The Christmas rollercoaster of emotions is real. Christmas ads tell us it’s the time for the family to come together about a perfectly roasted turkey, but the reality winds up some distance from that ideal scenario – and that’s okay. Yes, there’s a main course of merriment and fun, but there’s also a hefty side order of stress and seasonal bloating, so here’s how to get through the lot without physically and/or emotionally exploding.
It’s now December so we’re officially allowed to get excited for Christmas. Putting up decorations, sipping on mulled wine and imagining happy faces opening perfectly gift-wrapped presents are all fair game. We’re not yet bored by the infinite and inescapable loop of Christmas tunes or overwhelmed by what we’ve got left to do. It’s the perfect time to enjoy the anticipation.
Ride this tide of excitement while it lasts, do Christmassy things with friends and family and channel your enthusiasm into getting festive tasks done. The more you can achieve in this fresh phase will serve as the groundwork for a better you come the big day.
Before you know it, December 24th has rolled round and those gifts look like they’ve just been plucked the shelf; they haven’t got a scrap of paper on them, they’re totally naked! Everyone’s arriving tomorrow and you’re yet to vacuum the stairs, defrost the turkey or put clean towels in the guest bathroom. The warm anticipation of spending three uninterrupted days with your family suddenly turns to the dread of three uninterrupted days with your family!
Obviously, being better organised would have helped this situation, but by now, it’s too late. The best thing you can do is prioritise and tick the most important things off your to-do list. Throw unwrapped presents into gift bags, let your family help with unfinished tasks and resign yourself to the fact that it will be a good if not perfect Christmas.
The sense of relief when everyone arrives is strong. Nobody’s noticed that you haven’t vacuumed under the sofa or that a whole world of mess would flood in to the hallway if they dared to open the cupboard under the stairs. Everyone’s got a drink in their hand and it’s great to be surrounded by loved ones.
Once the drinks are flowing and the Christmas food is served, you’ll settle down into the true mood of the festive season: merriment. This is the culmination of all your hard work and should be revelled in if only for one day. It starts with a buck’s fizz at breakfast, continues with wine while cooking and eating the dinner and fully takes hold as you cram in some cheese to justify the glass of port at the end of the meal.
Being bloated is a fact of life at Christmas. There’s just so much nice food to eat that you can’t quite hold yourself back, no matter how ill-advised that extra roast potato is or the lack of space left for a warmed mince pie. And then someone starts to hand round the tub of Christmas chocolates…
Be sure to factor in a wintry walk after your main Christmas meal to help everyone burn off some of the calories. It’ll make you feel much more comfortable and prepare your body for the next round of eating that is all but inevitable.
Grandma’s dosing through the Queen’s speech, dad’s rooting around in drawers to find batteries for the new toys and the kids are playing happily under the tree. Despite everyone doing their own thing, there’s a warming sense of togetherness, which unites everyone on Christmas Day.