Big Families, Bigger Dinners and Rallying the Troops: How do you Deal with Seasonal Stress?

This week we learned that the Queen herself would be joining Kate, Wills and George at their Norfolk home this Christmas, which got the Loose Women thinking, how do you deal with seasonal stress?

While it’s safe to say that there can’t be many things more stressful than hosting the Queen at Christmas time, we all have our own seasonal stresses, and our own methods for dealing with them.

One thing that, luckily, guest panellist Phillip Schofield doesn’t have to deal with is family arguments, as they all seem to get on fantastically:

“We have a terrific family, a big family, which is lovely, and everyone comes around at different points. I think our most is the day after Boxing Day when we’ve got 19 people. But that’s lovely, because people drop in and they’ll be there for a day or so, and then they’ll go out to go and see their own families.”

19 people? We couldn’t believe our ears! But when Jane Moore asked Phillip whether he did the cooking, it was clear that Christmas in the Schofield household is a carefully planned operation:

“I do cook, but funnily enough it’s not my job at Christmas. We all have our designated jobs. If I was to muck about with the spuds or the turkey at Christmas, I would just get in the way.”

“What’s your job then?” Ruth Langsford asked. To which Penny Lancaster was quick to chip in: “Batteries! Getting the batteries in the toys.”

Once the laughter had subsided, Phillip wholeheartedly agreed:

“I am all of that stuff. I am the batteries, I am… you know, we’ve got a fire, the log fire. I am organising wine. I am the drink guy.”

While it sounds as if the Schofield family take a very organised approach to surviving the stress of Christmas Day, Jane Moore likes to take a different tack, by cutting down her list of tasks from the outset.

“Well I always go for a very stress-free Christmas,” she said. “My husband’s cooking this year for the first time in a long time, but I usually always buy almost ready-made. I buy the turkey pretty much done.”

“Don’t be ashamed Jane!” Ruth chimed in. “If you can’t be bothered to do it!”

After hoots of laughter from both the other panellists and the audience, Jane showed that she most definitely wasn’t ashamed at all:

“If it peels back and goes in the microwave – thank you very much! Lovely jubbly.”

Of course, with Penny Lancaster joining the panel, it wasn’t just cooking habits that made it into conversation… everyone was dying to know just what goes on in the Lancaster-Stewart household at Christmas time. Ruth was quick to enquire:

“What about you Penny? Does Rod cook or do you cook?”

“Well it’s like Phil said,” she revealed. “My husband’s the wine, and stoking the fire, and this year we’re spending it in Los Angeles so we’ll have all six children and a grandchild round the table together, which will be lovely. That rarely happens.”

It seems that militant planning may be the key to stress-free success, but in Jane Moore’s opinion, Penny also has one more distinct advantage…

“Well I put on my Rod Stewart Christmas hits, and you don’t have to do that do you? You’ve got the real thing!”

“He does sing,” Penny laughed. “And we were out shopping the other day, actually, and his Christmas album came on – we’ve got it all built in!”

How do keep the seasonal stress at bay on Christmas Day? Do you carefully plan the day, keep guests to a minimum or even go out to eat, so you can just sit back and relax?

Image credit: Josh McGinn / Flickr

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