Anyone who’s ever organised a festive celebration knows that actually, a family Christmas can be an enormous amount of work. Here are 10 things you can do now that will take the stress out of your Christmas preparations.
1. Make some space
It’s amazing how quickly your home can fill up in December. It’s not only the presents you’re buying, but decorations, food, new clothing… it can make even the most spacious home feel claustrophobic. Give yourself some space by having a good declutter, and sell, donate, or recycle anything you no longer want or use.
2. Start a new tradition
Give your children the gift of a new tradition. It could be going to see your town’s light switch on, taking your children out individually for hot chocolate and a spot of Christmas shopping, or creating your own activity based Advent calendar.
3. Turn chores into games
The big Christmas clean can become fun if you add a sense of competition. Set a timer, or put on your favourite Christmas song, and see who can get the most done in that time. You could offer a prize (staying up an extra 15 minutes, getting to choose a film to watch) to the child whose room is the tidiest.
Don’t feel the need to do everything yourself. If you’re hosting dinner and a guest offers to bring something, accept graciously. Save time slaving in the kitchen with shortcuts like buying pre-prepared vegetables, and consider calling in the professionals if you find you’re struggling to keep on top of cleaning or ironing with everything else you have going on.
5. Shop Online
Rushed Christmas shopping usually leads to expensive mistakes. Start early and do the bulk of it online from the comfort of your own home. Online shopping also helps you save money by comparing deals, and gives you a wider choice of meaningful, personalised gifts than you can get in stores.
6. Write a List and Check it Twice
Create a “to do” list. Go through it and prioritise the most important items, and delete any which don’t really need doing so you won’t have any stress or guilt about leaving them undone.
7. Stay Healthy
Eat well, drink plenty of water, and get enough sleep to combat the extra socialising and work that preparing for Christmas brings. You’ll be no good to anyone if you’re struggling to get out of bed.
8. Do something for Yourself
Christmas is a time for others but that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself. Take time out of your hectic preparations to do something just for you, whether it’s a child-free catch up with friends, luxuriating in the bath with a new magazine, or a walk in the winter sunshine.
9. DIY wrapping
Let your kids loose with brown paper, stamps (or biscuit cutters), paint and glitter to create wrapping paper. As well as being a uniquely personal way to wrap gifts, it’s a fun activity that your kids will enjoy.
10. Have Fun
Set yourself a point where you decide that if it’s not done, it’s not going to get done. Christmas is going to arrive whether you’re ready or not, so you may as well relax and enjoy it.