Most people’s ideal Christmas is a Disney-style family masterpiece of perfect culinary co-ordination, spotless, rosy-cheeked singing children, scintillating conversation, sparkling fun, games and so much laughter you feel slightly sick. Let’s hope we all have one of those!
In reality Christmas dinner isn’t always perfect, stressing out Britain’s countless perfectionist cooks to the nth degree. People get cranky and cross. We argue over films and family niggles, we snap at the kids and we’re far too full of rich food and booze to stay vertical, never mind scintillate.
Here’s our top five tips for surviving Christmas 2011 sane, cheerful and emotionally intact!
- create a positive self-fulfilling prophecy this Christmas! Prepare yourself with intense daydreaming. Get your imagination working and daydream about your ideal Christmas Day in fine detail. Go to sleep visualising it and make it the first thing you dwell on when you wake up. Involve the whole family in imagining the best Christmas Day ever. Because intense daydreaming programmes your unconscious, a bit like mild hypnotherapy, your dreams have a much better chance of coming true than if you spend days in advance worrying
- resolve to be tolerant and calm no matter what happens. Stick a note saying something like ‘Keep calm and carry on’ or ‘Today I love everyone and everything’ on the fridge door to remind you. If you’re starting to feel tetchy, head for the kitchen and repeat your mantra to yourself while taking deep breaths. Phew…
- it’s better to hang loose than strive for cooking perfection. The more you worry about Christmas lunch, the worse it’ll be. Making food is an act of love, especially at this time of year. You’re sharing it with the people you love. Relax, enjoy cooking lunch and remember it’s the sharing of the food, not the food itself, that makes Christmas Day special
- I know I’m always going on about walking. But if you wrap up and go for a brisk march in the afternoon you’ll get your blood running, flood your body with oxygen and feel wonderfully fresh. It’ll help your digestion. And after the dense fug of the living room, with the heating on and loads of hot people lolling about, it’ll perk you up for a great evening
- bear in mind we’re all slightly crazy in one way or another. If your rellies are driving you mad, remember your own little foibles and forgive them theirs. You can even make a game out of it. To play ‘The Mad Factor’, you each need ten scraps of paper numbered 1-10 to vote with. Take turns confessing your personal eccentricities and the rest score you on how mad they think your odd habits and obsessions are. Keep count and see who comes highest on the nut-o-meter!
(Thanks and merry Christmas to http://www.sxc.hu/profile/flaivoloka for the excellent royalty-free image)