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General Articles

How to Survive Christmas – Five tips that actually work

By Judy Churchill

I’m sure that on your bookshelf somewhere you’ve got one of those humorous, long-winded books on how to survive Christmas. They make a good read but I find they don’t really work because they in themselves become part of the problem: i.e. one more thing to read on a never-ending, end-of-year, task list. So, for my last article of 2018 I thought that my Christmas gift to you would be to help to SIMPLIFY the process and share my five top personal tips that I find actually work.

  1. Start by decluttering: give away right now as much as you possibly can, clothes, shoes, costume jewellery, objects, bedding, books, games, toys, unused toiletries (someone will inevitably give you some more), pictures languishing in cupboards etc. etc. etc….. You will make someone’s Christmas, feel great and recover some much-needed space. By giving things away you’ll realise how much ‘stuff’ you already have and the temptation to overload yourself or the children with yet more ‘stuff’ will be lessened.

  1. Minimal decoration: what goes up has to come down! Although it doesn’t feel like you spend that much time putting up all those decorations, oh boy what a task when you have to take them down. There is nothing so depressing as taking down and packing away Christmas decorations. Less is more is the motto . Do yourself a favour and opt for ‘natural decorations’ all of which can be thrown into the compost at the end of the festive season. Take yourself, dogs, kids into the mountains or the woods and collect whatever you can find on the ground. The children will have endless ‘quiet’ fun putting together their creative masterpieces and you will have all had some exercise into the bargain.

  1. Exercise: on the subject of exercise, aim to get outside once a day for some kind of physical activity, biking, walking, jogging, keep fit exercises using your stairs or balcony as a gym. I find it’s a life saver. It gets you away from the many screens that plague our lives, will give you some quiet ‘me’ time, keep you fit, help off-set the overeating/drinking and set you in good stead for the next dose of charades. My personal motto is ‘spend more time in the mountains not in the shops’.

  1. Giving company versus gifts: rather than overspending on sack loads of gifts for everyone, remember that ‘doing things’ with people or keeping them company is a far more precious gift. Most of us have too much of everything already but many people are short on company. Give the gift of your time to your family and friends to play games, take them to the pantomime, ballet, bowling etc. and if you know someone who is particularly lonely, maybe pop round with some mince pies or whatever your national equivalent Christmas festive food is.

  1. Be yourself: there is great pressure on everyone to walk around like Cheshire cats wearing a face of permanent Christmas cheer. Give yourself a break! If you are not angelic for 11 months of the year there’s little chance you’ll morph into an angel on Christmas eve. Not only can this time of the year be very stressful with the pressure to be ‘christmassy’ but you are also undoubtedly going to be thrown together with a whole load of relatives/neighbours that you spend the rest of the year avoiding. You don’t need to be in a permanent good mood. Aim for civility, saying what you feel in a polite way and just help diffuse any tension that you can see building up around you.

Remember January is just around the corner and things will soon return to normal and you will have survived ….well hopefully!

Judy is based in Monaco and specialises in transformational coaching working with both individuals and companies. 

Judy is also a qualified language teacher/trainer for adults and children in French, English and Spanish.

If you would like to receive coaching, communication skills training, language tutoring or certified translating from Judy, you can contact her or via Facebook messenger and

Saturday, 1 December 2018    Section: General Articles
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