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How to keep your cool through Christmas

RELAXED: Celebrate what you have (pic posed by models)

There’s no doubt that the festive season can have its pressures. A survey done in 2010 by price comparison website moneysupermarket .com found 53 percent of Britons were worried about funding Christmas, an increase on the 2009 figure of 45 percent.

Money worries are not the only thing to peak at this time of year. Several studies have shown that the first week after Christmas is the busiest time for divorce lawyers.

Over excited kids, big meals to cook and the strain of trying to get on with difficult family members can lead to a fizzling out of the festive spirit and cause people to lose perspective or overindulge.

Here two experts give some practical tips to ensure that Christmas Day doesn’t become one to remember for all the wrong reasons.

Spend wisely

For many, Christmas involves massive credit card bills that can take months to clear. But you don’t have to go into huge debt, says Linda Asafo-Agyei, vice president of wealth management at Barclays Wealth.

“Ideally this is a time to encourage friends and family to get creative and rather find ways of making gifts for each other. Also, keep an eye out for Christmas specials such as buy one get one free in supermarkets and shops. And remember that many products at top end supermarkets are no different from those in lower end supermarkets.”

She also suggests that if an expensive gift is on the agenda, such as a new widescreen TV or computer, buy one that can be used by the whole family. And as for preparing the Christmas dinner, delegate! Remember, you don't need to do everything yourself.

Avoid arguments

If you and certain family members have been arguing all year long, there is certain to be tension at Christmas.

“The first thing to think about is preparation,” says top life coach and author Rasheed Ogunlaru. “Decide who you want to spend time with and how much time you want to spend with them. If there are arguments, don’t feel as though you need to get involved.”

He added: “If arguments get heated try using relaxation techniques such as going for a walk, or a lie down to cope with anxiety or tension. Be mindful of what works for you.”

Focus on gratitude

It’s easy to forget that this time of year is a very difficult one for people who have lost loved ones or who are on their own. “Not everyone makes it to the end of the year,” says Ogunlaru “so don’t forget to be thankful whatever your belief system. Take time out to celebrate what you have.”

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