My top 5 tips for a less stressful COVID Christmas 2020
Updated: Dec 12, 2020
2020 has been something special hasn’t it….!! We’re at the tail end of it now and 2021 is not far away. With a vaccine doing the rounds, hopefully this means the future is bright.
Christmas is going to be different this year. We had plans to go to Lapland, in fact I should be in Helsinki today, looking at the city and visiting the Christmas markets, getting ready for the overnight Polar express to Rovaniemi tonight and having 6 days in Lapland. I shed a few tears over this yesterday when we should have been flying there, looking at pictures of Rovaniemi and the snow. It’s rubbish, there are so many things I am thankful for but I’m also allowed to feel a bit sad and pissed off as well.
I’ve been planning Christmas and wanted to share my TOP FIVE tips for a 2020 Christmas. Please comment with your own tips and we’ll amass a wealth of tips and advice. I’ve just uploaded a video guide to our family YouTube channel, so take a look
1. Get yourself a Christmas kit bag ready!
I put a gift bag under the tree filled with stuff I may need on the big day. Essentially this is designed to stop me having to get off my butt on Christmas morning, by ‘packing’ the essentials to a) make my life easier; b) reduce my stress; c) allow me to be a lazy bugger!
My bag will contain the following:
Scissors - to help with unpacking toys from the packaging
AA and AAA batteries, C and D if you think you might need them.
A spare Christmas gift such as chocolate or wine in case of unexpected gifts
A pen & paper - write down who get the kids what so you can thank people accordingly
Mini-first aid - plasters, paracetamol
Bin bags - have two - one for rubbish, one for recycling
2. Preparation is the key
Buy the cupboard stock in advance - mince pies/Christmas pud/custard and moreBox them away! Otherwise you’ll have to buy them twice!! One box of mince pies was lost in the creation of this list!
Remember what you have so you don’t over do it!
Prep Prep Prep the day before
Precut your veg and store in slightly salted water
Pre-lay the table if you can, at least get the plates/cutlery and so on ready in a pile for easy table laying
Think of yourself as clocking off from prep by 6pm on Christmas eve so you can properly relax before the big day
Charging and battery power - Make sure your phone or camera is charged ready for photos and videos. However live in the moment rather than trying to get the right photo. Authenticity rather than picture perfect life.
(Saying that - this will be an odd one for us now we have a vlog as I’ll be filming more than I usually do (which is minimal!), I hope it doesn’t affect my day. I’m not sure when I’ll upload though, I don’t really want to be editing on the computer on Christmas day so I’ll play it by ear.
3. Keep it simple
What are your cherished childhood Christmas memories? Insta-perfect centrepieces on the table? Matching PJ’s and hot chocolate bomb? Handcrafted Christmas crackers? Probably not. What do I remember about Christmas? Time with my parents and grandparents, Christmas dinner, Christmas crackers with paper hats and jokes, opening presents and spending all day playing with them. I can’t remember if we have centre-pieces and table decorations, these things look nice but in my opinion they aren’t important. Our Christmases were perfect and are such fond memories. We are not an insta-perfect family, we’re messy and a little chaotic. That is fine, don’t aspire to images that you can’t achieve and will stress you out. This will take your joy away. If you can nail this stuff usually, then crack on and I’m pleased for you. Me however, I strive for matching placemats and plates full of food!
Make breakfast simple with croissants, crumpets or something - aim for easy to prep, minimal mess made and easy to clean away. Also if Breakfast is a mince pie and selection box chocolate - so be it!
Keep the food simple:
- Olivia and Molly’s favourite part of a roast dinner (well second to dessert!!!) is ‘Nanny mash’ which is premade fresh mash potato! How much easier is that than prepping it yourself.
- What other shortcuts can you make? Do what works for your family
4. Acknowledge the pressure - for you and the world around you
COVID means anything can happen. In December so far I’ve had a child in isolation for every day apart from 1, and this will be the case until the 20th. If my youngest develops COVID, seeing family is off and we’ll be hoping that we stay well. Therefore, we need plan a, plan b and so on. How we’re approaching this is:
- Have back up options - we’re hosting my parents and nana for Christmas
* My parents have a back up meal for them and my nan if we have to
* If my parents have to isolate, my nana will come to up
* If both my parents and I have to isolate, my nan has frozen meals and
her own Christmas pudding so she can have her own Christmas if needed.
- Wales have announced that we’re moving to a tiered system next week - this
may mean socialising indoors at all is cancelled. We have a back up plan to
meet for a walk!
- Having back-ups has reduced the stress for us all. It gives us some semblance
of control and it is easier to cope with the uncertainty
Another point, and something I am aware of, is my Christmas is likely to be ok for us, not too dissimilar to usual as we have a small family. Sure, we’ve missed out on things that we’d usually do such as a minibreak with our friends to meet Santa, a weekend with my husbands family, and more. This year was our once in a lifetime holiday to Lapland
- This year will be an odd one and a lot of people are going to have a very
different Christmas. This doesn’t mean it will be bad, it’ll just be different.
Christmas is not cancelled.
- Be kind to yourselves. It’s fine to mourn the loss of what you wanted to do for
Christmas, but don’t let it overtake every moment.
- I’m focusing on the positives - for me as a doctor, having the two weeks
before Christmas mostly off is absolutely unheard of! So I feel quite happy
about Christmas and spending it with my family.
- However If I go around chatting happily about my positive approach, I will piss
off people who are facing a particularly tough Christmas.
- So be upbeat but don’t smack others in the face with being upbeat and
acknowledge that for some people this Christmas will be the shittiest ever.
5. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. We may have a vaccine now but it’ll be months before the world returns to some level of normality. I’m scared of the rise in cases locally at the moment, so many school years off isolating this month when this hasn’t been so much of an issue between September and November. Just because we can mix with 4 households in a cafe or restaurant, doesn’t mean we have to. Don’t forget each of these may be socialising with a different 3 friends, and them with a different three - you can see how quickly it can spread. I tried to show this in a diagram but I’m not an artist. Remember people are contagious 48 hours before symptoms and some will be asymptomatic. Do what you feel is right but don’t feel that you have to, just because you are able to.
So that’s it. That is my five top tips for a COVID Christmas 2020. We've got this people and this shitty year is nearly over!
Stay safe and have a very Merry Christmas xx