Have yourself stress free lil Christmas

Words by Mrs McGrath


This year we have learnt a lot about what’s important in life – family, friends, our health and wellbeing and outside spaces. Often Christmas can be stressful, focus on perfection, what we have to do and have. Well – this is our opportunity to maybe do things a little differently and maybe make some new traditions. Anthony asked me to write this I think in the hope that we would manage it ourselves, kitchen wise I’m ok but usually hopelessly last minute on the rest – cards and wrapping particularly! Well this year we are aiming for a stress free Christmas and after the year we have all had we ALL deserve this.

Shop local – when we needed them our local shops and market stalls really were there for us, delivering fruit and veg and other essentials – try and support them and shop locally, use your local butcher, fishmongers, fruit and veg stall and highstreets. You’ll enjoy the Christmassy feel and avoid supermarket Christmas ques.

It’s all in the planning – take ten minutes to decide what you’ll be eating on the big day – breakfast? Lunch and supper? Pin on the fridge and work out what can be done in advance – stuffing can be made and frozen as well as gravy, veggies peeled then in cold water ready for next day (normally xmas eve with Anthony and my mum) we will have lunch @1 as kids will be hungry so I’ll try and get bird on early then have time to finish everything off as the turkey rests for an hour. I don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen all day…then pm will be turkey or salmon sandwiches and cold cuts and bubble and squeak Sunday with rest of leftovers either in a pie or sliced and in fridge for sandwiches, if lots of ham ill freeze that and make a pie or pea and ham soup later on in January.

As Ruairí Stewart aka the Happy-Whole Coach puts it, “Perfection is a myth. We’ve all seen Miracle on 34th Street and had notions that we might be able to recreate that magic in our own lives, but the time comes for realism. Focus on reconnecting with those you hold dearest, no matter what that looks like this year. You don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations of how the season should be enjoyed – do it your way.”

We don’t need to eat and drink to excess – try a meal planner for the holiday period so you can plan what you’re eating and factor in any leftovers so that you have no food waste – great left over meals include, bubble and squeak, turkey curry/stir-fry /fajitas. Or keep some readymade pastry in the fridge and add the left over roast to this and make a Christmas dinner pie, pop in freezer and reheat for an easy Sunday lunch in January. Super chef and all round good guy Tom Kerridge, told the CMTM readers, “Dont Stress, Christmas is a time to enjoy and if that means, you buy ready pre-prepared veg or anything to make your life easier, so be it. Enjoy it !”

Get some fresh air – we all need too and it’s amazing what some fresh air will do to clear heads and cheer everyone up – hoping for snow but even a walk in the rain will help digest and de-stress.

Delegate – be clear about what you need some help with and when give everyone a special job – Anthony your on peeling, dishwasher (I don’t do it right) recycling  and bins.

Make a list of everything that needs doing and by when – then put in date order and try and do one thing a day – Shopping, Cards, wrapping, so that by Christmas Eve you’ll be able to relax – not still wrapping at midnight (if we achieve that it will be a first!!! And we don’t have Mum to help)

Finally – give something back whether it’s your time or a donation there is always someone worse off than you. Lots of them, so help and in return it will be your best gift to yourself.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday


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