You don’t have to do it all! Really, you don’t. Life is busy enough these days without having to play the perfect wife/husband/partner etc on Christmas Day.
Christmas is supposed to be a time of gathering, sharing,showing kindness and celebrating so why is it that all the work usually falls to one person? Maybe because ‘that’s how it is’ or ‘if I don’t do it, no-one else will and it’ll be ruined’ or maybe another reason.
Time to open that mind and shrug off a few beliefs that aren’t helping.
- It’s OK to ask for help (actually it’s necessary)
- It’s OK to take short cuts to help yourself
- It’s OK to delegate
- It’s OK that it’s not perfect
Of course if this isn’t something your family and friends are used to it may take a while for them to adopt your new approach, SO START NOW!!!
You may need to start with your nearest and dearest (ie your spouse) to get their support before you spread the word.
Sit down and talk about Christmas. Tell your family/friends that you want to enjoy the day with them and not be in and out of the kitchen all day. Tell them that you are going to ask for help and you will appreciate the help they will give you. Tell them that you want to make it fair for everyone so you needs to work together.
In your mind and heart decide that you will not accept whining, whinging or complaining (don’t say this out loud as it will instigate whining, whingeing and complaining)
All ages can help in some way and if everyone is expected to help it’ll help everyone to feel part of it. A big tip though is once you’ve allocated the jobs and they are getting on with it – let them get on with it!! Standing over them and criticising is not going to help your cause!!!
Here’s some ideas….
- Tidying up the wrapping paper: make a game out of it with prizes for clearing up quickly (I’m sure there are a few chocolates/sweets/cracker presents hanging around)
- Keeping elderly relatives engaged – a great one for younger family members to do. All they have to do is show granddad or nana their latest toy or book. Or they could act out a little play, poem or story
- Laying the table. Maybe give each person one place setting and let them get creative in the dining room whilst you’re being creative in the kitchen
- Setting out plates of food for nibbles (yes they can try a few bits on the way….)
- Butler service. Allocate each person a 15 or 30min time slot to be the groups butler and have them bring food, drinks, games etc to whoever asks for them (make sure you’re asking for sustenance too if you’re out of the main room!)
- Clearing the table and loading the dishwasher/washing up. With all the prep you’ve done (See my Christmas Prep Guide) hopefully there’ll be less to clear up than usual. But think about using foil trays too to minimise the greasy clearing up.
- Walking the dog/taking care of pets. It may be a day off for most people but pets still have to be looked after. Allocate morning, afternoon, evening pet-related jobs so that’s one less thing you have to worry about
- Delegate, delegate, delegate. Ask people to bring food for the day and allocate the type of dish (starter, vegetables,dessert, cheese etc). If people ‘don’t cook’ then they can bring something ready prepared or swap them bringing food to doing a job.
- More delegating…..you are not responsible for everyone in the room. If someone wants to have a glass of water nominate someone to get it for them, or tell them where the water jug/tap is
- Personal Service – Make up a simple ‘Pamper Voucher’ to allocate 15 or 30 mins of pamper time to yourself. Maybe you want to sit and watch something specific on TV, have a lie down, go for a walk, have a back or foot rub or cuddle up on the sofa..whatever it is write it down and at some point in the day ‘cash in’ your voucher with a person of your choosing.There’s a template below you can use
Most importantly remember that whilst you can’t always change a situation, you can always change your reaction to it. When things go wrong it’s easy to get stressed, but remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect and most things can easily be sorted out and as a bonus there’ll be a funny story to tell when you get back to work! For more tips, check out my ‘7 Steps to a Stress-Free Christmas’