Avoid stress this Christmas by making a few simple changes and getting your whole family involved in the orgainisation of the festivities.
Avoid stress this Christmas by making a few simple changes and getting your whole family involved in the orgainisation of the festivities. ariwasabi

Consider a change this Christmas

EEK! Have you found that you blinked that bit too long and then opened your eyes to find it is suddenly December? It feels as though the year has flown past. Christmas is just around the corner and that could fill you with excitement or stop you in your tracks with dread.

December may mark the start of the serious build-up to festivities and all of the frantic card buying, gift wrapping, food preparing and event juggling that goes with it. For others it might just be quiet family time with no particular celebration or just another day because a lot of what you feel to be true or important about Christmas depends on your religious beliefs, your culture and your upbringing.

Each December as children we'd be taken on a special trip to London to see the Christmas lights and press our noses to the windows of the various department stores to get as close as possible to the wonderful window displays. Funnily enough, when this article is published I will be in London probably doing just that. I recall being delighted by the Christmas scenes the displays depicted and transfixed by what I was convinced was real snow falling. We'd visit Santa's grotto, go shopping and stop for tea and cake. How real it all seemed.

Christmas for me in tropical Queensland these days is a world away from that and looking back now I appreciate the effort and hard work my mother put in to making Christmas feel festive and special for her three daughters. I also recognise that it must have been stressful.

You may feel the same and it can be a tense and anxious time. Societal, cultural and commercial pressure overwhelms and seduces us into making impulse purchases that can strain finances to breaking point. Family disputes erupt about where to go, what to eat, who to invite. Bored and demanding children, frail and elderly relatives, work deadlines, Christmas functions all compete for attention. We're in the middle, feeling we need to do everything and keep everyone happy.

It can get so bad that we reach Christmas exhausted, irritable and with a short emotional fuse. Is it truly worth that? It's supposed to be the season of goodwill and thanksgiving.

This year, I suggest you could put a bit more time back into you. I invite you to consider what changes you can make to your usual December routine. What can you do differently to release some of the pressure? Maybe ask your family for their creative ideas and suggestions for how to keep things cost-effective, simpler and more enjoyable for everyone. How will they help? What will they contribute? You may be surprised at their input.

Rowena Hardy is a facilitator, performance coach and partner of Minds Aligned: www.mindsaligned.com.au