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A guilt-free Christmas

Posted December 23, 2015

Guilt and Christmas go together like a six-pack of mince pies and a tummy ache … can you have one without the other? Yes! Here’s how to enjoy family, food and festivities this Christmas, without the guilt.

Eat to your heart’s content:

Christmas is synonymous with over-indulging, which leads to guilt. Instead, eat to your heart’s content. That means nothing is off-limits—mince pies, ice cream, ham and turkey with lashings of gravy … But eat only until you feel contented.  Keep in touch with your bodily signs of fullness by asking yourself how full you feel, on a scale of 1-10. Try to keep your fullness under a seven, so you don’t start feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Happiness is getting through Christmas without feeling sick.

Face up to family expectations:

All families have traditions around Christmas and a lifetime of unspoken expectations, which can cause unnecessary guilt and stress. Instead, have an open conversation with your loved ones and come to an agreement that suits most of you. A common example is trying to juggle commitments between two families on Christmas Day. Instead, talk to both families about alternating celebrations. Most unspoken expectations can be clarified by simply speaking up.

Avoid credit card calamities:

One of the most stressful expectations is how much you’ll spend on Christmas. Again, have an open conversation with your loved ones. If gift-giving is a financial burden, it is time to re-think your traditions: suggest a ‘secret Santa’ arrangement or a price limit on gifts. Similarly, make Christmas one meal—you don’t need a week’s worth of food. Remember, Christmas should work for you—you shouldn’t be working for Christmas.

Don’t try to have the perfect Christmas:

Almost all our guilt can be summed up in the false pressure to fulfil the fantasy of a perfect Christmas day—with an elaborate meal, decorations, tree, presents, and most of all, perfect family togetherness. Instead, decide on what is important to your family and focus only on those priorities. Perhaps a trip to the beach will be more fun than a traditional family meal? Throw out the fantasy, and embrace your messy reality!

by Ingrid Barratt(c) 'War Cry' magazine, Christmas 2015, pp 8.
You can read 'War Cry' at your nearest Salvation Army church or centre, or subscribe through Salvationist Resources.