As much as we love dispensing this wonderful season’s greetings, Christmas can strike a note of trepidation in all but the most experienced and resilient of planners. With so much to organise and so much fun to be crammed in a couple of weeks, we tend to forget that the success of Christmastime depends entirely on your behind-the-scenes efforts. While we’d most definitely like to relive our golden days and believe that Santa wields his magic wand to whip up the perfect Christmas from thin air, it’s often us who have to step into those shoes and provide the merriment and festivities for all.
So what can you do to minimise the stress and make sure that Christmas doesn’t overwhelm you with its duties? Take a leaf out of our book and follow these simple steps to give meaning to your festive season and enjoy the ride leading up to December 25th.
Make the Most of Christmas Markets
The appeal of Christmas markets knows no demographic – from old to young and everyone in between, how can you turn down an invitation to the most fuzzy of Christmas-themed outings? In addition to the markets strewn across city centres all over Scotland, the Christmas Shopping Fayre is one you shouldn’t miss come December. Join us in Stirling for a fine set-up of local crafts, food and drink at just £6 per person (and kids under 16 go free!).
The beauty of Christmas markets is that they’re a bonanza of all the best bits of Christmas bundled up in one place. From the unique, quirky gift for your sister that you’ve been racking your brains over to some stand-out Christmas ornaments to show off to dinner guests, you can tick off a lot from your to-buy list while taking indulgent swigs of the best homemade mulled wine.
Give Back to Good Causes
Despite all the old clichés, Christmas is indeed the time of year when our focus should be on relationships, people we love and the good of humanity, rather than material bling. It’s ironic that we go into a retail frenzy in the month or so preceding the event when a fulfilling Christmas can only be achieved through the simplicity of expressing love, warmth and generosity with family and friends.
If you truly want to fight the sartorial stress and make your Christmas count, spare a thought for the less fortunate amongst us who have no kin to celebrate with, are battling hostile conditions out on the streets, or have suffered a trauma that has dampened their Christmas spirit. Crisis carry out amazing work with the homeless population and the Make-A-Wish Foundation sponsors presents for seriously ill children and young people. There’s never any shortage of help needed, so choose a cause you care about and leave your mark in someone’s heart.
Be Kind to the Environment
The 5 R’s – reuse, recycle, refill, repurpose and refuse – aren’t just essential to our wellbeing throughout the year, but matter also during Christmastime. The waste we generate over the holiday period not only puts pressure on an already heaving environment, but also creates undue amounts of strain on our waste management resources and budgets.
Start getting creative with your waste – some simple ideas include reusing Christmas cracker wrappers to decorate presents and cakes, donating used tech devices to charity, and making stockings out of old Christmas jumpers. Your pocket and the planet will thank you, and it will save you the stress of seemingly having to purchase the equivalent of a small warehouse in household goods.
Have a Strategy for the Food
Food is one of the cornerstones of Christmas. From dinner parties to afternoon teas and the one-and-only Christmas lunch, expect to see and make a lot of it over the next 6 weeks. To avoid last-minute meltdowns, overspending and substandard results, preparation is key. Applying a methodical approach works wonders: if you don’t think of your kitchen as your personal art studio, relying on great recipes is a must.
Our master chef Nick Nairn has a trick or two for Christmas up his sleeve – just check out his collection of recipes for some true culinary gems that are easy to pull off, nutritious and light enough to leave your motor skills unaffected after the feast. Following recipes means you won’t be tempted into buying more than you actually need, so your fridge, freezer and bank account will breathe easy when the new year rolls in.
Escape From It All
And while you’re busing working your way towards a happy and healthy Christmas, why not spoil yourself with an early festive gift? Fret not, because we have plenty of exciting options for you to choose from. If you’re a fan of Christmas gastronomy, our Christmas Party Night with Nick Nairn will be a guaranteed treat for you – bringing you a mouth-watering four-course meal, recipe cards, a cookbook, wines, a welcome drink and a disco. Our winter sale has also started, offering 25% off all accommodation booked at the DoubleTree by Hilton Dunblane Hydro until Christmas.
Our Autumn Breaks with Prosecco are still on, so you can sneak in a wee cheeky elopement with your partner if the going gets tough. While you’re here, take a look at our selection of festive gift vouchers to sort out the remainder of your Christmas present list and pay it forward!