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Is there such thing as a stress free Christmas?

Christmas may well be the time to be happy and jolly but also a time where you can feel overwhelmed and stressed, even if you aren't normally a worrier

There's the family conflict.. Which side of the family are we having this year? The current recession and hike in the cost of living- all want to save our precious pennies and be careful. Shopping. Then theres the shopping and the crowds and queues as the big day gets closer. Not to mention the Christmas cards that need to be written.

Well I can’t help with advice for the family! (sorry) Here are some thoughts on those other stress - inducing aspects of the festive season

If you are buying gifts, why not support our local high street and support small independent businesses. Many products are handcrafted and that means that you may pick up something different and unique. You are also supporting these little businesses who work so hard to keep everything ticking along. There are some wonderful Christmas markets to visit locally. They always make me feel so festive.

Times are changing and although its lovely to receive a card is it really necessary to send to your whole friendship group that you see regularly? Why not send to people that you haven’t seen all year and those overseas and for the others send them best wishes by text. Postage is so expensive these days and people will understand especially in the current climate. If cards are a must then share the job with other family members.

If pennies are tight then how about arranging a secret Santa (always fun) for a fixed price. Everyone receives a present and you don’t have to break the bank.

I feel less stressed and more organised when I make lists. I have a list for presents and food. Food is a huge part of Christmas and a big expense. It’s a really good feeling when you tick them off.  

If you've got guests staying why not ask them to contribute some wine or ingredients to reduce your bill. 

Everyone has their own traditions and routines but a month before the big day I prepare the potatoes. I peel them, par boil them then wait for them to cool. Roll them in flour and freeze them. On Christmas Day I take them out of the freezer and cook them from frozen. Works a treat and saves so much time on the day.

On Christmas Eve I get everyone to help prepare the vegetables so that they are ready for the following day. 

For many years now I have cooked the turkey overnight. We often have a huge one as we have lots of guests. I cook it on lowest heat upside down. The family wakes to the smell of turkey and then I turn the heat up in the morning, turn it over and its ready by midday. I cover it and its ready to serve a couple of hours later.

When Christmas arrives and you have a full house do make sure that you take time for yourself. Go and sit in another room quietly. Have a read. Enjoy some peace. Get outside and take in nature. It clears the head and blows away the cobwebs.

If you have a diffuser then add some calming oils to keep you relaxed and those around you!

A favourite blend is Frankincense, mandarin and lavender. Have it on for an hour at a time with a maximum of three hours a day.

I feel less stressed already just writing this! Christmas really is such a special time and I do hope that you all enjoy it. Thank you too for reading my monthly articles.

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.