Christmas is just days away and you are busy rushing around trying to get everything done. You still have to buy presents, do a grocery shop and organise a makeover to ensure you look great for the party season.
You are eager to make this a special event for you and your family and want everything to be just right. So what pitfalls should you avoid? Here are some tips to help guide you in the right direction:-
1. Indigestion. This stomach complaint is synonymous with Christmas when we all tend to go a bit overboard on the drinking and eating front. To avoid this happening this year aim for smaller portions and regularly spaced meals which are kinder to your tummy. Try not to eat late at night, cut down on slow-to-digest fatty foods, such as pastry, meat and chocolate and eat as much fibre as possible. Do not lie down after eating a big meal, sitting up will help you avoid heartburn. Smoking, alcohol, pregnancy and being overweight all aggravate indigestion so if any of these factors apply to you be particularly careful.
2. Overspending. It is all too easy to get caught up in the festive shopping frenzy and go over budget. Everyone is feeling the pinch right now so it is especially important not to go splashing cash needlessly. January and February tend to be lean months when lots of bills come crashing in and you do not want to face 2012 with even greater financial headaches than before.
Aim to limit your spending. If you still have gifts or indeed grocery shopping to buy draw up a budget and vow to stay within it. Set a cash limit for individual gifts such as under €10, €20 or €30 depending on your circumstances and do not go beyond this.
Making a list (and checking it twice like Santa does! ) of what you intend buying for whom and which shops you plan to visit will help keep you on track. And if you come across the gift of the century be sure to snap it up. The city is full of eager shoppers intent on bagging a bargain. If you are not sure about an item pick it up and carry it around the shop with you as you deliberate.
3. Drinking too much. It’s bad for your liver, can give you a sore head and even worse, loosen your tongue so that you feel compelled to be honest about everything from Uncle Joe’s flighty wife to your mother-in-law’s soggy trifle to the fact that your boss possesses charm of postage stamp proportions. Avoid honesty at all costs over Christmas, except of course in financial affairs. While it may lead you on the pathway to heaven it could cost you your job (telling management what you think of them is never advisable unless you plan to speak in glowing terms ), relationship and circle of friends. You will know you have drunk too much if you feel an overwhelming urge to really “tell it as it is”. Run for cover when this happens or stuff your face with Christmas pud or start shovelling down the trifle from hell. Anything to keep you out of harm’s way.
4. Giving unsuitable gifts. The dizzying jumper, the bottle of wine for a non-drinker, the chocolates that not so much melt in your mouth as in the box having been kept in the heat too long or the football book for the brother-in-law who thinks West Ham is a new regional delicacy from Galtee. These all fall into the unwanted present category. The best way to avoid making this faux pas is to think before you buy. Consider the person’s likes and dislikes, hobbies and interests. With a little thought and planning you can please everybody.
5. Mistletoe. (Unless you are free and single ). Otherwise the potent cocktail of festive cheer, fleeting opportunity and seasonal abandon could go to your head and lead you from the path of righteousness. Clasping the doe-eyed one from accounts in a clandestine clinch could be the upshot of a close encounter with this romance inducing plant. Be warned!
6. Becoming Scrooge. Remember mean spirited old Ebeneezer and be determined not to let him become your role model. You may be short of cash but you could bake someone a cake as a Christmas gift, or offer to babysit, or visit a lonely older person or be a listening ear for someone troubled. Even if your own life is not going in the direction you would like try to reach out to others and be generous with your time, praise and love.
7. Lack of sleep. It will leave you feeling ratty and lacking in energy and you will end up yawning in people’s faces convincing them that they are crashing bores. Try to get a few early nights before Christmas so you will have enough energy to get you through the holiday season. Sleep recharges your batteries and will give your body’s repair system a chance to get working.
8. Being overburdened. You will not get a halo for doing everything yourself to the point of exhaustion. Get in-laws, partners and children to give a hand. Assign duties to your own family in the days leading up to Christmas day. If you are having guests over draw up a detailed cooking timetable and pin it in the kitchen. Include in it times to put on dinner, prepare dessert, have drinks, etc. That way you will not forget anything.
9. Rows. If your family tends to disagree over everything from who gets the most comfortable chair to portion sizes vow to break this destructive behaviour pattern this year. Be on high alert for signs that trouble is brewing and change the subject or interrupt with offers of second helpings. Or you could invite a friend along, maybe someone who would be alone that day. This will help defuse family tensions and get you into the spirit of the season. People tend to be on their best behaviour when there is a guest around.
10. Staying indoors all the time. It is all too easy to spend the Christmas period eating, drinking and sleeping and not bothering to go outdoors. If the weather is bad it is even more tempting to move closer to the fire. Try to get out, even for a short walk, most days. A regular exercise routine, even a walk around town, is all that is needed. Twenty minutes, three to four times a week, is ideal. This will help work off a heavy lunch, clear your lungs and give you an appetite for tea.