Does the mere thought of Christmas fill you with panic and stress? Don’t worry, help is at hand!
‘Tis the season to be Jolly…….
Christmas is a lovely time of year. All the yummy food, the gift giving, the look on your children’s faces on Christmas morning, the celebrations with friends and family. But it can also be a time of complete overwhelm. We are hosting this year so I’m feeling that extra pressure!
Fear not though, I’ve pulled together my top tips for a stress-free Christmas.
It’s not just Santa who needs a list you know! I’m putting out there – I’m a list lover! Joking aside, it really helps me to have everything written down, in one place and not swimming around in my head (which is already full of lots of other random bits). You’ll also get that lovely feeling of satisfaction when you cross something off that’s completed. I’m a simple pen and paper type of girl but there are also loads of free aps now such as ‘Paperless’ and ‘Wunderlist’ which you can search for in the app store, meaning you can list and cross off on the move. Bonus! A good place to start is; Gifts – who to buy for and what you might get them, the Christmas day shopping list and the general Christmas goodies shopping list, jobs and chores that need doing around the house before the big day. Do be realistic with what you can achieve though and make sure you read point 2 below!
We all know the saying ‘many hands make light work’, but if you’re anything like me (a bit of a control freak) you might be tempted to just do it all yourself. STOP! You can save yourself loads of time and stress by delegating some tasks to others. Delegating is an art, so I’ve been led to believe, and there are some key things to remember; play to peoples strengths, be really clear about what it is you’re asking them to do/get/make etc, set a deadline if you need to and check out that their understanding is the same as yours so that you avoid disappointment.
My mother in law is an extraordinary baker – she has been tasked with desert.
My husband will have a list of delegated jobs including helping with the big clean, picking up some of my click and collect orders (see above) and he’s a meticulous present wrapper so he’ll be helping with that too.
Save yourself the time, stress and hassle and shop from the comfort of your own home. As a full time working mum of two, I normally get slightly over excited at the prospect of even going to the supermarket alone, let alone full on shopping in the town centre (a complete rarity!) Not at Christmas though. No, no, no. I can’t think of anything worse than busy, hot shops, where I can’t find what I’m looking for and loads of bags to cart about with me. I much prefer to shop on line, from the comfort of my own sofa, perhaps even with a glass of wine in hand (although there are associated risks – see point 5!) and a Christmas film on in the background. You can browse the best deals, find exactly what you’re looking for and get it delivered. Or save money and collect in store.
Most of the big supermarkets offer an online service now too so you can even do your food shop on line. It can be quite economical if you make a list so you don’t go crazy and only buy what you need and if you chose the click and collect option. My kids love it when we only have to drive up to kiosk and open the boot rather than go in the ‘boring supermarket’. Another bonus of online shopping is you can do it any time of day.
Having said that, I will also be shopping local and heading down to the Christmas Markets in Stockport for a few little extras and unique things you can’t get anywhere else. With the bulk of my shopping done I will find perusing much more enjoyable! Might even have a mulled wine.
Keep Calm – don’t sweat the small stuff! (or even the big stuff)
Something will go wrong. Or you’ll forget something. Or the kids will meltdown with sheer overwhelm and tiredness from getting up at 3am. It’s life and this stuff happens (or it does in mine anyway!) The thing is, we put so much pressure on ourselves to make this one day of the year so perfect that we set ourselves up for massive disappointment when it isn’t. And as my good old dad, the most laid back man I’ve ever met always says, ‘IT IS ONE DAY’. There are 364 other days in a year where you’ll perhaps make the best Roast Potatoes known to man, or the kids will get along for a whole 24 hours but equally, things will go wrong on those days too. Life isn’t perfect all of the time and chances are it won’t be on Christmas day either. But it will be for the most part, so focus on those bits and don’t sweat the small stuff!
It can be so tempting to just spend, spend, spend. Especially when you’re rushing around, trying to get the perfect gift, make the perfect Christmas dinner and give everyone the best Christmas ever. However, come January, the bills come rolling in and that one day of the year seems a distant memory and the January blues well and truly arrive. There are some great ways you can save money – especially if you have a large family or lots of people to buy for. You could set a budget limit within your groups of friends and family and everyone only buys gifts within the spending limit. Don’t be afraid to be the one that suggests it either, the chances are they’re feeling overwhelmed and short on cash too and would welcome the limit on spending. Or maybe do a secret Santa. That way everyone gets a gift but you don’t end up having to buy loads. This is a favourite for me and my friends and the kids. It always works out really well.
Look after yourself
Whatever else happens, try to make some time for yourself to sit back and enjoy the festivities. It’s easy to get caught up in making sure everyone else is happy, but don’t forget yourself. If you’re burned out before the day even arrives it won’t be much fun for anyone. We talked about planning for all things Christmas but it’s really important to schedule a little bit of time for yourself too. Simple, low cost things could be going for a walk, having a lovely hot bath (without the kids wanting to jump in!) meet a friend for a coffee or whatever else gives you a bit of time out. If you plan it, you’re more likely to stick to it!
Hopefully you’ll all have a wonderful, stress free Christmas.
A few final words from me for you to ponder………
‘Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.’