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Stress less this Christmas, make it meaningful...

Stress less this Christmas - the self love self care system

Stress less this Christmas …

Love Series

I always think of the 1st December as the green light to discuss all things Christmas and whether you celebrate it or not, it’s pretty tricky to get away from the fall out of it. It’s everywhere lurking in the background.

Christmas is about food and gift giving, about joy and love, however often it becomes a time where nerves are fraught, where people may feel as if they need to get the best x,y,z and then we’re all pretty glad when it’s over.

Of course there are many countries that don't even celebrate it...

I started digging around to see what Christmas was like in the past. Back in the 1700’s Christmas was more about giving to the poor and needy, or sharing with those who worked for you or had less. Put simply Christmas was known for it’s hospitality.

Christmas was re-modelled in the 19th century, as it was hardly celebrated in the early part of the century. Apparently back in the day Christmas was an old convivial affair that was more for the adults than children. It was Prince Albert that brought Christmas to the fore, which was reminiscent of his childhood in Germany. Tom Smith who was a British confectioner brought the cracker to our tables and this was inspired by sweets wrapped up in packages with twisted paper that he saw in Paris.

As it goes gift giving was actually something that happened traditionally in the New Year, but it moved to Christmastime in the Victorian era when the celebration gained more importance. In the beginning the presents were modest – nuts fruits etc things you could hang on the tree. They migrated to the bottom of the tree as the packages got bigger due to the advent of the department store. In the 1800’s Christmas shopping came alive with department store shopping that changed the size, price etc of the gifts that were given.

What is Christmas to you?

Think on these questions and maybe reflect on whether there are any areas that need to change.

What kind of Christmas person are you? Are you grateful for the presents you receive? Do you show this? Or are you not bothered and behave as if the person should not have bought the present for you? This goes for birthdays, gifts in general and Christmas.

If you are unable to receive with grace it can make it hard in life for you to receive all things. It is important part of inner love that we learn how to receive as well as to give. This shows that we appreciate what the universe is doing for us and that we are grateful (more on this later.)

What kind of gifts do you want? Are you still enamoured with the money aspect? How much has been spent and the worth of the gift? This does not keep with the notion of love humility and the fact that there are so many people out there that are less fortunate than us. Maybe this year, donate something ask for less and concentrate more on the giving aspect. This will create humility and love in your life.

What kind of gifts do you give – do you give gifts to be noticed, for love, or for value as in look what I got you?

Does your Christmas end up with laughter or tears?

What does Christmas bring up for you?

Have a go & visualise your favourite Christmas:

Think of the best Christmas that you ever had, remember the colours, textures and shapes of your presents, the ones you gave and received. Really bring in the joy that you felt, feel it as if it's real. Invoke your smell senses, and really taste, feel and see your dinner. See all the people/ or lack of people that you were with. Invoke the sight, sound and the whole memory. Start allowing your breathing to become relaxed and calm and now close your eyes and be there... Stay with this for a minute or two. Once you've opened your eyes, turn the memory into a feeling and know that you can/will be able to invoke this feeling whenever you need it. :)

It’s about finding what it means for you & how this can be translated into creating a calm holiday.

So for me it’s about getting together with the folks I love and sharing a little gift or two over a glass of wine. My favourite Christmas was in Australia and my memory goes back to me and my friend sitting on the beech at Lennox Head (I think that's where we were) and chatting. We had a barbecue and shelled prawns. It was so different and really relaxed.

Christmas is a time to evoke

Whether we're are religious or not Christmas is about goodwill plain and simple. There are many angels out there at Christmas time, some people volunteer their help, others donate to ensure that we all get to have a meal, warm coat, or a gift that would make a difference. Or some leave secret gifts on their neighbours doorsteps, or make the family as happy as punch, because they host, they share and they love. Christmas is not about the gifts it’s about sharing, caring and loving…

When we tap into this, Christmas takes on a different energy and we are able to enjoy the time that we spend with others. When we are busy worrying about what someone gets us, or whether someone likes what we have got them we lose the magic that the holiday encapsulates.

Of course it’s lovely to have the gifts, which in my house, when we were kids got opened at midnight Christmas Eve into Christmas day. I’m not so bothered about this now, in fact now it’s all about the food, quality time and rest :) …

So why does it sometimes run us ragged? I think that it’s about leaving things to the last minute. Make a pact to get that shopping done. The more people you have to buy for the earlier we need to start preparing so that we do not end up frazzled shopping at the last minute. I think that this happens with food too, so we'll need to ensure that we have all the food stuff that we need ordered.

It’s all about preparation and the truth is that this is something that we either find easy, muddle through, or get ourselves tied in knots over. Part of being good to ourselves, is to know the type of person that we are, pick a method of shopping and preparation that works for 'you'. This is deep inner love and will help us to be calm over the festive season. It also means that we can celebrate without having to worry about the other stuff that we have to do.

Also remember that going to every social engagement ought not to be a pre-requisite. Say yes to the occasions that we really want to be at and no to the things that we're happy to give a miss. There is no need to make an appearance, if you don't want to this Christmas.

Instead be nice to you.

I love families and their traditions. For me I love to put up the tree to Christmas music ( to my other halves horror ) eat mince pies and down a little bit of port – mostly because it is medicinal *laughs* … When we were children my mum used to let us throw cotton balls on the tree, this was our snow.

I’ve got to give it to my parents because they both come from lands where Christmas is not their thing and since I can remember they have always put on the best Christmas’s for me and my siblings… Although dad did often say, ‘that Christmas is cancelled.’ This makes me laugh now!

I love to start my Christmas day watching a Muppets Christmas Carol, while I eat breakfast. I love that film so much, it really makes me remember that life is not about stuff and money and being better than others. After all in the end all those baubles and trinkets they are just junk, they are manufactured things. They're just not that important.

In the end there is not one thing, that anyone can give us that will replace love, things are not love and will never be love.

If I am being honest, I love Christmas, I love it because I love glitter and sparkles and the way that Christmas makes all of us believe that magic happens. Even when I worked in an office where there was severe stagnation, Christmas would enliven us for a few days and then most of us would run off and come back in the New Year looking a little morose.

Oh and to perfect gift or not to perfect gift. If you ask my ex he will tell you that I was crazy around Christmas I used to spend so much time trying to find the perfect gift for everyone.

However as time went by and my ex became my ex I realised that it didn’t seem to make much difference to the people I gave the gifts to. I have pared it down to a day out shopping where I treat myself to a glass of something sparkly and I go down the tree present route.

This as we now know, was the way that it was originally done and to be honest it makes sense. Plus I have given up trying to get the perfect gift – if I see something and I think it’s right for someone, well that’s what I’m going to get for them.

Many of us struggle at this time if year with:

  • Over indulgence

  • Over committing, saying yes, when we mean no

  • Buying more than necessary, to a budget that is over above what we can manage

  • People pleasing

  • Lacking gratitude when we receive – this is a biggy folks!!!


  • Make time for relaxation – you’re important, after all if you don’t you might end up checked out as opposed to checked in.

  • Set a budget and stick to it.

  • Remember this time of year is about giving and receiving in equal measure – so enjoy what you give as much as what you receive.

  • If you want to say no, be brave and say it – this is your holiday too.

  • Over indulgence – this one is a big one, that can be a bone of contention – over indulging and not eating in moderation flies in the face of all the self care and love that we may be working on. We may think ooooooh it’s Christmas let’s stuff our faces and then make a New Year’s resolution to drop the extra pounds we put on. Hmmmm, it’s up to you, however maybe we could have a little indulgence and some balance too. Moderation never hurt anyone :)

  • Receiving with love and gratitude – did you know that this will up your love quotient and your self-worth. Yep, you got it, it’s worth it. There’s a lack of love when we nonchalantly receive gifts or don’t open them when someone gives them to us. Doing this shows deep innate issues of receivership that indicate a lack of inner love. It’s a circle and without one to some degree, we do not have the other. I have to admit I could be like this when I was younger, but I see it now for what it is. Another way to look at this is to understand that someone put thought into your gift, they took time out, to find, buy/make, wrap and tag that for you.

Learning to give and receive with grace creates balance and the ultimately the human family needs balance. So let’s contribute to that if we all can.

Remember Christmas is about stopping, sharing and pausing and reflecting, while you get to spend a day or two with the people that you love.

I do my best not to be miserable at Christmas because I am not a fan of the weather. There is also this feeling in my heart that sometimes Christmas just feels forced and manufactured. It’s been over commercialised and encourages good people to get into overwhelming debt for no good reason at all.

As the years have gone by there has been more and more concern about the commercialisation of Christmas. What with the adverts of starving children and the homeless on the streets, and people without water, it does seem crazy for us to all be celebrating and spending copious amounts of money on stuff.

I was talking to my other halves sister the other day, we were talking about helping the homeless and she said, ‘that it never feels like enough.' There you have it, she’s right; there is only so much we can do. We have to make peace with what we can do, what we have, share what we can, help when we can and enjoy the love that we provide by being together.

We can ensure that we remember what Christmas is about, what it means for our families and for others too. We can make it about love and sharing because we are able to do good, whilst being kind to ourselves and others.

Just remember we are the drivers of the Christmas bus (or maybe Santa is!!!) ;)

Love to you all & here’s to a stress free, joyful Christmas…

Lots Love xxxxxX

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