As we approach Christmas, the air is filled with the sweet scent of holiday anticipation.

However, for many, the joy of Christmas can be overshadowed by the stress of hectic preparations, last-minute shopping, and the pressure to create the perfect celebration. Amid the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to lose sight of the true spirit of the season.

Sit back and have a read of some practical tips to help you navigate the holiday season with ease, allowing you the space to savour the moments that truly matter and embrace the joy of a stress-free Christmas.

1. Delegate and ask for help.

Everywhere we look we see images of the perfect host, from Mary Berry to Nigella, so it’s not surprising that we can easily fall into the trap of wanting to be perfect too. This can make us anxious and overwhelmed, but you’ll be amazed how eager everyone will be to help – if you only ask. Get the kids involved in setting the table, chopping the veg, and the adult family members and guests in topping up glasses and tidying up. No-one will mind. In fact, most people like to feel useful, no matter how small the task. Not only does it help you, but it also empowers them.

2. Just say “no” sometimes.

There is no shame in not accepting an invite or cutting an event a little short. No-one will notice if you leave that drinks party half an hour early or skip one of the many festive lunches you are invited to. It’s all about balance and ensuring that your time isn’t overly filled with activities, drinks, and late nights. Why not move some commitments to another time of the year. I’m always amazed that December needs to be ‘all out’ and January ‘all in’. Balance is a wonderful thing, so embrace saying “no” sometimes.

3. Minimise screen time in favour of human time.

We can all be guilty of scrolling endlessly, or seeking the perfect Instagram photo, but sometimes it can become all consuming. It’s worth remembering the positive feeling you can get from being physically connected. Yes, there’s space for social media and emails; but nothing beats a real-life human connection. And think about what that physical connection looks like. It doesn’t have to be a big event, a simple walk in the park with a friend can be all you need to restore your energy banks and bring you happiness.

4. “Good enough” is good enough.

If you feel the pressure to go for bigger and better, striving for the perfect Christmas, remember, we all have a different perception of ‘perfect’ and that in reality aiming for ‘good enough’ is good enough. Take the pressure of yourself and relax into Christmas.

5. Even the professionals take advantage of time savers.

On Mary Berry’s Highland Christmas she took advantage of time savers. If you haven’t watched it, you should, her recipes are amazing. Her take on a steak pie sees her using shop bought pastry for the topping. As she says it’s ‘good enough’. There is no shame in not making everything from scratch, save yourself some time, prepare in advance and cut corners whenever you can.

6. Remember to go outdoors.

It’s too easy to get caught up with things that need doing inside but if you’ve remembered to use some time savers, delegated, and have said no occasionally, then you definitely have time to go outside. With the shorter daylight hours, it’s important for your mental health to get some daylight fresh air. If it’s cold wrap up, and if it’s wet pull up your hood. You’ll feel so much better for it. For me personally, I spend December taking on the Marcothon challenge. Started in 2009, it sees people all over the world running every day in December for a minimum of 25 minutes or 5km, whichever comes first. There are no medals, and it is mentally challenging getting out every day for a run, no matter the weather or how busy you are, but the personal rewards are immense.

7. Remember to have some fun, it’s your Christmas too!

Christmas Day can whizz by in a festive blur of presents, cooking, the King’s speech and the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special. Before you know it, you are heading into Boxing Day and that’s it for another year. Make sure you’ve a plan for the day which allows some time for you to enjoy family and friends, sit down and chat with everyone, and play with your kids. It’s a magical day and it only happens once a year.

Wishing you a restful and stress-free Christmas.