It comes around every year before you know it – holiday season. Within just a few weeks, you feel more emotions than you have all year long: stress, annoyance, joy and love are just some of them. The magic word for getting through this highly emotional season and remaining relaxed is “self-determination”. But what does it mean?

Those who think self-determination simply means thinking about yourself and having no regard for others are mistaken. It actually means consciously deciding what is important and what isn’t. Ultimately, the way we experience Christmas is up to us. The following five examples demonstrate what this means exactly.

Family decorating the christmas tree

1. Christmas with parents

Especially for couples, Christmas often results in stress when it comes to visiting parents. If you want to avoid a row, speak with your partner early on, set clear rules and communicate these rules to both sets of parents. Here is one possible scenario: on 25 December, have lunch with your wife’s parents and on 26 December have coffee and cakes with your parents. A visit to see family members who live far away can be planned for another time. Christmas Eve should be spent with your partner (and your children, if you have them).

Wrapping and Decorating Christmas Presents in a Cosy Atmosphere at Home.

2. The most important points when it comes to gifts

Another emotionally charged issue relates to gifts. We’re all familiar with these situations: when you’re 20, your parents give you a very “fashionable” sweater that you immediately want to get rid of. Then there’s the husband who gives his wife a pressure cooker. He may have given it with the best of intentions, but his wife is unlikely to be impressed by a gift lacking in creativity and romance. This situation calls for initiative as well. For example, the couple can decide not to give any gifts at all, to set a price limit for gifts or to indicate what kinds of gifts are “acceptable”.

Family with one child decorating Christmas tree. They are happy and enjoy in preparation for holidays.

3. O Christmas tree and Christmas decorations

What would Christmas be without the right decorations, including, of course, a Christmas tree? Christmas decorations help to set the right mood for the holidays. You can feel it as soon as your neighbours hang their Christmas lights. Unfortunately, you didn’t have time for them yourself. The best thing to do is not to worry about it and to decide for yourself when and how much you want to decorate. Usually all you need are a few highlights to conjure up a cosy atmosphere.

Grandparents with family at Christmas dinner.

4. Festive meal on Christmas Eve

The festive meal is the most common source of disputes. After all, everyone has a different opinion about how to cook a goose – and that’s just one dish. Then there are the high expectations for the Christmas roast. If something goes wrong, the mood will go downhill quickly. But does it have to be a roast? You could also deliberately choose not to make one. One alternative is a Chinese fondue, which is simple to prepare and is especially well-suited for enjoying a cosy evening at home with your family.

Man is playing with his yellow labrador retriever in winter landscape

5. Time for yourself through self-determination

Although Christmas is meant to be spent with family, it is just as important to take a break and have some time for yourself. If you’ve made self-determined decisions with respect to the first four points, then you should have no trouble finding the time you need. You can simply retreat into a quiet corner, listen to some music, read a book or maybe knit a cap. Christmas is the ideal time for unwinding or trying something new – something you otherwise wouldn’t have time for. Outdoor activities are also ideal – for example, a walk in a snowy winter landscape.