1. Focus on What You Want
What does Christmas mean to you? Sit down and decide what the most important thing about Christmas to you. Is it the Christmas dinner? Is it meeting friends and family? Is it partying? Time off work and rest? Giving and receiving presents?
Decide what your top 3 priorities are for Christmas and spend your time, energy and budget on these 3 areas. If you don’t get to do everything you thought you would, remember these priorities and focus on what you can do to make these happen. Don’t waste time and energy bemoaning the things you can’t do.

2. Plan Ahead
Now that you have identified the areas where you will focus your attention, it’s time to get your thoughts out of your head and down on paper. As long as you keep it all in your head, these thoughts will continue to whirl round and round until you are dizzy! By putting them all down on paper you will no longer have to worry about forgetting them and you will clear some space for some forward planning.
Make lists and schedule the tasks to be done in order of priority. Be sure to allocate enough time to each task and follow through. Place your list in a prominent place where you will see it repeatedly during the day. This might be on your calendar, on your phone, or save it as your screensaver for December!

3. Be Your Own Best Friend
Gift yourself this year with some time for yourself, to replenish your body’s energy. Schedule some time every day to do something you enjoy doing. It may be simply taking a bath, reading a book, going for a walk, enjoying some golf, yoga, or meditation. Even 5 minutes deep breathing between activities can make a big difference to your energy levels

Plan your schedule so that your late night parties don’t coincide with a long to-do list the following day.

4. Give the Gift of Your Presence
Many of us are operating from tight budgets. A very welcome, low-cost and high-value gift is time. Carving out some time to spend with loved ones is a precious and treasured gift. The key to making this work is to make sure you give others your full attention. Think of how much you would value this gift yourself this Christmas.

Where possible, agree with friends and family in advance that you will share the gift of time, and maybe a simple meal, as your present to each other this year.

5. Keep It Simple
You have identified your top priorities for Christmas. Decide now to say ‘no’ to anything that will get in the way of these priorities or put them at risk.

Keep meals, entertaining, gifts, and decorations simple. We remember who we spent time with, and the memories we created, long after we forget what we ate & drank, what we wore and what the house looked like.

Busy doesn’t have to equal stress, so keep in mind the spirit of Christmas and when all the work is done, relax, enjoy yourself and the people you are with, and laugh a lot. The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of friends and family all wrapped up in each other. This is the best stress-buster of all!

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