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How do you cope at Christmas?

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Christmas might be the happiest season of all but it can also be the most stressful.

There's often no let-up at work, entertaining can be chaotic and as for buying Christmas presents, who has the time? The Royal Gazette managed to find some residents with sure-fire methods of coping with the hectic period. Read on to for their solutions.

Friends Jessie Masters, 30, and Veronica DaCosta, 31, said they deal with holiday stress by working out.

“We are underwriters and we are really busy up until January 1,” said Miss Master. “As far as Christmas shopping goes, that's not so stressful. We like shopping.”

Added Miss DaCosta: “We do a mix of things. We run, we take exercise classes, we do weightlifting. It gives us a bit of a break in a ten-hour day. We usually take our vacations in January.”

British businessman Lewis Johnson said the season has been pretty stressful for him. The 26-year-old had to leave his girlfriend and family in Essex so he could be here for work.

“I leave Bermuda on Saturday,” he said. “It's not Christmas that is stressful, but trying to accommodate everyone. My family is spread out across the United Kingdom, but they come back to Essex for Christmas.”

Kenyatta Tucker, 35, said he doesn't get stressed at Christmas.

“There is great food and I get to spend a lot of time with my friends and family and you get presents,” he said. “You are broke, but aside from that, it's good. I am single. I did all the shopping way in advance, after Thanksgiving. I actually like shopping closer to Christmas because you get to see all the people you don't see on a regular basis. I am a people person and I love being in town.”

Karen Patterson, 64, said she deals with stress by simply not taking it on.

“I buy the necessary things. I buy my grandchildren books, I don't bother with toys. I buy them gifts that will improve their minds. These days I don't put up a Christmas tree anymore. I only buy gifts for my grandchildren. That helps to reduce stress a great deal.”

Jozelle Escolastica, 27, said when she starts to feel stressed at Christmas she remembers the reason for the season.

“It is about spending time with family and recognising that Christ was born; when I start to get stressed that is what I think about. It is not about the gifts and the Christmas tree. We always go to church on Christmas Eve.”

Staying organised is the secret to reducing Christmas stress, according to Sheila Semos.

She makes lists, lists and more lists to stay focused on all she has to accomplish.

“I love Christmas time so I try not to get stressed,” she said. “I find that if I try to be organised, the potential for stress is reduced greatly. Making lists of things to do for Christmas, early, is very helpful for me. I also make lists of the gifts and food I wish to buy.”

She saves her lists to help make the next year easier.

“I keep these lists for the next year, and put them with notes in my diary as reminders for the next year,” she said.

Deidre Lee Bean said she doesn't find the holiday season to be particularly stressful.

“I celebrate Kwanzaa,” she said. “I understand that around Christmastime, needs are amplified and life's pressures may seem insurmountable. Stress comes from feeling overwhelmed, taking on too much and not knowing where to turn for support, I have been fortunate enough to have a reliable support system around me from my family (nuclear, extended and The Chewstick Foundation), hence do my best throughout the year to honour that. I always wish that the tenets of brotherhood that people espouse over this season could be heard and acted on a larger scale, all the time. The capacity for stress, is there all the time and the best way to deal is sober thought, simplicity and a positive outlook.”

Communications director at Bermuda College Evelyn James Barnett said she manages her stress a lot better than she once did.

“It can be stressful trying to ensure that I didn't forget anyone on my list, and then trying to select something that they'd like, and that would stay reasonably within my budget,” she said. “It was pure angst some years.

“I don't go down that road anymore. I would encourage others to take a detour before they reach it. Jesus truly is the reason for the season … and so we prioritise family, and fellowship (with some food, of course) above the shopping frenzy.”

She said in her family the tradition is to read the Christmas story and sing Christmas carols in the morning before doing anything else.

“That makes our Christmas very laid-back, but very enjoyable,” she said.

Jozelle Escolastica. (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Kenyatta Tucker. (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Lewis Johnson. (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Veronica DaCosta (Left) and Jessie Masters. (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Karen Patterson. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published December 17, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated December 17, 2014 at 1:30 am)

How do you cope at Christmas?

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