Surviving Christmas

surviving christmas

The Christmas season is fast approaching, and after what I personally feel has been a tough year, I am looking forward to the Christmas season. It feels like a lot of other people are too, because I haven’t seen this many in store decorations this early in the year in a long time. But, Christmas can also be a pretty stressful time for many people, so here are some tips for Surviving Christmas this year.


Plan Ahead

Christmas is a very busy time, and last minute rushing around tends to add to that stress. Make sure that you plan ahead for the events that you want to host, or go to. Decide how you want to cater them and on your budget. Keep an eye out for good specials – especially on things that you can freeze now, or keep for later.

Now is the time to experiment with any new recipes that you want to try. Trying out a new recipe on the day of an event can lead to disaster. I know that my family are happy to be guinea pigs when it comes to new dishes to try out. And it has saved me a time or two when the recipe has been a flop. (Remember that you can use our EL-W506T to convert your recipes from imperial measurements (ounces and pounds) into metric measurements (grams and kilograms)).



If you are like me, I tend to go a little bit nuts around Christmas time. Having a budget helps to rain the excitement in and plan ahead for those endless days in January before the next payday. If you are worried, put aside some Janaury emergency money so that you don’t run into hiccoughs at the end of the month, and make sure that your debit orders don’t bounce.

Part of budgeting is planning your gift list and how much you want to spend over the season. Dont forget to include your children’s teachers, etc in that list. Try to think of everyone you want to spoil so that you are not surprised later. It also helps to have a couple of emergency gift chocolate boxes, or other small things in case you have unexpected guests, or forget someone (and if you don’t use them, they are a bonus Christmas present for you).

If you are on a tight budget, there are a ton of easy homemade gifts that you can also add. This year my daughter and I are going to be making salt dough Christmas ornaments for her grandparents and teachers. The ingredients are cheap (salt, flour and water) and its a great craft to keep her busy too (here is a link to instructions and a recipe). I also enjoy baking so there will be Christmas biscuits and perhaps some home-made rusks for Christmas morning.

Remember to include any Christmas traditions into your budget. Advent calendars, Christmas books, extra baking goodies, and more, are all part of your Christmas spend.

If you are out shopping it might help to keep a calculator with you as you keep track of your spend. Our little EL-377 is very thin and can easily fit into your purse or handbag.


Make time for yourself

Christmas is an emotional time. It can be stressful and busy and demanding. It can make you want to snap and scream and hide. So, before you reach that stage, take a time out. Have an evening just for you. Take a relaxing bath, watch a movie that you chose, or read a book. Do something that makes you happy.

Take time to remember that you are only human, and that you can’t always do everything that you want to get to. Choose the things that are most important to you. Don’t expect to have a Pinterest Christmas – it will drive you crazy. Do the things that will make your family and you happy.


Make your own family traditions

I really enjoy reading American blogs (and of course pinterest) – there are so many great ideas for Christmas traditions. Unfortunately, many of them don’t work here in sunny South Africa. So we need to create our own.

If you are at the beach, perhaps you can build a sand man. Or you could have Christmas eve cocktails (for those over 18) – something red or green. Perhaps you could have a Christmas eve picnic under the stars. Or throw a pool party. Anything that makes your Christmas fun and memorable.

Another great tradition might be to create a gift for someone who can’t afford to get their own. A little Christmas hamper with some goodies, and some extra needed things (think cookies for the spoils, and practical things like toothpaste, rice and other staples).

Edit: In this heat – making your own Christmas ice cream might be a fun idea. There are lots of great recipes from shaking a bag to proper ice cream machine recipes. (Woolworths taste has a lovely range to try out).

Surviving Christmas Day

If you are hosting, or bringing something to eat, try to make sure you finish most of it the day before. Lots of stuff can be eated up (and can even taste better the next day). Puddings are also great the day after they are made. This means that you will have more time to spend with your loved ones on Christmas day. Remember to share the load with those who are attending the gathering, so that you aren’t overwhelmed.

When things are becoming overwhelming- put yourself in a time out. Take 15 minutes to breath, appreciate your gifts, drink a cup of coffee or rest your eyes. (Make sure you take whatever it is you were cooking off the stove first 😉 )

If you like things neat, Christmas can be a little bit overwhelming. Try to pick up things (like used mugs and glasses, wrapping paper, crackers, and other Christmas discards) between trips to the kitchen, or other rooms. This will make cleaning up less overwhelming later. You can also rope everyone in to clean at the end – lots of hands cleaning up will make everything sparkly in much shorter time.

Avoid difficult topics – politics (be it national or family), covid vaccines, work issues or any other hot button issues that come up. suggests asking family and friends to leave the politics at the door.

Invite someone who would have spent Christmas alone to your dinner. They might have some interesting stories, and would very much appreciate being included in your family shenanigans.

Take time to remember those you’ve lost. There are many families around the world who will be feeling the immense loss of a loved one. Put out a special picture of them, make a toast or do something special in their memory.


Remember the Reason for the Season

While Christmas has become particularly commercialised over the years, remember what you are really celebrating. Remember that you do actually love your family (which is the reason why you went to all of this trouble in the first place) and that you want to spend special quality time with them. If this last year has taught us anything, its that we need to value and cherish the time we have with our loved ones. Don’t be the Christmas grinch – let the relaxed type B side out for a little bit of fun.

Wishing you and your family and friends, a wonderful merry and bright Christmas season.


What are you planning to do this Christmas to make it special? And what are your plans to have a peaceful Christmas?

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