Galway Advertiser 2000/2000_12_21/GA_21122000_E1_018.pdf 

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Galway Advertiser 2000/2000_12_21/GA_21122000_E1_018.pdf

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Eat, drink, and be merry is the motto for many as they get in the mood for the season of goodwill. But first, there are presents to be wrapped, cakes to be iced, and presents to be bought. That is, if like most of us, you are not terribly organised and could well be hitting the shops on Christmas Eve to buy last minute pres ents and important food items. If you have a tendency to fuss and flap and get into a state each Christmas, here are some tips to help you avoid seasonal stressors and really enjoy the season of goodwill this year.



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C O U N T D O W N T I M E has begun. Christmas is almost here and people are busy ticking off the days and hours until the real festivities begin.
5. Give yourself a break. Try not to get bogged down by what lies ahead. When you have compiled your list of tasks, evaluate each as something you have to do or something you want to do. Realising you have a choice will leave you feeling less overwhelmed. 6. Cheat. If time is running out and you already feel weary, cut comers. Buy mince pies instead of baking them, charm sales assistants into gift wrapping all your pressies, and don't feel obliged to tidy every cupboard on Christmas Eve. Just make sure the chimney's clean and that there is sufficient tipple left out for Santa. 7. Listen to your children. They love this time of year and will be rabbiting on non-stop about presents, Santa, staying up late, and eating too many sweets. It is easy to get caught op in the preparations and to forget about them. Make sure to listen when they are happy and content. If they whine and moan for attention, perhaps they feel they have to in order to get you to listen. 8. Be wary of making promises. This applies to everyone from your threeyear-old to your Great Aunt Maud. Don't promise anything unless you are sure you can keep it. 9. Plan television viewing. Get a tele vision guide and decide what all of you would like to watch over the holiday. Negotiate who wants to watch what. 10. Have realistic expectations. Most of us ejipect too much. We want to be entertained round the clock and feel loved, wanted, and pampered. Accept there will be times when you will feel angry, bored, stressed out, and miserable as you would during any holiday break. > Avoid shopping during peak times when you have to fight your way through the crowds 11. Do not be drawn into arguments. If someone else's temper is fraying keep out of the way or take a few deep breaths. One cross word from you could make matters worse. thing in the run up to Christmas. Write down everything you must do from get ting your hair cut to shopping, domestic duties, collecting your parents from the train, etc. Having a structure will help you focus on what is important. Try not to leave cv c ^ thing until the last minute. The more you get through the better you will feel. 4. Enlist help. Get your family to help with the preparations, especially on Christmas Day. Don't refuse any offers of assistance, even from the little ones. 12. Avoid a f t e r - d i n n e r b o r e d o m . Have games and quizzes ready just in case. But don't ruin everything by mak ing joining in compulsory. 13. Count your blessings. Reach out to someone lonely or needy this Christmas. It will add to the joy of the season. Give a present to someone who lives alone or invite an elderly relation round to tea. Be sure to let your child help or give her good deeds to do herself, for example do some errands for a neigh bour. 14. Let go of the past. This is a time to heal old wounds and offer the hand of friend ship to those we have excluded in the past. Set a good example by letting go of past hurts and encourage your children to do likewise with friends. 15. Be assertive. Say "no" to impossi ble demands, unwanted invitations or favours. Make up an excuse if it's easier. 16. Offer children enticing morsels. The traditional Christmas dinner can be a bit rich for small children so give then small portions instead. Arrange them nicely on a fancy paper plate if you wish and they will enjoy feeding themselves. Babycare expert Dr Penelope Leach sug gests arranging a slice of turkey breast. small, chopped, roast potatoes, carrot strips, and quartered sprouts into a star shape. 17. Have a heart. Avoid at all costs playing the martyr and doing things grudgingly. Do everything with a heart and you will reap the benefits. 18. Stock up on sleep. You've still got a few nights left before the man in red pops down the chimney so try to get a few good night's sleep. Relax in a hot bath with a few drops of lavender oil sprinkled in beforehand and sleep will come easily. 19. Check out presents. If you have small children, check any presents they get to make sure they are suitable for their age. Some may contain small parts which could be dangerous. 20. Relax. It probably is the furthest thing from your mind right now but tak ing time out will help you achieve more in the long run. Build in some tensionrelieving activities into your daily rou tine - go for a walk, have a bath, put your . feet up for 10 minutes and read a maga zine. And most of all, have a Happy Christmas!

1. Be clever with your cash. It is all > too easy to overspend as you come faceI to-face with shops laden with goodies. j While you may have most of your major shopping done by now, it is tempting to splash out on bits and pieces as the Big Day nears. Counter this by working out how much you can afford to spend - in cash - and draw it out before you go shopping. It is much easier to overspend if you use a credit card. 2. Plan last-minute shopping. If you intend to do it all on Christinas Eve, you will need to carry out the operation with military precision. Make out a list and do not be distracted. Shop when the streets are least crowded. Avoid going into town at peak times when you will have to fight your way through the crowds. 3. Make a list. It will unburden your brain and ensure you don't forget any-

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 Galway Advertiser 2000 / 2000_12_21