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Tis the season...
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Tis the season...

Most adults will concede that Christmas is not quite the same as it was when they were young, and as adults we perhaps understand why our parents weren’t as over the moon about the festive season as we were. Someone else did all the shopping, wrapping and cooking, which was usually our parents; now, as adults, it is down to us to make everything as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. Whether we have already put up the tree and wrapped all the presents or we are more likely to still be wrapping at 1am on Christmas morning, the biggest minefield is probably the entertaining aspect. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, there is a good chance that you will have friends or family over during the holiday period.

Preparation and planning are key to making life a little easier. Make a list, or make several if you need to! If you are entertaining, plan the menus in advance. Ask people to bring food with them, perhaps in the place of a present. If you have not already done so, set up online grocery shopping and book a delivery for Christmas week. The slots are usually released three weeks in advance and you really don’t want to be heading for the supermarket on Christmas Eve!

Is it your turn to host Christmas dinner? If so, make sure you have enough plates, chairs, cutlery and glasses. You will probably need a bigger table − perhaps you could improvise with garden furniture? Could the children sit round a coffee or side table?

This is the perfect time for a toy ‘cull’ if you have children, as they are bound to get more on 25th December. If your children are old enough, suggest that you go through their toys together and pack up the unwanted items to go to charity. If you don’t think this will work, a discreet clear-out when they are in bed or at school might be better! If all else fails, pack some toys away in boxes and store them in the loft or wherever you have space.

Even the most delightful overnight guest can be stressful. To make things easier, suggest they bring their own pillows and duvet. Air beds are quite sophisticated these days − if you are giving up your own bed, you definitely want some degree of comfort!

Finally, you don’t have to spend 10 days dashing up and down the country or catering for friends and family. The holidays should be about relaxing (yes, really!) and spending time with loved ones, so schedule in some quiet days at home.

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