This Christmas, instead of running around like a turkey with an aversion to stuffing, I’m going to be channelling my inner John Farnham. I’m going to “take the pressure down”.
In my household, with two small kids and two working parents, we’re pretty busy most of the time. At Christmas we’re even busier, with Christmas parties, preschool graduations and no end of end-of-year gatherings. That is part of what makes this the most wonderful time of the year. It’s spending time with people we love, celebrating our achievements and remembering how much we have to be thankful for.
Of course, there’s also gift giving and feasting on holiday foods, as well as the cultural or religious traditions your family adheres to. But if all these events are going to make it onto the calendar, and if I’m going to make it to January with any calm left, then something will have to give this year.
I’ve decided I can’t do it all, and I don’t have to.
Our family is doing a Secret Santa for the grown-ups’ Christmas presents, so we each only need to buy one thoughtful present for one person. It means I can focus on really thinking about the needs or desires of my one gift recipient. It’s a nice alternative to hastily running around shopping centres or spending hours online, looking for minor gifts for 7 different people which will probably end up thrown away or cluttering up a cupboard somewhere.
When it comes to Christmas food, I usually love baking special treats, making reindeer faces out of pretzels, or trying to stick walls of gingerbread together with nothing but the magic of egg whites and icing sugar. I cook fruity, boozy Christmas cakes and experiment with summer sorbets.
This year, I won’t have time. And I’m not going to let it get me down.
I’m grateful that I live in a place where I can buy mince tarts from the bakery, that mangoes are a perfectly acceptable dessert option, and that we have the means to be able to enjoy these little luxuries.
I won’t be making hand-sewn gifts for my friends’ children, or supplying the neighbourhood with shortbread, but something tells me it’ll be alright. Instead, I’m aiming to farewell the year feeling relatively relaxed, enjoying the festive season and getting to bed at a reasonable hour.
The only one putting pressure on me to deliver a particular Christmas experience in the past has been myself. And this time I’ll be taking it easy.