With many people’s Christmas plans scuppered last year due to Covid, this year is billed to be “bigger and better than ever”. Or is it? With retailers like Debenhams encouraging us to indulge in a “Christmas like never before”, are we just putting too much pressure on ourselves to make this year perfect? Could it actually be doing the opposite, and having a detrimental effect on our mental health?

If you’re struggling with the pressure in the run up to this year’s festivities, take a breath and let us help you.

Keep it simple

Holidays are about doing things that make you happy with the people who make you happy. So, really think about what that looks like to you. If it’s a full-on family roast dinner with all the trimmings, then great, but if it’s eating cheese on toast with your bestie in Christmas PJs, that’s great too. Don’t compare your situation to others – there’s no right or wrong way to do Christmas.

Don’t base your expectations on social media’s standards

Everyone’s done it. “Let me just move that bit of rubbish/kids’ toys/dirty laundry out of the way so I can get a good pic”. Remember that the picture-postcard photos you’re seeing on your social media streams aren’t necessarily reflective of reality. Even the most seemingly perfect set-ups will no doubt have reality kicking in just out of shot. Your Christmas doesn’t need to be ‘Insta-ready’.

You don’t have to spend loads

The best Christmas ever has to cost more, right? The kids have to have more presents, you have to spend more to make it memorable, etc etc. Wrong! Chances are, children won’t remember what you bought for them in a few weeks’ time, but the feeling they’ll get from a calm and stress-free Christmas can last a lifetime. Why not try making some handmade gifts and décor to bring the cost down a bit? Activities like making a wreath together or homemade paper chains might even be the start of a new family tradition.

If you’re already stressing about what to do with the kids over the school holidays, we’ve got you! Check out our fun activities for the Christmas break for inspiration.

Take time out if you need it

In the run up to Christmas, things can get hectic – that’s true every year. Running around trying to get presents, food and decorations can lead to the whole of December turning into a stress-fest. If that feels like you, why not take a moment to get some free, practical tips and advice to look after your mental health. By answering five simple questions through the Every Mind Matters website, people can get a tailored ‘Mind Plan’, giving them personalised tips to help deal with stress and anxiety and feel more in control.

Get outside

One great way to relieve stress is to go for a walk. Whether you’re grabbing some much-needed time to yourself to get some headspace, or fancy meeting loved ones for a walk and talk, there are loads of walks to choose from on the East Sussex County Council website. For more ideas of where to walk, check out our Christmas walks from last year.

Support is the best gift you can ask for

Be honest with yourself and others if you’re struggling. There are loads of places you can get support if you need it, our article ‘Get Help With Your Mental Health’ is a great place to start, and includes helplines for those in crisis.



We’d love to hear your top tips for creating a stress-free Christmas. Ideas could be for the day itself or for keeping cool in the run up – just drop your comments below!