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Tips for relaxed holidays

  • 6 min read

Are you always the one who works up a sweat in the kitchen? Do you try to fill that beautifully set table with family and the most delicious dishes every year? Stew, potatoes from the oven, cranberry sauce, beautiful side dishes, salads, homemade sauces, maybe even a turkey?! The picture in your head is so beautiful every year, and your expectations are sooo high every time. But be honest, by the time you finally sit down at the table, the visitors have already finished half their drink supply, you are tired and your kids are having another fight.

And then we haven't even mentioned decorating the house (and cleaning it up again), Christmas clothes and… -oh horror- the presents!! Do you already feel uncomfortable reading the above? Let me help you, I have great tips that will guide you through the holidays much more relaxed, preferably of course so that you can enjoy it yourself!

Tip 1 - Stay at home

So, immediately bought in: stay at home, because yes, that is perfectly possible. Not to family, not to friends, no one around. But just at home together. Curtains closed, with lots of candles, house suits, sweet presents, watching Christmas movies and eating frozen pizza with a bucket of Ben & Jerry's. Because it's possible. Christmas movie tips:

  1. The Polar Express (personal favorite here and often watched in the Stookhuisje on our self-bring DVD player)
  2. Eleven (note the cheesy film set and it can't be unseen - sorry)
  3. Scrooge (the version you like)
  4. Love Actually (with Snape 😭 )
  5. Home Alone (and then watch this Movie crawl where they look up the filming locations - Juicy fact about this movie: Home Alone will be 30 years old next year 😱)

🎅 Do you like Christmas movies? Read this blog post!

Tip 2 - A super easy Christmas dinner

Christmas pizza - A Christmas dinner is perhaps the most stressful, so don't worry about it now: don't organize it or opt for something easy. Suggest pizza. That may sound crazy, but when I suggested that here last year, there was a lot of cheering! You can order pizza, although I can't say that where you live they deliver on Christmas Eve. A very nice alternative to that is all making pizza yourself. Get some pre-made pizza bases and tasty, perhaps a little more luxurious, toppings at home and you are guaranteed fun in the kitchen and no children complaining about the food. So: move over the ugly Christmas sweater (that's so 2012), we have Christmas pizza!

Does it have to be Christmas themed? Then make this, the source + the recipe can be found here .

A crazy Christmas dinner from a box - Another idea is a bit more extensive but still easier than diving into the cookbooks and (very busy) supermarket yourself: the Marley Spoon Christmas box (aff.). A box with all the ingredients for an amazing Christmas dinner. Whether it's your first Christmas dinner or you've always been in the kitchen, Marley Spoon provides special recipes and all you have to do is enjoy cooking. The promise: a fully catered 3-course Christmas dinner for 6 people will be on the table within 2.5 hours, without having to take a single step in the supermarket. That sounds heavenly.

This year in the box : an appetizer of pumpkin soup with romescoswirl and spicy flatbread, a spectacular main course of turkey wellington with pancetta and a cranberry apple filling served with green beans in an Italian oregano-lemon dressing, roasted Brussels sprouts with rosemary and grapes, and for dessert juicy pears with salted caramel and speculaas cream. You will receive the recipes in a handy booklet with tips & tricks for preparing your Christmas dinner. Are you going to do this? Can I have your address, then I'll join you!

Marley Spoon 's Christmas box: a luxurious 3-course Christmas dinner for 6 people

Tip 3 - Do something really different this year

If the holidays aren't really planned yet, think about this: do something different. Go away on a mini vacation, find a place where you can rest. Whether you do this alone, with a partner or with an entire family, everyone has the right to discharge. Skipping Christmas for a year - or celebrating it completely differently - is fine. So nice to get away and from experience I can say that it is best in your own country. Sometimes we don't get to each other, a cozy house without WiFi and a board game sometimes works wonders. We like to book a weekend in the Aquamarijn's Stookhuisje well before Christmas, but on Delicioushuisjes.nl (aff.) you will also find larger accommodations without it having to be a holiday park, although that is sometimes quite nice!

This is one of two 6 person holiday homes in Den Ham, Overijssel (aff.). The snow is not guaranteed at all unfortunately: no Wham! But gone is gone :)

And do you still want to go away with the entire family? Then rent this huge 60 person Country house in the Ardennes (aff.) (here's Johnny) 🤣

Tip 4 - Planning is looking ahead

I believe governing is looking ahead, well I prefer to say 'planning is looking ahead'. Because everything you plant will not happen to you, you saw it coming. And then you limit the unwanted surprises to the minimum. Control freak much?! Well, it's not that bad, but you often prevent stress by planning and I think that really makes 'relaxed holidays'. Planning can be done in many ways, but Paper Time has very nice and nice resources to make it a party. I also happen to have this Paper Time Werkplanner Special Edition myself and the rest of 2019 has already been mapped out for me. chill!!


The ideal planner for all your work exists! That is this work planner from Paper Time - special edition, price €29.95 . Also a great gift idea!

Tip 5 - Let it gooo

Is an activity ultimately something that has to be done because 'they are obligations' and it still gives you stress? Do like Elsa and LET IT GO: take a break every now and then.

  1. Withdraw , find a place where you can be undisturbed for a few minutes, and lie down or sit comfortably.
  2. Breathe in slowly through your nose within 4 counts, hold for 7 counts and exhale gently through your mouth within 8 counts. This is actually a technique for falling asleep quickly, but it also helps very well to calm yourself down. Repeat 3 times or as needed.
  3. In the meantime , think of nothing or something that just relaxes you . A nice holiday memory or a moment when you are totally relaxed.
  4. End with the thought that 'it will always be 11 o'clock again', in other words: everything is finite . Try to enjoy the positive and pleasant things!


Tip 6 - O joy

After all, we only have Christmas once a year and it's part of the purpose of getting together and being thankful for each other. Watch that day and try to respond based on attention and love instead of action and emotion. Enjoy what you have, be happy with what you have and make memories. Whatever you do: "Joy to the world with Dolly!" Ooh, give me that dress and I'm ready. Holidays here we come!

And... what about the presents?

Exactly, what do we do with that? In the coming weeks, here at Happlify, a lot of attention will be paid to the holidays and also to finding the most perfect gifts. Sweet, nice, tiny, crazy, nice and valuable gifts. But in addition to gifts, there are also many other tips, stories and recipes. Come by once in a while, leave a message under the blog posts and say hi. Don't want to miss anything? Then subscribe to our Happy Thoughts mailing list and you will receive a weekly message from us in your mailbox with happy news. Happiness multiplies when shared. We've got your back!

Mariko Naber
Author - Mariko Naber
Mariko is the happy brain behind Happlify. Together with partner Mark she runs Sell your stuff online, branding agency Loaded ink BNO and Atelier Naber . She loves feel good, random acts of kindness, meatballs, chocolate mousse, family time, zee, piña colada, sugar & spice and everything nice 💛

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