Tips to survive Christmas
We all need some tips to survive Christmas. Christmas can be a stressful time of year with trying to manage the budget, family, food and everything else that is associated with Christmas. The one time of the year your whole family decides to get together, eat, drink and be merry. How do you maintain your sanity during this time?
There is a lot to think of when it comes to planning Christmas. How many people are coming to lunch and dinner? What location to choose, the beach, park, pool, inside in air conditioning or which family members house? What food to buy or cook? And what presents to get everyone? How to pull it all off with a limited budget? The stress can be ongoing, so here are some tips to help you survive Christmas.
Food is a big part of Christmas, if handled badly it can be expensive, provide a lot of waste or create food poisoning. With some research and planning you can create a wide spread of food on a limited bugdet.
Don’t over do it. You cook up a feast, then the relatives rock up without telling you they have also cooked up a feast. Big elaborate feasts cost a lot of money and time to prepare. Keep it simple, on budget and have a variety of foods.
Delegate the menu. Leading on from above, why should you do all the work? Delegate dishes to the relatives that like cooking. Such as you do the dinner, aunty does the nibbles, mother does the dessert etc.
Prepare food the day before. Desserts can be made the day before and refrigerated. Same for salads or preparing meat dishes. Just remember your food safety guidelines to prevent food poisoning.
Vary the menu. Christmas in Australia is peak summer not the time for traditional European dinners. Go for lighter more refreshing foods such as salads, seafood, cold chicken, cool fruit and the like.
Don’t put all the food out a once. With the heat and the flies food will spoil faster if it’s left on the table for hours waiting for everyone to eat it.
Don’t forget the dinner in the oven or on the cook top. You don’t want to burn the house down at Christmas.
Stay hydrated. Hot weather and alcohol will dehydrate you fast. Drink at least 2 to 3 litres water through out the day.
Don’t over do it. Christmas may see multiple parties between work, multiple friends, multiple families and kids’ friends. Getting sloshed at each party will result in dehydration and a week long hangover.
Don’t keep topping up glasses. Being a what seems to be a good host by keeping glasses full could create problems. How do you keep track of how many drinks you have had when the glass is endless?
Keep Christmas safe
Don’t spoil the joy of Christmas by having something go terribly wrong. The family comes together in a variety of locations, eating, drinking and having fun but you need to keep a few safety tips in mind.
DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE, if you want to have a drink even one, have someone nominated as driver who will not drink. Alcohol impairs judgement and you may think you are safe to drive but you will be off your game and there are always the other drivers who are totally sloshed trying to run into you which you have to avoid. Other options include getting a taxi, public transport or sleep over at family or friends’ place. Remembering you can still be over the blood alcohol limit the next day so if you are pulled over by the police the following morning you may be in trouble.
Drive safely, with everyone travelling to see family and friends there is more traffic on the road in a shorter period of time. Plan on leaving earlier, be patient and take regular breaks to stay refreshed. Plan to drive in the off-peak times to reduce accidents, traffic jams and stress.
Don’t spread diseases. Especially this year with COVID 19. If you are feeling sick, flu or cold symptoms probably best to stay home and call the doctor. If you do all meet up have amply hand washing and sanitiser. Wearing masks would be up to your specific situation.
Pool safety, have a sober adult overseeing the kids and not so sober big kids in the pool. Hopefully one who knows CPR. The bigger kids that have been drinking can be more of an issue than the little ones.
Beach safety, as above have someone watch family in the surf. Don’t just rely on the lifeguards (if there are any at your beach) as they have thousands of swimmers to keep an eye on. Beaches also have risks of drowning, overheating, jellyfish, rips and more.
Food safety, keep cold food cold and keep hot food hot as per the Food safety guidelines. Maintain good hygiene with washing your hands regularly and keeping the kitchen clean.
Bush safety, families may choose to go to a national park, swim in rock pools or hiking. Keep in mind wildlife such as snakes in the area. Another big cause of injury is adults and kids jumping off rocks into the water below. If the water is not deep enough or the jump goes wrong hitting the rocks or the water at the wrong angle can be life threatening. If other people are jumping off rocks move to a quiet area of the water hole to prevent being landed on.
Watch the weather, this time of year in Australia brings all sorts of weather conditions from cyclones, severe thunderstorms, heatwaves and even snow in highlands down south. Check the daily forecasts for the next few days in the areas where you are going including the weather along the route.
Reducing your stress
Christmas may be about family, Santa, and religion but it’s also about you. Don’t go insane trying to make everyone else happy.
Don’t try to do everything yourself. Delegate cooking, cleaning, managing the kids and so on. There are adults, they should be able to look after themselves.
Lay down some ground rules for the adults and kids. Who can go where, how often to check in, what they can and can’t touch etc.
Don’t try to be perfect. It’s not a family Christmas movie where everything is perfect, decorations, big tree, lots of presents, everyone is happy and smiling. You don’t have to keep up with the Jones or have high expectations you get stressed about trying to meet.
Manage conflict. Don’t assume the whole family is suddenly going to be all loving and get along. This may include having lunch with one group and dinner with another.
Do look after yourself, sit back and enjoy it. With some forward planning, delegation and pacing yourself you can have a happy Christmas too.
Take a break. Too much food, family conflict, yelling kids and your own expectations can be very stressful. Get up and take a walk, go water the garden, take a warm bath or have a lie down. Get away from the chaos for a while. You could even distract the family by getting them up and doing something different.
Have fun activities to keep them occupied. This can be board games, interactive games, pool games, outdoor activities, karaoke and more.
Don’t do Christmas alone. If family is not an option, get with friends, neighbors or go to one of the local community functions. With COVID 19 it may involve video conferencing with family who are interstate or overseas on the internet. Being alone can be depressing and stressful. If all else fails spend it with your pets. Check on your neighbors before hand they may be alone too.
Lock up if you are going away from home. Christmas does invite the criminal element out when they think you have gone away for a while.
Chill between functions, take time to chill out between parties to recover. Schedule some down time to just do the regular household duties.
Christmas can be stressful but it is also fun, a time to catch up with family and friends. With a bit of forward planning, you can survive Christmas and enjoy it.
Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone. Be safe and enjoy it.
- Food safety tips – https://foodsafety.asn.au/food-safety-tips/