Keep it simple
Do you really need a huge tree, a 14lb turkey and enough lights to power a small village? You don’t, we assure you. If you stick to the ‘less is more’ principle you’ll not only save yourself a lot of stress, but the bathroom scales will thank you too.
Don’t forget dad
…or mum for that matter. Any niggles in your relationship will inevitably come to a head over Christmas. Plan at least one activity for you to do together as a couple – just make sure it’s not late-night Christmas shopping.
Set a budget and stick to it. Resist the temptation to spend, spend, spend and remember that homemade gifts, especially those made by kids, mean more than shop-bought items.
Lower your expectations
Sorry to sound like Scrooge, but don’t try to make Christmas perfect – you’ll only be disappointed. We’re usually delighted if we make it to bedtime without strangling another family member, so a pleasant day with good food and a few laughs is a bonus.
The Doha weather is on our side, so work up an appetite with a play in the park, or walk off dinner and blow the cobwebs away with a brisk walk on the beach. Hopefully you’ll tire out the toe-rags so you can collapse kid-free on the sofa in the evening.
Cheat in the kitchen
Busy yourself in the kitchen with all the trimmings, but order your turkey in ready-cooked. Better still, put on your party togs and head out to a hotel for lunch – many places are hosting family-friendly affairs where the man in red is due to make an appearance. Check out our food section for details.
There’s no reason why everyone shouldn’t lend a hand. Decide in advance whose job it is to wrap presents or set the table. If everyone knows what their task is, there will be fewer arguments. If you’re having a party or hosting Christmas dinner, ask guests to bring the starter, salad or dessert, so you only have to tackle the main course.
Be game for a laugh
It may be stating the obvious, but don’t forget to play with your kids. Too often we give them piles of toys and then leave them to play on their own or fight it out with siblings and friends. It’s far more entertaining when mum and dad get involved.
Wrap it up
Wrap the presents as soon as you can after buying them to avoid those midnight ‘where in the name of Santa is the sellotape?’ screeches. If the kids are milling about, tie some bells on the door handle in the room where you’re wrapping so you get advance warning of potential peepers.
Keep it clean
First thing, put a large box, bin or bag in the middle of the room so everyone can throw their wrapping paper straight away. This will limit the chances of small items disappearing when it’s time to tidy up.