How to have a stress free Christmas

We all know that Christmas can be stressful.  There is the usual invasion by the family, and extended family, the standing on ceremony all day, the extra expense as well as time and frustration trying to get the Christmas dinner on the table on time.

So much to do – presents to buy, cards to write, people to see, meals to cook, worrying about money.  Panic sets in.  Then there is the worry that there are not enough hours in the week.

Perhaps you perceive that you organise everything all on your own, without appreciation, and you also perceive there is a whole lot of expectation too from those around you.  That doesn’t sound like much fun to me.  And yet it is a scenario that is described over and over again.

Is it really the case though?  Do YOU have to organise everything? Are YOU expected to do it all? Is this something YOU think you ought to do?

If you think it is something you ought to do, think again.  There are no oughts allowed. We aren’t living in the nineteenth or even the twentieth century now, we are living in the twenty first century – it is time for YOU to start looking at what it is YOU want to happen at Christmas, when YOU want it to happen, who YOU want to celebrate with, who YOU don’t want to celebrate with, whether YOU want to celebrate it at all, whether YOU want to cook a roast dinner with all the trimmings or not, whether YOU want to go to a restaurant for Christmas dinner and so on.


Perhaps you wonder what others will think of you if you break with tradition.  Stop wondering, be true to yourself, if the traditions are still relevant to you then by all means carry on with them, but if they are not relevant then stop following them.

Ask yourself how much of your planning for Christmas is led by guilt.  Be honest and try to weed out unnecessary obligations to lessen your load.

For instance, is it the norm for your relatives to all come to your house for Christmas dinner?  Do they expect you to invite them? Do you do all the food shopping, all the cooking?

Is this what YOU and they really want?  Have you had ‘the conversation’ regarding who really wants to do what on Christmas day?  It really isn’t a difficult conversation to have.

For instance, I asked my mother a couple of years ago if she wanted to spend Christmas with me or with my brother as she usually divided her time between us.  She said she would rather go on a tinsel and turkey trip with her friend and that is what she did.  She had fun, I wasn’t obligated and I could do what I wanted which was have a quiet Christmas at home with my husband.


I know someone who went every weekend for five years to his father’s for Sunday lunch.  He packed up his car with his children and his wife and took the ferry to the mainland because he perceived this is what was expected of him.  He was beginning to resent these trips, which took up most of the day, and resent his father.

I asked him if he had had ‘the conversation’ with his father about having Sunday lunch with him every week.  He said no, but that he would.  He came back to me a few weeks later and said that his father was hugely relieved as he was getting fed up cooking a roast dinner each week, sometimes he just wanted to sit down with a sandwich, a glass of beer and watch the rugby.  They agreed to have lunch together once a month.  He got most of his Sundays back and he could do more things with his wife and children.

So do the same thing about Christmas.  Ask your relatives if they actually want to come to you this Christmas.  Don’t be surprised if they are relieved that you have asked.  You will probably find that you will have an easier time, with far less stress, with just as much fun, but fun that you want to have and not fun that is manufactured out of guilt.

What do YOU want for your Christmas? How do YOU want to look on Christmas day, worn our and resentful, or relaxed and enjoying yourself?

Festive Woman in Red Santa Hat

Budget for what you can afford to spend and stick to it.  Try and spread the cost of present shopping over a longer period. Consider a simpler version of Christmas dinner such as a buffet where everyone you choose to invite brings a plate of food.  Consider whether you are prepared to tolerate family tensions over Christmas, if not make the decision to have ‘the conversation’ with everyone concerned.

Remember, be the result of your decisions not of circumstances.

If this resonates with you, and you would like to learn more about my work,  get in touch with me today. I would like to hear from you.

Maggie Currie

Transformational Coach, Consultant




My seminar – what a blast!

On Monday of this week I held a free seminar all about how to have a stress free Christmas.  The people who attended enjoyed it, found it interesting and gave me some wonderful feedback.

I was quite nervous, as I so wanted to get across my main message about having ‘the conversation’ with people to let them know what you are planning for you Christmas, whether that is being at home with your partner, going away to an hotel, inviting people to come to you for Christmas Day but to bring a plate of delicious food with them to add to the plates being brought by others to make a wonderful buffet for everyone.

There were, of course, some people who said they were going to attend who then couldn’t.  So the audience was quite small.  I started on time and made a mistake straight away.  I had been chewing some gum to keep my mouth moist and completely forgot to take it out before beginning my talk.  So there I was, trying not to chew away, but of course not succeeding.


I went through how people can cook whatever they would like for Christmas dinner.  That could be roast turkey with all the trimmings or shepherds pie or sausage and mash.  Whatever it is that makes you happy.

I mentioned how we learn much our behaviour at Christmas from our parents.  How conditioning may not be intentional but how it works very well.  How your extended family may not want to be dragged away from their newly opened presents to come to you for Christmas, but don’t know how to tell you for fear of offending you.

I told the audience how the subconscious mind stores all your habits and all the stuff we use every day without even thinking.  How we drive our cars without giving a second conscious thought to the process.

The fact that the fear of doing something is often so much worse than actually doing it.  And how to combat those fears.  How our ‘chatterbox’ runs our lives by constantly telling us how we can’t do this, or that.

Festive Woman in Red Santa Hat

I gave examples of my own fears and how I overcame them.

To do lists can be very, very long, and I gave some ideas of how to delegate, dump or simplify the to do list to reduce stress. How my friend had decided a couple of years ago to spend her Christmas day on her own, reading and watching television.  How she didn’t want the traditional Christmas dinner and cooked herself poached eggs on toast and loved it.

I gave suggestions of how to spread the cost of present buying over the year, or getting good deals online.  How people could volunteer to help out the Salvation Army on Christmas Day if they found themselves to be alone but really didn’t want to be.

There was of course lots more, and it all went down very well indeed I thought.  Below is some of the feedback I received:

“Helpful. Made a list as went along. Has made me determined to face some tough decisions.”

“Very helpful. Thank you.”

“I really enjoyed this. I had a stressful day at work today, and a lot of what you said made me think about this situation and I can use a lot of it.”

“Useful advice re ‘The Conversation’. Topic that everyone can relate to and has experienced.”

“Some useful tips on how to prepare for Christmas. Thank you.”

‘I really enjoyed last night, it all made sense, I plan to have the conversation at the weekend.’

I am planning to record the seminar as an audio file with the slides for those people who couldn’t make it and who would still like to listen. Let me know if you would like to download it for yourself.

Maggie Currie 

Creedence – Confidence for You

International Confidence Coach, Motivational Speaker, Author