5 Last Minute Tips for a Stress-Free Christmas

Like the Grinch you can try to stop Christmas from coming but I doubt you’ll be successful.  I’m quite sure you don’t really want to cancel the holidays; you just think you do because Christmas is only a week away and despite the small gathering you will be having this year, you still have so much to do! 

Whether you’re eating turkey, turduckin, tofurkey or a free-range chicken, by the time you read this post you’ve got six days left, so you might as well just go with the flow and do the best you can. Here are a few last-minute survival tips.

Whatever you do, don’t panic. I often observe with my clients and myself for that matter, that panic leads to inertia. The key is to take a deep breath and realize that you can only do so much. 

Curb your perfectionist tendencies as much as possible. You’re the only one who knows things aren’t perfect, trust me.  So, pick the most important things that ‘have to’ be done and forget the rest of the ‘nice to do’ things.

Use gift bags instead of wrapping everything.  If wrapping all those gifts is something you leave until the last minute and it stresses you out, that is why gift bags were invented!  I tried to find out who invented gift bags so I could thank him or her but, alas, no luck.

Write out the timing for holiday meals.  This tip is for those who are like me and are not a whiz in the kitchen.  The timing of Christmas dinner or any other meal involving multiple items seems to be the most stressful part of the holidays even though you are likely cooking for fewer this year.

One technique that I have found helpful is to write down all of the pieces of the meal.  We’ve got the turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes, squash, broccoli, glazed carrots and gravy.  And then, of course, whatever you are serving for dessert.  Making the stuffing and dessert the day before is the best plan, if at all possible.  Then, take the list of all the items and write beside them how long they take to cook.  Now, figure out what time you want to eat your meal, subtract how long each thing takes to cook and voila, you should have start times to put beside each item.  Don’t forget it takes a few minutes for a pot of water to boil – that part always messes me up!

In case you didn’t know this exercise is called back casting.  It can be used anytime you want to be somewhere or get something done by a certain time.

When you set aside the gift giving and decorating, this time of year is about spending time with your family.  This year that might mean you have a computer screen in the center of the dining table so you can all be “together”. Try to relax, laugh and just simply enjoy the season without any comparison to what it was last year or might be next year. 

And maybe, just maybe, like the Grinch your heart will grow three sizes as well!

2 thoughts on “5 Last Minute Tips for a Stress-Free Christmas”

  1. Great advice, Jane! You’ve summed up a sensible approach to Christmas in 2020. And may we follow this advice for years to come. Let’s learn something from this year!

    • Thanks so much for reading my blog Adele. I hope you have a wonderful holiday and, yes, we all will try to learn from this year.


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