Magazine articles leading up to Christmas gets our blood boiling. 'How to create a stress free Christmas', '10 tips to easy Christmas' and so on. So it was very refreshing to read Richard Godwin's brilliant article in Evening Standard a couple of days ago. "It is that special time of year when instances of marital violence increase by one-third and gender relations revert to 1957." says Godwin. (This article really is worth a read, girls, so do click on the link!!)
Gender relations falling back in standards to such degree, (women are tied back to the kitchen and guys drinking gin and enjoying themselves) we women should take advantage of this position of strength. We are actually calling all the shots at Christmas! If we are the one's who shop, cook, clean and decorate surely we then get to choose what traditions we follow and how the whole operation is organised!
This year, before you dive into it, take a 30 minute break from all the madness to sit down and write what kind of Christmas you really want for yourself and your family. Then plan accordingly and don't let anyone bully you into any silly excess that requires ridiculous amount of work from your part.
1) Who does your Christmas traditions serve?
Are your family's Christmas traditions created to serve you and your family or are they simply defined to please others? Are they a list of things that has to happen because you think your friends/ neighbours/ relatives/ magazines/ (your inner voice...) says so? Or have you designed your family schedule to fit who you are as a person and as a family? You should ruthlessly drop anything that doesn't serve the purpose.
2) What kind of present would you rather get?
If you have small children it's tough to escape the mountain of gifts, and fair enough, as much as I want to teach my children other values beyond the worship of material goods, I also don't want them to be growing up thinking plenty is bad. However, when you get a little older it's time to explore the other avenues of giving and receiving. Charitable gifts are always a good choice, but what if we'd write in our Santa's lists things we want to learn or how we want to feel or who we want to spend uninterrupted time with? Wouldn't it be refreshing if instead of yet another bottle of perfume you'd get a gift such as 'Learn Positive Thinking' or '24h of Uninterrupted Adult Time' from your partner!
3) Does your Christmas menu define who you are?
'How to survive Christmas without too many calories'. This must be the most stupid magazine tittle I've seen for a while! It depends on where you come from but normally Christmas lasts between two or three days. It leaves a total of 362 days in the calendar year. Surely what you eat the rest of the year determines how you look and feel rather than what you eat at Christmas. Are you putting too much unnecessary pressure on yourself? What you eat at Christmas doesn't define your looks or your weight, it's what you eat the rest of the year that matters.
We wish all women would give themselves a break this Christmas. We wish everybody would find a balance between effort and relaxation. There is a sweet spot somewhere between ambition and not taking it all too seriously. And do take advantage of the fact you are in charge. If they want both stuffing AND bread sauce - well, I'd simply tell them to come to the kitchen and make it!
Merry Christmas from the lovely girls at DrivenWoman :)
~ Miisa & Jennifer