it will be until then. All the parties to attend and still have to face getting up to the kids the next day – trying really hard to not be hung over and cranky.  And, oh yeah, worrying you have forgotten to buy a gift for Great Aunt Whozit who you may or may not see but you need to have something for her just in case.

It shouldn’t be this hard!!

It doesn’t have to be. Here are my top 5 tips for surviving the silly season this year:

1. Allocate and delegate.  Make one list of what essentials need to be done and when. I have been known to make lots of random lists when I’m really busy so I don’t forget all the things. But the trouble is, random lists get misplaced, so I start a new one and then worry about what was on the first list that isn’t on the second list. Sigh. Having just one list (now) in a set location has simplified preparation allows me to have a quality sleep at night.

You can even allocate who is doing what next to each task on the list. And, it is really very satisfying crossing off each item.

If you are the type of person that has amazing ideas in the middle of the night, a notepad by your bed is good for jotting down ideas so you can get back to sleep. Just make sure you transfer to the master list in the morning. If you are tech happy and have an electronic list you may even be able to send people their jobs so they don’t forget what they have to do and when.

Rumour has it, Santa made a list and checked it twice. And you’ve got to agree he has a lot to remember this time of year and he isn’t particularly known for major stuff ups. He might just be on to something. I wonder if Santa has app alerts activated to keep the elves on task and on time…


2. Get everyone to contribute to food. It doesn’t really matter if what gets served isn’t straight out of an episode of MasterChef. I heard a great tip to ask each person what is the number one thing they really need to make it feel like Christmas. You can then outsource each “thing” to each person! Easy!! For me it is Cranberry Sauce. For my husband it is a good Chrissy ham. “Prawns? Of course, we can have prawns. Would you mind bringing them?” “Traditional Pudding? Absolutely. Thanks for offering to make it!”

You don’t need to do EVERY tradition. Pick the most important ones and get those who care most to do the decision making. If someone wants it, they can speak up or miss out. You probably usually have too much food on the day anyway, so it will be easier to eat a healthier quantity if you haven’t over-catered like every other year.

Make ahead as much as you can. My kids love these little home-made chocolate flavoured Christmas pudding treats. They keep really well and can be made weeks in advance so I don’t mind making them. It’s all the make on the day stuff that will wear you down.


3. Just Say No. This one is really hard, but should be the easiest of them all. Here is an important newsflash: You don’t actually have to go to every Christmas party. Truly! If you have 3 pre-Christmas events on the same night, IT IS OK TO ONLY GO TO THE ONE! Or even none if you are tired from your parties the day or week before. No explanations needed. Just a simple “I’m sorry I can’t make it, have fun” is all that is required. And each event doesn’t have to be the function to end all functions. Apparently moderation is the key to longevity.


4. Be realistic about what you can afford. Do your kids really need a complete set of squishies, the latest model iPhone or whatever is the latest, greatest, temporary fad this year? If you can’t afford it all, perhaps it isn’t the end of the world if they have an incomplete set or some vouchers or money to help them save up to purchase that big ticket item themselves.

If the adults are tired of all the useless gifts that go straight to the pool room, perhaps Kris Kringle is the way to go this year. Or try Experience Vouchers this year (massage vouchers are all the rage). Oh, and stock up on a couple of boxes of chocolates when they are on sale early in the month to have on hand just in case Great Aunt Whozit turns up. If she doesn’t, you can reward yourself with some yummy chocolates in January for surviving December so brilliantly.


5. Plan some me time.  Get some sleep. If you are running on empty all the things get harder.  It’s amazing what a little ol’ nana nap does for adjusting your perspective. Do something that recharges you in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  Book a Massage. Get your nails done. Hide out at the gym. Find a corner and curl up with a good (or trashy) book for an afternoon. Go for a walk with your favourite music blaring in your headphones while you block out the rest of the world. Whatever is your thing to recharge, make some time to do it before getting back to your preparations.

Back Massage


Keeping perspective during the pre-Christmas frenzy can be challenging but doesn’t have to be impossible. You don’t have to be a grinch and cancel all the fun. Just please cut yourself some slack this year. You will enjoy the season so much more if you have saved some energy for the actual event rather than burning out on a “perfect day” that you are too tired to enjoy.

Have a Happy and Safe Holiday Season, everyone.

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