Which Christmas character are you? Caretaker, Character, Cracker, Castaway, Crasher or Cherub?

Model Catherine Milligan takes some time out from the craziness of Christmas.

Xmas: From presents to parties… As one of the busiest (and often most stressful) times of the year, a survey by Sunblest Veda has revealed that almost 55% of people here see themselves as ‘Christmas Caretakers’: with their Christmas presents bought and wrapped since the beginning of September.

At the other end of the spectrum, a surprising 12% are self professed ‘Christmas Castaways’…saying Christmas is a chore and begrudgingly think about the presents on Christmas Eve.

In fact the ‘Bah Humbug’ mentality persists as almost one in three people (29%) said they most look forward to Christmas because it is time off work.

The survey was commissioned by Veda brand Sunblest to lift the lid on the true spirit of Christmas and to remind people that amid the festive furore, everyone deserves some comforting downtime.

Victoria Brown, Allied Bakeries explained: “Almost 68% of women surveyed classified themselves as the Christmas Caretaker…taking on the lion’s share of the organising and planning, while Northern Ireland’s male population is less prepared with only 39% getting involved in the build up and even less (21%) helping out with the cooking.

Personal Life & Business Coach Ann Rodgers said: “Theoretically, Christmas is the month we slow down to reconnect with loved ones, celebrate the year past, and gratefully acknowledge all our blessings.

In reality, for many, it is the most stressful month of the year with a little bit of the magic lost in the craziness of the shopping, cooking, wrapping and entertaining…the list goes on.”

To help relieve the stress Ann has some top tips to help you enjoy the festive season:

1.Finish your shopping early. One of the big stressors at this time of the year is fighting the crowds at shopping centres along with finding out that the ideal gift is sold out.

Aim to get your Christmas shopping done as early in December as possible; you can let everyone else fight the crowds, while you relax at home feeling comfortable and satisfied that you beat the rush.

2. Stick to a budget. We can all get excited when we see the perfect gift for a loved one, but don’t forget that the credit card bill will arrive in January. Have a budget that allows you to balance generosity and good sense.

3. Don’t overdo it The party season brings with it many temptations; late nights, party foods and cocktails.

Indulging yourself is allowed but moderation is key. Manage your alcohol intake carefully Don’t drink on an empty stomach, alternate alcohol with water or a soft drink and allow time for you body to recover between parties.

4. Manage family tension. There are few things that can ruin your Christmas day like a family feud, so make sure that you are conscious of the part that you have to play in this.

Try to keep conversations away from potentially controversial topics, focus on enjoying your children’s experience, be sensitive towards others and try not to be too sensitive yourself.

There are no guarantees with families and you can’t control how others behave, but making sure that you don’t add fuel to the fire will help you to feel better about the day whilst making Christmas less stressful for those around you.

5. Learn to say no. Some people receive many invitations to parties and events at this time of year and feel compelled to attend all of them. This can be draining after the first few, taking the gloss off what should be a fun time.

It’s OK to say no to some events, allowing you to really enjoy the parties that you do attend.

BBC presenter Alan Simpson said; ‘I’m a Christmas Cracker. When it comes to the holidays I definitely love getting everyone together for great time.

After taking the survey Style Academy Director Tracey Hall said; “I’m a Christmas Cherub through and through. I LOVE this time of year, but because I live on my own I stay in and chill with family over the holidays. I guess the best thing is being off work for a week to re-charge the batteries.”

Journalist and actor Ivan Little also took the survey saying;
“Christmas is a funny time of year for me – I love getting the family together but I don’t get what all the fuss is about. I tend to take a back seat when it comes to the mayhem of present buying and cooking so it was no surprise when the Sunblest survey revealed that I’m a Christmas Castaway!”

The Veda Pit Stop will be stationed outside Tesco Royal Avenue, Belfast until 21st December. For a donation of £3.50, visitors will receive Sunblest Veda toasted with Dromona cheese and a cup of Nambarrie tea, with every penny going directly to Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children.

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