The countdown to Christmas begins and it’s awful. Just over half of us think Christmas is the “most wonderful time of the year” at 55% according to new YouGov data, so frankly why do we still bother? Can’t we have a referendum on it and cancel it? Or at least change the format, because it’s simply too stressful. For many couples, it’s not beginning to look a lot like Christmas, it’s beginning to look a lot like divorce. January always is the busiest month for divorce lawyers apparently as couples plan to get through the stress of Christmas before announcing that they’ve had enough. People say they have dreaded Christmas because of the preparation (23%), because of facing it after the death of a loved one (17%) and because of being under pressure to make it good for their family (17%). Women are nearly twice as likely to say they dread Christmas because of the pressure to make it a good Christmas for their family (21% women vs 13% men). Is that because women end up doing the bulk of the work? Whilst men queue up outside one shop on Christmas eve with mulled wine to buy their one present for their partner? (surely not). The research also found there is wide recognition that Christmas can be a sad time – nine in ten (89%) think Christmas can make people on their own feel lonely and 85% think Christmas can be a sad time for those who have lost loved ones.
This cheered me up yesterday – bumping into a cheeky Father Christmas at work:-
Well, I’ve been there, done it. Sat through miserable Christmas meals with a fixed smile on my face whilst breaking inside. All the joy and tidings that are thrown upon us in an effort to get us to spend more money makes things even worse. Of course I do have quite a few annoying friends who LOVE Christmas and all that it represents. They’ve already got their Christmas trees up, their presents wrapped, their lights outside. We have high expectations of Christmas and it’s not at all an easy time for many people. It’s stressful beyond.
I am struggling to know where to begin. I don’t have a partner to outsource all those awful jobs that I hate. Like wrapping presents, buying all the food, ordering the turkey (SHIT, I haven’t ordered the turkey) and much as I love the gathering of friends and family, it’s just such a daunting task to face and I hate being too organised about it. To be honest, even if I did have a partner, they probably wouldn’t be doing all those awful jobs.
My “stay at home daughter” freshly back from her travels has seen a clear business opportunity here (AKA stressed mum) and has offered to be my PA for the month so that I can outsource all those jobs I hate. She’s even offered to cook the Christmas meal. But I am hesitating, because, surely these are jobs she should be doing out of the kindness of her heart? Rather than watching “I’m A Celebrity GMOOH” she could be rushing around being helpful FOR FREE.
That’s not going to happen though.
So perhaps I should think about investing in her time and getting on with stuff I prefer doing.
Like writing these pointless blog posts. I mean, I could be at the supermarket ordering the turkey RIGHT NOW.
So, as someone who has done a single style Christmas for a number of years now, here are my top tips:-
- Drink through it – buy every single version you can – champagne, wine, gin, Baileys
- Delegate where you can – give your kids jobs to do (not the stocking wrapping though if they are still believers in Father Christmas!)
- Buy presents online or do it all in a day – hurry up as you will want to avoid the hoards (although a lot less hoards now everyone is buying online)
- Cheat with the cooking where you can – Cook is a great shop to buy everything frozen from and ready prepared, as is M & S, I don’t even do my own potatoes any more, although my children are so horrified by this that they have offered to make actual roast potatoes with goose fat FROM SCATCH! Weird.
- Surround yourself with friends in similar circumstances
- Try not to get stressed.
- Think about everyone else who is having a tougher time than you are and be very, very grateful for all that you have
- Invite someone over to join you if they’re on their own – no one should be on their own on Christmas day – unless by choice of course
- I would suggest working in a soup kitchen – but apparently they are over subscribed – is that true?
- DRINK MORE. Then you will be relaxed and not give a shit about how the day goes because others will simply have to take over. It’s a genius idea and has worked very well for me.
I’m off to order the turkey and the Baileys before they sell out.