How to get Christmas right this year

Posted: Sunday November 22 2020

By: Natalie Jackson and Emily Freeman

How to get Christmas right this year

Christmas is a funny time of year. It’s magical (and we’re all about the Christmas sparkle) but like anything worth doing, it can feel like it takes some hard work. Whether we’re wrapping up presents to go under the tree, singing carols at church or braving the social minefield of the office Christmas party, there tends to be lots going on. And that’s before you throw in nativity plays, family gatherings and who is going to be cooking the turkey (or nut roast, if you’d prefer).

Apparently in 1647 the Puritan-led English Parliament of Oliver Cromwell banned the celebration of Christmas, replacing it with a day of fasting – and whilst that would solve the Christmas rush, and the matter of what to get your Secret Santa, thankfully the government reconsidered – so Christmas is back on. Phew!

How To Get Christmas Right

However, like any ‘holiday’ we are inundated with marketing messages about how to get it right – from John Lewis and Aldi adverts to the catchily named “Christmas Shopper Simulator 2” (an online game – and yes it looks terrifyingly like your local Shopping Centre in December) – research has shown that we are bombarded with as many as 5,000 marketing messages a day – and we’re willing to bet you get more than your fair share in December.

But as far as Christmas goes, what does getting it right ” getting it right” really mean? And how can we make sure we are getting it right for ourselves, and our families, this year?

Having a plan

Totally Runable is all about helping people achieve their goals. We use running as the tool to show people that they are capable of so much more than they thought, if they go about it the right way. Part of our methodology involves having a plan, which is the thought we want to share.

When we wrote about learning to love kale, and other useful habits we talked about how to build the habits we want, using the studies which found that it takes 10-15 exposures to something to make it a habit. But without knowing what outcome we’re aiming for, how do we know what habits to work on? Or put simply… If we don’t know that we want to be healthier, then it doesn’t matter that kale is one of the world’s healthiest foods… we’re never going to put the two together.

 Festive fun

You may be just starting your shopping list or you may have it all figured out and be ready to enjoy the season. Either way, take a second to think about what is it you want from Christmas this year… Do you want a house full of family and friends opening presents, playing games, eating turkey with all the trimmings and making Christmas memories? Do you want to hit the New Year rested and relaxed and raring to get on top of your New Years Resolutions? Do you want some quality relaxation time by yourself, or with your partner? Or do you want all of that, and more?

It’s all possible, and it’ll happen a lot easier if we think about what it is we want, and have a plan to get there. Once we do that, it becomes a lot clearer to see the little things we can do to help along the way – things like making a list of people to buy for, planning out timings for the festive feast or looking up the local carol services to avoid missing out. Or like planning time to catch up with those we don’t usually see, reaching out to those who might not otherwise have such a busy Christmas, or scheduling some “me time” in amidst all the festivities.

Whatever you want, it’s worth taking a moment to think about it. Having a plan is the key to making things happen. Jillian Michaels, author of Unlimited: How to Build an Exceptional Life (which, by the way, would make a great Secret Santa present) agrees. She says “you can’t achieve success if you’re not moving toward something.” The same applies to our Christmas wishlist.

“For me, this Christmas is all about special family time”, says Laura Whyte. Laura works in Marketing, leading a UK events programme of some 60 events a year – although her real job is being Mummy to 20 month Darcey. For them, “clichéd I know, but special family time is actually pretty hard to come by in daily life. I seem to spend a lot of time rushing around – cooking, cleaning, cooking some more; the number of weekly wash loads almost too many to count; packing nursery bags, unpacking nursery bags; feeling guilty for doing colouring & sticking (yet again) instead of hand painting – the list is endless!”

Laura is applying the “have a plan” strategy to her family’s Christmas this year. “Last year we tried to keep ALL the family happy – rushing around so everyone got to see Darcey’s first Christmas. This year my husband Andy & I have decided to take things at a slower pace & enjoy being present”.

 Their plan is to hire a cottage with Andy’s twin brother, wife and 2 children in Perth, Scotland to spend time with Andy’s family and take time to be together. Although the cottage and slower paced Christmas do come at a price – hosting Christmas Dinner for 14 people 500 miles away from home – Laura has a plan that will make it happen. “With lists in hand, I am going to approach Christmas like I would any one of my work events – lots of careful planning so that on the actual day I can take time to enjoy it (perhaps with a cheeky glass of red) and spend quality time with Darcey & our Scottish family.” And although the car will be full to bursting on the drive to ScotlandI’ll be packing my “Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle” Christmas decoration, which I’ll hang in the kitchen – every time I get close to being flustered in the kitchen, it will make me smile and remind me what this Christmas for me is all about!” 

What do you want this Christmas for you to be all about? The good news is – you can totally have it with the right planning.

…And if all you fancy is a bit of peace and quiet in the house – you could always threaten to ban Christmas, which might buy you an hour or so… it worked for Oliver Cromwell.

Wishing you and those you love a very Merry Christmas, love Emily & Natalie

# How to get Christmas right