The 12 Steps of Christmas Chill – A Guide to a Less Stressful Christmas


This year is a hallmark year for me. The. First. Christmas. Without. Family! Yes I know it may be silly to harp on about it. But it is what it is. My little family, though flexible in location and quantity of people involved, still has some fairly sacred Christmas traditions. So what do you do what you’re having a Wendy and the Lost Boys Christmas? Here’s my go to list of things I have been, or will make sure to be doing this Christmas.

Watching as many old favourites as possible.

There’s the classic oldies good for learning good life lessons like Miracle on 34th Street or Its a Wonderful Life and then there’s just the downright feels good likes Elf. Last year brought a potential new tradition into my life with myself and my rents getting through every Die Hard Film.

Christmas Table Quiz.

If there is one in you town, by god please go to it! An evening of hilarity, dreadful jumpers and catching up, last years on in Bundoran had my mom cheering that she thought it was like a “saloon bar in the wild west”. Nuff said.

Christmas Markets.

Some may go there to buy really thoughtful well made presents for friends and family. If I’m honest, my number one priority is usually the beautiful artisan food. Hoping to get to the last Strandhill Peoples Market this evening and I absolutely LOVED the Galway Christmas Market when I lived there as a student.

Hot Ports.

Because they are so darn delicious. Also as they are slightly less boozy then having a hot whiskey you’re presents wont look like they were wrapped by a five year old.

Reducing Expectations.

Yes this is a boring one but its true. By realising I’ll never fit everything in (someday I’ll have another crack at ice skating) and by understanding that not everyone else wants to listen to Christmas FM 24/7, takes the pressure of “having the perfect Christmas/Christmas spirit” off, which in the end will likely be more fun!

Chocolate Advent Calendars.

Oh my god! My aunty got me one. Why do we think they’re only for children? Who doesn’t want to start each festive morning with a coffee and a chocolate?

Christmas Cards.

While I may still be F’n blue and black about the fact that stamps are now €1 a pop. I still think Christmas cards are fab! A lovely way to send a note to friends and family just to remind them you think they’re class. Sellotape them to the present if you dont feel like paying for postage!

Going to the gym.

Ha ha wait, what? Yep that’s right, Christmas can be a stressful time for anyone. For me it also involved a fairly intense business competition, helping plan my dads wedding and moving house! The best way to keep a clear head (any maybe stave off some of that christmas treat damage) is to stay active. For me that’s been surfing and weightlifting, but even just a brisk walk in the evening could do the world of good.


A tradition I will never give up. Santa has long been leaving Satsumas in the bottom of my stocking and its the first thing I eat every Christmas morning.

A visit to Church.

A quick disclaimer, only if you’re so inclined, I’m not saying anyone should ever go if they dont want to, but I love it around this year. Be it just for a wee drop in, or for a service/mass on Christmas day or my absolute favourite – candlelit carol service!

A Chicken.

That’s right. This will be my 2nd or 3rd year on turkey strike. I do not see the point at getting up at obscene o’ clock to eat a bird that a) doesn’t taste as good as a chicken b) takes insanely long to cook and c) isnt really part of a traditional Irish Christmas anyway. So since I don’t feel like cooking the traditional goose, it shall be a super delicious free range chicken with all the trimmings for me and mine! You can thank me later. Last year it took me absolutely MAX 2.5h to do an entire Christmas dinner from scratch to the moment we popped it on the table!

Be kind to yourself.

Because it is the first step to being good to others too. If you’re stressed out/sleep deprived/money worried whatever, its bad for your health and can make you a bit of a grinch. I’m currently practicing what I preach. Drinking herbal tea, with a scented candle on, wrapped in a blanket!

Oops and a bonus one!

Still write your letter to Santa, my mom and I started this one last year, thanking Santa (God, the universe, whatever works for you) for all the wonderful things in the previous year and sending out our hopes and wishes for the year to come. Bonus points for writing it on glittery wrapping paper and burning the intentions in the fire!


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