people on christmas tree at home during winter

Christmas Survival: tips for enjoying the big day

Tips for surviving the Christmas season

So you have battled your way around the shops and numerous Christmas bazaar’s, school fetes and nativity plays and the day itself is looming. Despite the excitement many of us feel at this time of year, spending a whole day with certain members of the family can be tiring at the best of times. Here we have put together some advice for making sure you really do feel the festive cheer this year!


Be Prepared

As the modern day proverb tells us, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’. It isn’t one of the most common sayings out there but I like the sound of it, and when it comes to Christmas planning is everything.

When it comes to the food (if you are responsible for this task) lists, planning and timing is everything. I’m not sure I could stress enough how important this is in keeping the stress-monsters at bay this Christmas. With everything else you have to deal with, letting the food get the better of you is no way to enjoy yourself.

Make a list NOW – you may have a couple of weeks left, but things like large turkeys generally need to be pre-ordered. If you are no fan of the traditional meat choice, why not try a nice beef joint or (if cost is more of a concern) a beautiful piece of pork cooked well can be a lot more enjoyable than a dry piece of turkey. Click here for an interesting article with some handy ideas for Christmas alternative menus.

Being prepared on the food side of things is all about figuring out food options that you can prepare in advance. Things that freeze are always brilliant – you can prepare in advance and just pop them out the freezer the night before to thaw. Remember, the vegetables can be prepared the day before and even potatoes can be par-boiled ready to warm up in the microwave and pop in the oven on the day. All these little things will help you relax and enjoy that glass of bubbly on Christmas Day all the more.


Entertainment at the Ready!

You have the presents wrapped and the food and drink sorted but how will you keep everyone happy on the day. You may think it is not really your responsibility to make sure Uncle Martin is entertained, but keeping people occupied will make for a better feeling all round.

Why not ask all the adults to bring a party piece or game. Then the pressure is not entirely on you to bring all the fun ideas to the table. The musical ones can do a turn on their instruments (children included) and the not-so-musical could create a small quiz or game for everyone to play. If you all take it in turns throughout the day you will keep everyone entertained during the lulls between presents, food and that tv special everyone wants to watch. You may not end up getting through them all – but this may be a good thing if you have Boxing Day to keep the hoards entertained too.



Games, games, games…

I think it is one thing that people think they should do at Christmas, but really don’t want to. I think there are plenty of games out there now which will honestly get the whole family going, no matter how old they are. Having a couple of different games up your sleeve will quell the boredom and hopefully stop the children from running riot – it may even keep grandma from snoring in her chair! For more ideas, head to our main Christmas section.

If you were looking to purchase a family game and have a bit of room try a Giant Jenga, you can find three different sized sets here  (the Mega Hi Tower being the most compact) and it is an addictive game suitable for the little ones all the way up to old Uncle Fred. It may also come in handy next summer while you are having a BBQ so it’s always a good longer term investment.


Don’t be a martyr…

It is very often I hear people whinging about doing everything at Christmas and not enjoying themselves, but often they take it all on and don’t accept help offered  (or ask for help where needed). The world will keep turning if the carrots are not cooked to perfection so make sure you take a load off and enjoy the time with the family. It is not often that you spend time with them so make it a good time or you will resent every minute!

Getting every member of the family involved in some aspect will prevent any one person from feeling like a slave and will also make sure people all appreciate what you have done. Even if it is simply asking each member of the family for a bit of entertainment, food preparation or setting the table. This will be one less thing on your mind and a few more moments spent enjoying yourself.



If you enjoyed our tips or have some of your own don’t forget to tell us all about them! Tag us @theplayexperts or use #littleplayexpert or #bigplayexpert to share with everyone what you have been up to.