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Reduce Your Stress At Christmas By Throwing Off The Shackles Of Tradition
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Reduce Your Stress At Christmas By Throwing Off The Shackles Of Tradition

Many people love Christmas but it can be a really stressful period of time particularly for the people who take charge and make most of the arrangements. Yes, that often is the women, but there are also plenty of men who also run single parent households. Christmas is full of tradition, presents, food, visitors, church, carol singing, parties, shopping – much of it packed into a matter of a week. However, sometimes sticking to certain traditions only adds to the stress at that time of year. If you’d like to reduce your stress at Christmas consider ditching some of your traditions. You may be surprised how much more you enjoy the festive period.

Here are just a few suggestions of traditions that you may want to consider adapting or giving up for a year or so.

Present buying for family and friends.

You may have a tradition of spending large sums of money at Christmas time, which is fine if you can easily afford it, but what’s the point in buying lots of presents if you’re going to then receive lots of credit card bills in January and stress about trying to pay them off? No one needs presents (not even children), so when you need to cut back do so and don’t feel guilty about it. It’s a tradition that you can change if you want to.

Present buying for spouses or partners

Oh dear, how often is this a bone of contention at Christmas. Now I haven’t had a Christmas present from my husband for the last 18 years. No I don’t mind – because I prefer to by myself exactly what I want. On the other hand one of my close friends gets really cross every year when her husband presents her with something she doesn’t want, such as an Apple iPad! When I’ve suggested that she should just tell him what she wants or get it herself, she is absolutely adamant that it’s tradition that presents should be a surprise and he should be able to buy her a suitable present. So every year both of them get really stressed over his choice of presents when they could easily find ways of managing their stress.

Christmas food shopping

No I’m not suggesting you should give up Christmas food shopping. Of course you couldn’t. But if you’re someone who traditionally acts as if the shops are closed for two weeks but still goes shopping in the week between Christmas and New Year – what are you doing? Your less likely to waste food, if you don’t have so much.

Christmas meals

How many people have you heard saying that they or their family don’t like Christmas pudding but they have to have it, because if they didn’t ‘It wouldn’t feel like Christmas’? Equally people feel obliged to have roast turkey and all the trimmings regardless because that’s what you have at Christmas. I’m not criticising anyone’s tradition. I was brought up on roast turkey dinners, and enjoy cooking them, but for the last couple of years, I’ve had fish and chips Christmas Day. Easy to cook, very little washing up, no stress involved and it leaves plenty of time for reading and relaxing and phoning relatives later in the day. Does it still feel like Christmas. Oh yes!

Visiting or entertaining relatives.

Visiting relatives or entertaining them can be one of the most contentious issues at Christmas and can cause all sorts of arguments and upsets. “Well Christmas is all about family...” a friend told me recently, who every year for the last 10 years has dragged herself, husband and 3 children to her in-laws, despite the fact none of them get on and they always land up falling out with each other in a spectacular fashion. It’s a tradition that they really should change. If you know there’s going to be family tensions which can’t be overcome – why make a visit or have people round. You don’t have to set yourself up for additional stress avoid them.


These are just five examples of traditions that you could break with. There are others, especially if you have children. If you really want to reduce the amount of stress you experience at Christmas time, you have to find ways of managing your stress. Question whether you have to do things in a certain way just because that’s the way they’ve always been done. Children in particular are very adaptable to changes. Christmas is supposed to be a fun time of year for everyone. Make sure that you enjoy it.

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