Christmas can often be quite a stressful time. Buying presents, the Christmas dinner…and now new research has shown that 20% of women are dreading the festive get togethers as they worry about the size, look and comfort of their home when entertaining and accommodating for close friends and family.

To help get through the festive period, here are some top tips to have a look at;

• Remember what Christmas is really celebrating. What would the original ‘birthday boy’ think of today’s stressed-out version of Christmas? It might be something like: ‘What has my birthday become?’

• Set Christmas priorities. Spending quality time together can be the very best present for families – especially the younger ones. Bonding time, catching up time and general socialising should take priority over Christmas trappings and the annual present-buying chaos. Everything we do at Christmas should help this process along not detract from it

• Put your expectations through a reality check. It is clear that for many people they are not realistic. Christmas is not a performance like a Christmas play and things often will not go perfectly to plan

• Delegate and outsource. Women should think about what Christmas chores and responsibilities they can realistically and fairly off-load to partners and children. Although many women want to do the cooking from scratch, think about what can be bought/prepared in advance to save some time.

• Limit drink. Too much alcohol is usually a bad idea, for good reason. Being together for 3 days indoors may be a bit much for many, and getting intoxicated on top of this can loosen tongues in the worst of ways. If you suspect someone is likely to have an outburst or is habouring less than loving feelings towards their Mother-in-law think twice about offering them repeated top-ups

• Lose phones, laptops etc. Christmas is time for families and to spend time together, and should be about the here and now with the people we care about. Leave the Smartphones and tablet computers off. Christmas day is about the people closest to you not your top friends on Facebook.

• Remember to rest when you can. In the run up to Christmas, too many parties, late nights and work leaves many women exhausted long before the big day arrives. Sleep-deprivation that builds up during December renders people less able to cope physically and emotionally and that means they are less able to enjoy the celebrations. Wherever possible choose to have rest over the less important Christmas preparations or parties. Remember, get as much sleep as you can get away with on Christmas Eve, its likely to be a long day on the 25th!

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