Bad Moms 2 is now out, and the audience is laughing out loud watching how the main characters are struggling with Christmas preparations. But when we find ourselves in the middle of Christmas rush, it’s not that funny anymore. Psychologists claim Christmas is one of the most stressful situations in our lives (!). We want it to be perfect – with a beautiful table abounding in home-made traditional dishes, fancy gifts under the Christmas-tree and a gleaming home. But even before Christmas – the day still is only 24 hours long. So the questions is: how do we deal with all that and not overlook the joy of Christmas?
“I must clean it up or my family will judge me.” “If I don’t do this, the mother-in-law will notice and will criticize me as soon as she gets a chance.” “If it’s not clean enough, the guests will think I’m not a good wife and/or mom.” And so, fuelled by other people’s opinion, we throw ourselves into hours of exhausting cleaning up. How about you gain a little perspective? “I used to make it a priority to clean up the entire home, and at the end of the day I was exhausted and deprived of energy,” says Agnieszka Kowalska, graphic designer at Aude. “But I changed my way of thinking a few years ago. I don’t feel I have to act over my head anymore, I just do the surface cleaning. My windows will still be there after Christmas, and we gather around the table in the evening when it’s already dark, so nobody can see they’re not clean (laughs). I prefer to spend more time with the kids, for instance making gingerbreads with them.
A different idea for cleaning up before Christmas comes from Magda Drabek of Pepsico. “I do all the detailed and time consuming cleaning work a month before Christmas, and a few days before the holiday I just do the surface cleaning. If I can’t make it, I employ a cleaning company.”
The world will not end if your apartment is not sterile on Christmas. Christmas dinner is not a visit by the Perfect Housewife doing a white glove test, but a meeting with those who are dear to you. For them, the most important view is not that of the perfect table surrounding, but of you at the table.
The correlation goes like this: the closer we get to Christmas the more shoppers in supermarkets and shopping malls. The phenomenon is confirmed both by research and by shoppers themselves. “This is why before Christmas I buy food online,” explains Asia Korolewska, graphic designer at Aude. “This way I save my time and avoid stressful situations.”
Kasia Ceryngier, production manager at Aude, has assigned her husband with the task ☺ “He does the shopping, I do the cooking. He usually manages to go to the store in the morning to avoid the crowd.”
The crowd, scrum and mercilessly long queues in shopping malls is a real patience test for many people. Try not to plan your shopping in peak hours and save yourself some nerves.
Forming dumplings till 2 a.m., cooking a few kinds of fish simultaneously and serving ten different cakes is the Christmas story of many people in Poland. In the end, you try to hand the leftovers over to your guests or have to throw away the food that went off. “In my family it’s a tradition that no matter who organizes the Christmas dinner, the host is never solely responsible for preparing all the food,” says Agnieszka. “Everyone makes something and brings it with them. We can thus spend far less time in the kitchen, and it’s huge help for the host.”
Maybe it’s worth setting the boundaries to Polish hospitality, and not continuing the non-written Christmas tradition of getting stuck in Christmas food head over ears?
Is there anything more beautiful than the view of true joy of someone who received a present? Not many things. But it can only work if you don’t plan the gift hunting for the last moment. “I buy most of the gifts long in advance, so that there are just a few small things that I need to buy in December. The final month of the year is usually very busy at work, so having all the gifts prepared in advance is a huge relief during Christmas preparations,” says Ania Waśniowska of ING Bank Śląski.
Magda of Pepsico also thinks about the presents in advance, because she plans them… all year round! “This way you can get many bargains. If I see something that I think is a good gift for someone, I don’t mind buying it in the summer and giving it in the winter.”
DHL courier company expects a volume increase by 40 percent before Christmas, and even by up to 70 percent on peak days. This means many of us still buy gifts at the last moment. It’s a pity, because organizing gifts in advance means less work and more peace just before Christmas.
What’s interesting, this year’s study carried out by prezentmarzen.com, most of us are looking forward to Christmas in order to… slow down and get away from everyday life (36%). We also value the time spent with our families (34%) and the Christmas spirit (18%).
Maybe we should forget about chasing perfection, which only exists in Christmas commercials? Move back in time, think of what you hated about the Christmas preparations so far, and then try to find a way to change that. It could turn out the only thing you need to change are your expectations.
If, in turn, you really want to get away from it all, you can choose the solution proposed by our colleague Bożena Makowska, who traditionally spends Christmas… abroad ☺