With just a few days to go until you start tearing the paper off generously purchased gifts, our guest writer Claudia Unger tells us how we can all ‘receive with grace’.

Christmas. The most wonderful season of all. Yet for many women, it’s also a time marred by stress and anxiety. There’s so much to prepare, the house to decorate, biscuits to bake, cards to write, parcels to send, and presents to buy for all the special people in our lives. A lot of thought is going into the planning, and often there’s harsh judgement of ourselves when we didn’t stick to the timeline.

You guessed it: even I – with all my experience and tricks of the trade – wobble around Christmas because there’s only so much that fits in a day. Oh, and yes, I do work all of December – like I’m sure you do as well. So, breathe, give yourself a little pat on the back and start enjoying everything you’ve already done!

Because Christmas is nearly upon us. And this year I want you to take a break and prepare for what’s next: presents. While we’re very good at getting thoughtful gifts for our loved ones, we’re starting to stress out when it comes to receiving something.

But why?

Isn’t it wonderful that our friends and families are thinking of us with as much attention as we think of them? Isn’t it the most blissful moment when you give a gift that’s well received?

Yes. And you know it.

And that’s why you’re finding it so difficult to receive with grace. You want to ensure the giver gets their bit of magic, too! Not only from your gift to them, but, possibly more so, from your reaction to their present. A tall order. And it’s not hard to see why that’s such a stress factor: come presents time means you better put on an Academy Awards winning performance of oohs and ahhs, tender smiles, loving looks and warm embraces.

Women are absolutely amazing at putting themselves under pressure! But do you know what? You don’t have to!
  • You can choose to be relaxed.
  • You can choose to feel the joy of the season.
  • You can choose to be guided by the Spirit of Christmas.
  • And, yes, you can choose to have a glass of wine even if there are more chores on your list.

So, in preparation for the big day, let’s get you in the right frame of mind to be yourself this Christmas and receive gracefully:

  • Write a list of things you find particularly stressful at the moment. When you’re done, you have two options (depending on your preference):
    –  Burn the list and see your worries go up in smoke.
    –  Put the list in a little box (mine is called ‘God Box’) and give your worries over to a higher power. (I like to do this because once in a while I go back to the box and see what I was worrying about – and am amazed how those worries evaporated without me noticing).
  • Now write a list of things you enjoy most during Christmas. Put up little post-its around the house with those items to remind yourself to enjoy the season. You can also set yourself little reminders on your mobile.
  • Start getting excited about seeing family and friends and the love and appreciation they have for you. Keeping your loved ones in your heart and mind, thinking about them with love and joy will push out any grudges you might be holding. After all it’s also the season to forgive.

That’s to get your mind ready.

Now let me give you three tips for when the unwrapping frenzy begins:
  • Remember that the present comes from someone who cares about and loves you.
  • Let yourself be childlike again and feast in the joy of receiving all those presents.
  • Allow yourself to deserve the gifts you’re getting.

All of those will make saying ‘thank you’ so much easier and it’ll come from your heart. And here’s a little bonus: don’t fake it! Stay true to yourself and say thanks with honesty because you thank them for the love they have for you.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas!

Claudia – Your Fairy Godmother

Fairy Godmother Claudia Unger is on a mission to help career driven women to design – and live – their happily ever after. She does this while living her own dream life in rural England with her two black labs. Download her free 5 Secrets to living a fulfilled life or claim her free dream board (note: snail mail!) today: www.spellyourlife.com