Dossier: Celebrating and enjoyment

Guide to a successful Christmas

How can you get through Christmas unscathed? Tips for all those who don’t have much time but still want a peaceful celebration.

Text: Julie Freudiger; Foto: Yves Bachmann

Tip #1: Celebrate quietly with your family

Klaus Heer, couples therapist: “One thing you have to understand is that there’s no such thing as the “perfect” Christmas. If your relationship is on a diet 364 days a year, the emotional gluttony of the festive season won’t do you any good. Stressing about being together all the time can lead to tension and arguments. During the festive hustle and bustle, make sure you have a few moments alone, away from your partner. This will help keep the peace at Christmas. Talking about your relationship – particularly over Christmas – is not a good idea. It would be better to think about previous Christmases that you’ve spent together and dare to establish at least one new couple’s rule for the festive period.”

Tip #2: Decorations made easy

Tatjana Glemser, interior designer: “With a little imagination you can make beautiful Christmas decorations. Instead of battling with an advent wreath, why not scatter a few pine needles on a plate and add holly, mistletoe and candles in jam jars. Or transform wine glasses into candle holders: Fill the glasses with small baubles, turn them upside down and place a small candle on the base. No time to buy a Christmas tree? Using washi tape (decorative adhesive tape) you can create an abstract Christmas tree on the wall in next to no time. You can also use the tape to conjure up a festive atmosphere: sticking the gold and silver strips around tealights, on door frames or on the walls will really give your house a Christmassy feel.”

Tip #3: Be careful with candles​

Andrea Adam, Lungenliga Schweiz: “Good quality wax candles produce less soot. Where you place them is also important. Don’t put them in a draughty place, next to a fan or near a draughty window, because then they’ll flicker and give off more soot. Make sure that the wick is no more than 15 mm long so the flame doesn’t fray. Instead of blowing the candle out, press the wick into the wax with a wick dipper. And finally, let fresh air in to get rid of any fine dust particles. If you like scents, why not use pine needles instead of perfumed candles.”

Tip #4: Forget calorie-counting over Christmas

Stéphanie Bieler, dietician: “The festive period is a time associated with excess, but with just a few tips you’ll sail through December with ease. Make sure you keep eating regular meals over Christmas. If you miss out meals in the belief it will help you eat less, you risk experiencing cravings and constant snacking. Eat slowly, chew well and stop eating when you’re full. And: enjoy alcohol in moderation. If the scales show you’ve put on a few pounds after the festive period, don't worry! Simply get back to eating regular, varied and balanced meals afterwards. But enjoy the festivities! Christmas only comes once a year.”

Tip #5: Catering to all tastes

Sebastian Rösch, top chef in restaurant Mesa: “Don’t want to cook? You’d prefer to go to a restaurant so you can enjoy yourself without all the hassle of cooking? If you don’t like to do something, you can usually tell by the ends results. No time? Go for a roast – they mostly cook themselves. Vegetarians at the table? Don’t make your life harder still by offering lots of variations. My suggestion: roasted cauliflower with hazelnut oil served on a bed of saffron couscous with dried fruits. Steam the cauliflower with the hazelnut oil and then roast in the oven at about 180 degrees Celsius for around 30 minutes. Baste the cauliflower regularly with the oil so that it stays moist.”

Tip #6: Coping with a lack of sleep over the holidays

Dr Daniel Brunner, certified specialist for sleep medicine, Hirslanden Centre for Sleep Medicine: To feel fresh and awake during the day, you don’t need to sleep for fixed periods – a person’s need for sleep can vary greatly. If you’re not tired, don t go to bed yet, because you’ll only make your sleep problems worse. Use the time to collect ideas for gifts, for example. If you’re awake, don’t stay in bed. If you’re nervous or excited, go into another room and read until you feel sleepy. Don’t clock watch, because that will only stress you more. The key is not to worry about getting too little sleep. As long as you’re not fighting fatigue during the day, everything’s fine.”