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Tips for a Stress Free Christmas

11th Dec 2014

woman doing yoga in circle of candles

Despite it being dubbed a holiday, Christmas can be a time of stress for all. Fashion writer, stylist, and presenter Annmarie O’Connor tells us that it doesn’t always have to be that way. Here’s how.


It’s very easy to get distracted at this time of year. As abundance fills our tables, shopping trolleys and champagne glasses; mindfulness gets dealt a raw deal. Poor ‘aul mindfulness; it never did stand a chance. That extra glass of fizz, a few more quid on the credit card, the lure of sparkly things and glittery bits – individually innocuous; collectively disastrous. And that’s before we’ve even located the mistletoe. If the prospect of a January ‘Jesus, what have I done?’ moment fills you with dread, best consult these tips on keeping the head.


There’s such a thing as too much togetherness. Despite what festive adverts will have you believe, most families, however close, need time out from the pressure cooker of close quarters and drawing straws for who will bring Auntie Mary her sherry. Feeling the temperature rise? Take a breather: there’s nothing like five minutes in fresh air to put the kibosh on frayed nerves. Better yet, utilise that time to run solo errands for the family – get some head space and primo elf duty kudos to boot.


A mince pie never killed anyone. Two boxes, on the other hand, may well give you heartburn…and a spare tyre. Throw in some daily boozing, Quality Street shmoozing and a few USA biscuits for old times’ sake and energy levels go kissy bye-bye. Balance those Bacchanalian binges with a daily warm water and lemon libation. Heralded as a digestive aid and a liver cleanser, why not add a drop of milk thistle (known for its detoxing properties) to help fast track the internal feel-good factor.


Santa seems to be the only person who makes a list and checks it twice. The rest of us mere mortals opt for panic buying – the net result of too little time, too many people and Slade blasting through the shop speakers. Lest you can live with fobbing off a ‘Grow Your Own Sponge Bob’ on your nearest and dearest, it’s wise to hatch a plan. Try tackling one present at a time rather than running around Grafton Street like Anneka Rice in Treasure Hunt mode. Better to shop well than shop quickly. And remember, buyer’s remorse isn’t just for Christmas; it’s for life.


Not so fun fact: Christmas has more deadlines than most large multi-nationals: last day to post Yuletide cards, last week to order a half decent turkey, last chance to get that singing Elsa doll. Ho Ho Ho, hell nooooooo! When seasonal overwhelm rears its holly-strewn head, make like our favourite Frozen character and let it go. That doesn’t mean slacking off on seasonal duties (those presents won’t wrap themselves). It does however call for a healthy dose of Buddhist-like detachment. The perfect Christmas is one that feels good; not packaged to perfection. If power cuts, interminable traffic and postal strikes do converge, keep your sense of humour at the ready and remember the old adage: ‘this too shall pass’. If nothing else, it’ll make a great sc?al next year.

Annmarie O’Connor

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