BEN’S ZONE: A Dad’s Guide To Surviving Christmas

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Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness.  You can find him on the blog (most) Sundays. Enjoy 🙂

A Dad’s Guide To Surviving Christmas

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Christmas can be one of the most special times of the year, but it can also be one of the most stressful. It’s well known that when people are on their own Christmas can be a lonely, but even surrounded by family it can be difficult to get through. The combination of expectation, financial stress and unfamiliar situations can make even a seemingly perfectly Christmas hard work. I love Christmas and usually have a good time, here are my top 5 tips to a happy Christmas.

Buy Into It

Whether you want to describe it as ‘high engagement’ or more simply, ‘you get out of things what you put in’ if you suspend the disbelief and get involved, it’s a better time all round. Even the most cynical of folk will admit that Christmas is great for kids and part of that is children have an undamaged sense of wonder. You don’t have to discard that just because you’re an adult. By getting involved, going to the carol concerts, spending time with family and watching old Christmas movies, you can maximise the Christmas experience and as a result have a better time yourself.

Enjoy The Time Together

Even though my son is only 4, he already has a busy social whirl with pre-school, swimming lessons and countless play dates. Between that and the long hours I work, time together is at a premium. Time with extended family such as my brother, parents and in-laws is even more scarce. Christmas is a time when everyone is prepared to put aside the minutae and spend some time as a family. Yes, getting on a motorway mission can be boring, but it’s worth it to spend a few hours together as a family.

Be Prepared

In the age of Amazon on your phone there’s no good reason to be doing your Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve in a petrol station. Part of the stress of Christmas is the rush to get presents at the last minute and the worry that brings. Simply start early, it helps with budgeting and it takes the bulk of the worry out of Christmas. Everywhere now seems to have ‘black Friday’ deals, why not use this to grab some Christmas bargains and spend the festive season actually being festive.

Eat Well

I often blog about clean eating and being careful with food but Christmas is a traditional time of feasting. I will not be counting my calories during Christmas week. By the same token I won’t be overeating for its own sake either but I allow myself a little more free rein during Christmas.

Have An Escape Route Planned

Spending time with family, even those you love very much, can be stressful. Often alcohol is involved, it may involve compromise, which is hard and it’s better to recognise that things are hard rather than ignore it and come away feeling angry. I always have an exit strategy and it is usually the dog. Oftentimes, however stressful things get, 10 minutes taking the dog out for some fresh air gives me time to relieve the pressure and come back refreshed. It doesn’t really matter what the strategy is, just that a lot of arguments can be avoided by taking a 10 minute breath of fresh air when tempers start to fray.

6 thoughts on “BEN’S ZONE: A Dad’s Guide To Surviving Christmas”

  1. These are great tips! I agree with you that it is important to enjoy Christmas with your kids because the celebration is all new to them and is very exciting. Have a great day!

  2. Great tips we definately get completely involved with everything Christmas totally no cynicism in our house. I do love Chritmas but I need a bit of down time in with all the excitment and socialising – maybe I need to get a dog!

  3. I would definitely recommend it. I have a multitude of uses for mine, she gets me headspace at Christmas, keeps me training even in bad weather and most of all she’s good company.

  4. Great post Ben. I love Christmas, and children really make it more special, but this year (as it happens) we are going out to others and not having anyone coming to ours. Nevertheless I loved putting up all the decorations (nothing sadder than hearing ‘it’s just us, we shan’t bother’), the house looks lovely, and importantly, it is quite difficult to clean effectively around all the tinsel, so I don’t 🙂
    Children make it especially wonderful, and remind us all that to be childlike (not childish) is a blessing.
    The tip about taking a few minutes out is really good, we all get stressed out. It is lovely to all be together, but space matters too. Although you couldn’t take our dog out for 10 minutes, it takes that long to get to the end of the drive :))


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