Twelve Tips for a Happy Christmas

From MagicFM radio presenter Angie Greaves

If you spend the Christmas holiday season rushing about like a panicked lemming, it’s time to apply some new strategies.

If you’re one of those people feeling more frazzled than festive, taking the time to organize can really reduce stress over Christmas; you’ll feel as if you’re in control, rather than feeling like you’re being driven like one of Santa’s reindeer.

Angie Greaves radio icon and presenter of ‘Afternoons of Magic’ on MagicFM radio juggles a busy career and family life – and has managed to find a way to make Christmas feel (almost) stress free! Here are her top 12 tips for having a Happy (and stress-free) Christmas!

1. Connect with others no matter the distance – Set up video calls with friends and family well in advance to account for time zones and ensuring you get to speak over the festive period. Instead of the usual slew of impersonal Christmas cards, have everyone sit together and write an ACTUAL letter.

2. Remember where you came from – Re-live fun memories with elder family members that create laughter. Let the elders talk about their childhood Christmas memories. I love listening to my mother (who is now 83years of age), talking about Christmas as a child in Barbados.

3. Open your house BEFORE the big day – Choose one afternoon before or even between Christmas and New Year to give everyone a destination and reason to get out of the house and not just head to the sales and spend money. Guests can come by any time during the designated hours.

4. Secret Santa – The basic concept of Secret Santa is simple; All of the participants’ names are placed into a hat. Each person then picks one name from the box, but doesn’t tell anyone which name they got. He/she is now responsible for buying a gift for the person selected.

5. Make it personal – constructing something with your own hands is so much more meaningful. Create your own memories with individual handmade gift ideas. A letter to a friend recalling a special time together or simply telling a loved one how much they mean to you will be remembered for years and always be appreciated.

6. Don’t break the bank – Christmas is one day – don’t ruin the whole of the next year for it. Remember to think “What can I afford?” vs. “What I WANT to be able to afford.” Consider not giving gifts to EVERYONE this Christmas. Remember gift-giving creates an obligation on recipients to give back, whether they can afford it or not. For some, the gift of “not obliging you to buy for me” is actually better.

7. Make a Christmas Eve more special – Bring a little extra magic and sparkle to Christmas Eve by packing a Christmas Eve box full of little treats to make the night before Christmas almost as magical as the day itself. Combine some festive PJ’s, a Christmas story, Family DVD, hot chocolate mix and new mug (what kids don’t want a present on Christmas Eve?)

8. Make old traditions new again – For myself, and my proud heritage from Barbados, I like to incorporate family traditions from my childhood into my adult festivities. Food is an important part of any celebration in Barbados and Christmas is no different. For me the must-have dishes on any Christmas table are: great cake, jug jug and baked ham.

9. Dress de-stress – On the run up to the endless list of holiday parties, invite your girlfriends over for mulled wine or a glass of champagne and a dress swap party and then you have a new outfit!

10. Stay healthy – Think ahead and plan the nights out when you will be eating and drinking and make a meal plan for the nights you are at home to avoid the post-Christmas bulge!

11. The reason for the season! Christmas is a time for loving and connecting. Regardless of what your beliefs are, take a little time to reflect on life, your inner self, loved ones, goals, health, the year behind you and the year ahead!

12. You did it!!! When it’s all over, make a promise to yourself to relax and take some “me” time. You’ve worked hard at playing Santa Claus this year… you totally deserve it!

About Angie

Angie Greaves is an Award Winning and Sony nominated icon of British radio with over 25 years’ experience. Angie currently presents one of London’s most popular afternoon shows; ‘Afternoons of Magic’ on MagicFM, and on Saturday evenings Angie can be heard presenting ‘Soul Town – the best of Motown and Soul’. Angie has won the CTO Caribbean Tourism Organisation Award for her radio show on British Airways and her services to travel and promoting the Caribbean as a tourist destination. Angie is a working mother and is keen to encourage women not to feel ‘down-graded’ if they decide to re-position their career in order to put their family first.

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