Your perfect Christmas

Blog posted

11th December 2015

Chances are you will probably fall into one or two camps as we race headlong towards Christmas. I hope you have some fun choosing which camp you relate to the most…..

CAMP A

You find the whole thing tiresome and stressful – buying, writing and sending cards; sorting out a tree and putting up decorations; organising presents; choosing your preferred Christmas lunch venue without upsetting the other side of the family; and then dreading that seemingly endless Christmas Day that drifts into argumentative board games or choice of television programme in the evening when everyone is tired and tricky.

There are a few thoughts out there on the Internet to make life slightly more bearable for members of Camp A.  Here is a selection which I hope you enjoy reading: 

The Christmas card slog

Just send Christmas cards to people you don’t see very often.  So many of us send them to neighbours, close family, people we see at our clubs or societies.  Why?  Just wish those in your immediate social circle a happy Christmas.  Fewer cards to buy means less money; less postage; less work and less stress.

There is another Christmas card strategy that involves sending the same card backwards and forwards each year. Find out how this works, courtesy of The Women’s Room blog. 

Decorations galore – fake or the real deal

Delegate this role to a family member – son, daughter, grandchildren.  Very often, they love doing it.  If a ‘real’ tree is too much bother, go artificial.  You can still make your home festive and welcoming without major upheavel and stress. The secret is to keep it simple. Here’s what folk on Mumsnet have to say on the situation to stay real or go artificial.  

Present buying headaches 

If you are unsure about what to buy someone – don’t.  Opt for a gift voucher from a major high street department store.  Or go for a universal present like chocolates; alcohol or similar.  Fashion and cosmetics are very personal, unless you are sure – avoid them.  At the end of the day, it’s the thought that counts! Here are some very helpful tips from the Telegraph on best vouchers this Christmas.

The dreaded Christmas lunch

Both your children invite you to theirs for lunch. Which one do you choose?  Simple – alternate year on year.  Visit one child for lunch one year and the other the next.  Then perhaps have them both round to yours on Boxing Day for a late lunch/early supper. That way, you avoid upsetting anyone. And when you are tired after a long, lazy lunch and tempers start to fray, you can make your excuses and head home.

CAMP B

Camp B embraces everything about Christmas – plans meticulously; loves choosing the cards and presents and carefully writing personalised messages in each; then hosts Christmas Day lunch and invites all the family for a wonderful, uplifting family reunion.  If you fall into this group, you may also be the kind of person that freshens up their Christmas decorations every year, possibly with a colour theme.

If you fall into this particular camp you will recognise some of the following thoughts and actions…..

Christmas card production line

Produce a spreadsheet of all the people you know and want to send cards to.  Use that as your Christmas database.  You can add, delete, amend as appropriate and simply print off address labels for envelopes.  Personalise the messages in each card and do all this while enjoying a glass of wine or sherry, with Christmas music on in the background.  It’s the start of Christmas after all.
Here are some more Christmas tips to help get you organised, via Pinterest

Decorations – it’s all in the planning

Camp B members definitely plan their decorations. They probably have a different theme each year and supplement their boxes of decorations annually from the wonderful displays in John Lewis or Debenhams. External lights adorn the garden and house; this whole process is integral to the Christmas experience.
Better Homes and Gardens magazine provides some useful additional tips for you to take on board this festive season. 

Professional present organiser

Camp B keep lists of the presents they give people every year. They spend lots of time online, in shops and reading magazines to come up with a really creative present. No socks or gift vouchers for these people.They probably know exactly what they want to buy before they set off to the local department store; and in many cases may never even venture that far – preferring instead to buy everything online and have it delivered to their home.
Check out this master gift list, originating from our American counterparts.

Christmas lunch – the devil is in the detail

Camp B always host Christmas and go big.  No emergency chairs for these people – they are all matching; and every little detail is taken care of from the pre-lunch drinks to the choice of wines; and then the post-lunch activities which will probably involve a brief walk to blow away the cobwebs.
For those of us who don’t quite conform to this approach, this foolproof Christmas dinner planner from the Telegraph is well worth a read. 

So which camp do you fall into?  There is a halfway house which could involve having Christmas out somewhere with your family; or hiring a cottage and enjoying a family reunion; or simply staying at home and having a quiet and reflective day with your nearest and dearest and remembering the true meaning of Christmas.

Whatever you opt for you can be sure that as a resident of Retirement Villages, you will not be short of friends, neighbours and social events to help you through the festive period.  The lovely thing is you have the freedom to choose.  That is what makes our villages so special.

Whether you’re in Camp A, Camp B or neither – have a wonderfully fulfilling and peaceful Christmas.

Sarah Burgess

Sales and Marketing Director

Retirement Villages