How to have a calmer Christmas

Here’s my quick guide on How to have a calmer Christmas.

I don’t know about you, but when I think of Christmas it brings up a mixed bag of feelings. Happiness that I get to spend time with my loved ones, but also memories of arguments from Christmases past which were caused by things that could so easily have been avoided.

Some of the things that caused pain, hassle and arguments at Christmas were just so unnecessary and based on what we thought we should be doing at Christmas. On what everyone else was doing at Christmas! It never occurred to us that we had the power and the permission to do Christmas in a way that makes sense to us! 

In order to have a calmer Christmas our family needs: 

image of a family having a perfect christmas ho ho ho

Permission to be less than perfect.

It may seem that everyone else is having this perfect Christmas – where everyone is happy, in a good mood, feeling sociable, with food that is practically perfect in every way.  But life is rarely like what we see in films. People fight and argue, people don’t want to spend all day in a room cooped up together.

People may want to watch different things to each other and that’s fine! It’s absolutely ok to spend time in different rooms for part of the day, to watch different things or take turns in picking what to watch.

Teenagers may want to slope off back to their rooms after present opening – honestly I’d just let them. They’ll reappear again when they get hungry! 

How to have a calmer Christmas. Ditch sprouts image of bowl of sprouts on blue background

Permission to ditch things you don’t like!

It’s ok if you don’t fancy eating sprouts or would prefer to have an Indian takeaway rather than turkey. It’s ok to not invite that annoying relative (that probably doesn’t want to be there anyway!)

It’s ok to create an elaborate menu with lots of choice and homemade goodies if that’s what you fancy but equally it’s ok for you to buy everything pre-chopped, frozen or pre-made if that’s what would make sense for you.

Or delegate so that one person peels the carrots and someone else stuffs the turkey etc. Or ditch the cooking completely and go out for lunch.

This is your day, do what makes sense for you! If that means letting Aunt Bessie and the air fryer help you with Christmas dinner, so be it.

Image of a string of Christmas toys

Permission to do things your way in your own time

It’s even ok to move your main Christmas dinner to another time entirely. We used to have ours on Christmas Eve evening which meant that the whole of Christmas Day could be spent playing with the children’s toys (Yes, we did let them have a go too, before you start!) 

How to have a calmer Christmas. Take time for yourself. Image of woman in pink reading

Permission to take time for yourself 

Going back to my earlier comment about not needing to be cooped up in the same room as your relatives for 5 days straight, it is ok for you to take some time to yourself if you like.

You may want to take yourself out for a walk on your own, or to have some quiet time with a good book and a hot chocolate, or spending time doing hobbies, writing in your journal or notebook or simply taking a much needed nap!

Repeat after me… you do NOT need to be with your (perfectly healthy) adult relatives 24 hours a day all over Christmas. And your relatives probably don’t want to be cooped up with you 24 hours a day either! haha

How to have a calmer christmas. Curate inviations. Image of people partying in the dark

Permission to curate invitations

There was a saying I heard a while ago which was essentially ‘if it’s not a h*ll yeah it’s a no’ and that’s a very useful motto to have at this time of year. You will be invited to numerous events and it can be exhausting if you attend them all. So think about each invitation and decline any that don’t immediately make you think ‘h*ll yeah!’ This means you have energy and emotional capacity for those invitations you do accept. 

how to have a calmer christmas. Image of pink gifts and pink baubles

Permission to not reciprocate gifts

Do you nee to give a gift back of equal size, value or proportion? Or give a gift back at all? Absolutely not! Unless you specifically want to. Most people have enough stuff and there is plenty of pleasure for the giver giving the gift. It does NOT need to be a reciprocal arrangement.  

Top Tip for Christmas:

Get a box or basket and put in it essentials like a bin bag or two, a small cross-pointed screwdriver, a range of batteries if you have children, a piece of A4 paper and a pen. This way you’re not searching for the above when people are wanting to open their presents!

You can use the piece of paper and a pen to jot down who bought who what to make thank you card writing so much easier. Or get sticky tape and tape the tag to the present.

Further Reading.

Here are some of my other Christmas based Blog Posts 


Sarah Cooper

Sarah Cooper

I am a Reflexologist, Reiki Master Practitioner and Writer from Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire. I love writing about Health and Wellbeing, Mind Body Spirit and Reflexology. When I’m not at work, you can find me in the kitchen cooking up a storm!

If you’d like to book a treatment please go to

Sarah Cooper


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