Let's take advantage of all this austerity to have a simpler Christmas. I know we are lucky to live in the country but you can have a simple Christmas anywhere.
Let's start with Christmas cards. I don't know anyone who really likes writing Christmas cards but I know loads who like receiving them. But sending cards to people you see every day doesn't seem worthwhile to me - all those trees that go into cards! Save the cards for those who really appreciate them: the elderly aunt who lives by herself who would notice and care if she didn't get a card; the friends who live at the other end of the country whom you rarely see but really want to stay in touch with. If you are only sending a quarter of the number of cards you usually send, you can afford to spend a few minutes writing something personal in each one, not a round robin of achievements and middle class boasting, but a personal note that means something to the recipient. And share it out. There is no hormonal cause for women to undertake the writing of cards or the buying of presents. Make a list of everyone who should receive cards and presents and divide it between you so that you do "your" people and he does "his". And that point you have to let it go. If he doesn't send a card to his old university friends it's because it doesn't matter to him. Let it be. He is probably right that he will pick up where he left off next time he sees them and that neither he nor his friend will bother in the slightest about Christmas cards. If he buys a dreadful present for his secretary that is his business not yours. You might want to keep an eye on the odd emotionally loaded present like one for his mother, but for the rest, do not try to delegate (and keep control), try to share.
I hate the whole business of women (and it is mainly women) whining about the stress of Christmas. It is a feast, a festival, a holiday. It needs good food, family and friends and people you love. Don't spend too much and live with the financial hangover. Make things or agree to spend a small amount on presents. If a child wants something electronic and expensive, perhaps all the grandparents and aunts and uncles have to club together for it so that the child has a sense that there are choices to be made and limits to be observed. I believe passionately that it is good for children not to have everything and that too much choice and consumerism makes restless, envious fools of us all.
So eat well. Make an effort but don't stress yourself out. It is only a big roast dinner after all and for us at any rate, it is the trimmings that make the Christmas dinner: the stuffings and the pigs in blankets and the bread sauce. We are lucky enough to have some friends who every year raise just a few turkeys, as free range as you like out and about with their hens. We will have one of their turkeys again and they are fabulous but we have had everything from that to turkey crowns and one memorable Christmas when it was just Ian and me we had scallops and not a turkey in sight. The important things to me are that the food should be plentiful and the meal should feel like an occasion with the best china and different wines and time taken. You should get up from the table with a feeling of total satisfaction, not so stuffed that you can barely move but knowing you have feasted.
Walk with your family, talk with them, laugh with them. Spend time with them. Hide from them for a bit when you need to. Relish the sense of a time of feasting and festival in the middle of a dark winter and wrap it round you as you go into January, waiting for snowdrops.