1. Plan, plan, plan. About four weeks before the big day, start making plans. Write everything…
Our Guide To Help You Plan A Stress Free Christmas
Now’s the perfect time to finalise your plans so you can enjoy a stress free Christmas.
So, grab a pen and paper and a cup of coffee and enjoy our guide to surviving the final days of Christmas preparation to help you to plan for a happy and memorable Christmas with your family and friends……
Christmas gift guides and catalogues aren’t just junk mail in our house. We have a tradition of gathering all Christmas catalogues that we find in the months and weeks leading up to Christmas and we sit together and share what we like and don’t like and we circle our favourites. Believe me, when you’re standing in a busy store, arms full of heavy bags and facing a myriad of items that look the same, it’s sanity saving to know exactly which gift it is that your loved one has requested.
And don’t forget to take pages from the catalogues, or better still, take photos of the items you have to buy from a catalogue and you’ll easily be able to remember exactly what to purchase.
Window Shop Online
I adore online shopping but this close to Christmas it can be a risk if the delivery is delayed. So use online stores to research your gifts and then you’ll know exactly what you want to buy when it comes time to hit the shops. And don’t forget, an increasing number of shops now offer Click and Collect services which can be a real time saver.
Make a List and Check it Twice
It’s not just a lovely lyric, lists are the saviour of Christmas sanity. They will ensure you don’t forget anybody, or that you don’t double up or buy way more than your budget will allow.
And they don’t just stop with gift shopping – Plan your festive menus, who to send cards to, what to cook when on Christmas Day and more. Here are my favourite Christmas lists…..
- Gifts: Family and friends aside, don’t forget teachers, or others in your community that you like to give gifts to such as neighbours, the postman, the garbage truck driver etc. And don’t forget a few extra supplies such as boxes of choccies or mince pies for unexpected guests, or to take to the hosts of festive gatherings.
- Decorating: Check the lights work, ensure you’ve enough batteries, has the tree topper seen better days?
- Cooking: Consider which Christmas meals and events are you catering for? What do you need to buy and don’t forget to order hams, turkeys etc in advance.
- Festive parties: Apart from food what else will you need for your festive gatherings, everything from napkins to extra chairs and plates, or even picnic blankets or beach towels. And would Christmas even be Christmas without crackers? And don’t forget your Christmas music playlist.
- Family traditions: Family traditions are creating the memories for your family that will last a lifetime. If your children are very small you might not have any yet so here’s a few of our favourite ideas to consider …. Do you need to purchase an advent calendar? Have you booked tickets to the annual panto or saved a free evening to check out the Christmas lights? And if Christmas pjs are your thing don’t leave it too late to find the right ones. Do you bake together with your children at Christmas? Watch favourite Family Christmas movies, or visit Santa? I even have a friend who plans elaborate Elf On The Shelf locations and activities weeks out from Christmas!!! Now THAT’S planning! Consider these traditions early to ensure you have what you need to make them special.
- Gift Wrapping: What will you need for wrapping gifts? Paper, gift tags, rolls of sticky tape. Packing boxes for gifts to be posted. And don’t forget to check final posting dates for delivery with your local post office.
- Acts of Kindness : do you make charitable donations, or acts of community service, even if it’s just popping in to an elderly neighbour to say Merry Christmas? These can make a huge difference to others at Christmas and it’s great for our kids to see that it’s not all about receiving gifts.
So, you’ve got all your lists written and your plans in place. Now it’s time to hit the shops!
Here are our top tips to surviving Christmas shopping ……..
All By Myself
We ALL know just how difficult shopping is with kids in tow. Add Christmas in to the mix and you can multiply the stress many times. The struggle is real, whether your children are small and don’t like the hussle-bussle or being dragged around busy shops; or whether they are older and pester you to purchase every shiny new toy or gift they set their eyes on.
So, if ever there’s a time to shop alone, it’s when you’re Christmas shopping. Leave the kids home with a partner, drop them off in day care, or call in your babysitting favours with friends and you’ll find the experience all the more enjoyable …. At the very least you’ll not suffer the torture of dragging an unhappy, hungry or tired child through shops and you’ll find that it is less stressful and you’ll probably spend less too.
And don’t forget, many shops extend opening hours at this time of year so why not pop out after the kids have gone to bed!
One word – parking! Do not expect to arrive at your favourite shopping destination to be able to easily find a parking space! You may be lucky, but for the majority of us, it only leads to stressful slow trips round and round, stalking shoppers who look like they’re returning to their car, only to find they’re emptying their trolleys and heading back in for round 2!
So head in early and secure yourself a stress free parking space…and if the shops aren’t open yet, enjoy a cup of coffee in peace before the madness begins.
Fill Up First
Make sure you’re fed and watered before heading out to the shops. Not only will you be less tempted to indulge in the often unhealthy snacks enticing us by the cash register, but you’ll have plenty of energy to track down everything you need AND handle the crowds.
Use A Trolley
I’m guilty of forgetting this one….at least until my arms are at breaking point and I’m 3 ft wider with bags on each arm. And besides, if your arms are full of bags, you can’t keep track of your shopping list easily.
Know When It’s Time To Stop
I don’t know about you, but the thing most guaranteed to blow my Christmas budget are all those last minute, don’t even need to have gifts I buy. It’s hard to resist those cute stocking fillers or just one more cuddly teddy bear or that only just released new book or toy that would make such a lovely surprise on Christmas morning. But it’s really important to know when to STOP and walk away from the shops.
If you’re done, you’re done. Stop shopping and enjoy Christmas knowing you’ve not blown your budget.
We hope you’ve found these tips useful, & if you’ve got Christmas planning hints & tips we’d love to hear them.
And no matter how you plan, or don’t plan your Christmas, we wish you all a safe and merry Christmas x