The Christmas Season is upon us and whilst it could be the most wonderful time of the year, for some it’s the most stressful. Whether you’re hosting family over Christmas, travelling across the world, or you regularly find you need to be in 10 places at once, here are 12 ways to prepare for the Christmas Season.
1. Organise your decorations
There’s nothing worse than getting the Christmas decorations out of the attic in several bin bags and cardboard boxes and having to sort through them every single year. Avoiding getting tangled up in fairy lights and wearing broken baubles can often be a challenge (we’ve all been there).
This year, try organising your decorations in advance of Christmas. Use clear plastic containers so you can see exactly what’s inside. These are easily stackable, seal securely and are fairly low cost.
2. Shop for Christmas Gifts in Earlier Sales
Christmas shopping doesn’t have to just be done at Christmas… if you find you’ve got spare cash earlier in the year, make the most of the summer sales and mid-season sales to pick up gifts at a reduced price.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday also happen late November so make a list of gifts you need to buy and pick them up early (if you can!) in the sales. Say goodbye to pushing through crowds of Christmas shoppers and enjoy the spare time you have in December.
Whilst on the subject of gift buying, it’s always a good idea to create a budget. Make a list of who you need to buy for and a budget for their gift. Keep these figures in mind when shopping and if something is unreasonably priced – say no. You made your budget for a reason and there are plenty of alternative products available out there.
Knowing your budget and sticking to it will reduce any worry and stress around the time your credit card bill is due.
4. MAKE A LIST OF ACTIVITIES YOU WANT TO DO
It seems like Christmas is ages away but as soon as December arrives, you blink and it’s New Year already. It can sometimes seem like there’s not enough time in December to fit everything in you need or want to do.
So, to make sure you can fit everything in, make a list of activities you want to do in December. Include everything from ice skating, visiting the family, doing the food shop to wrapping presents and watching a Christmas film. If it’s written down and you have a plan to stick to, things won’t be forgotten and you won’t find yourself having to fit in 5 activities on Christmas Eve just to make sure you’re ready for the big day.
5. Order your Advent Calendar
If you prefer a novelty Advent Calendar as opposed to the traditional chocolate Advent Calendars, you might need to pre-order one. Some even go on sale as early as September. So if you want to make sure you get your hands on the calendar you want, sign up to mailing lists, read blog posts and do your research, so when it goes on sale, you’re ready to buy.
Alternatively, if you prefer to make your own Advent Calendar, collect the gifts throughout the year so by the time December comes you’ve got a full Calendar ready to go.
6. Make a Plan for Family Visits
Everyone’s schedule can be pretty manic at Christmas (although yours won’t be this year with these tips!) so finding time to visit friends and family can sometimes be a little tricky. Before the Christmas period starts, make a plan of who you need to visit and arrange with others, so everyone has it in their calendar. This will make sure no one is missed out.
7. Buy Travel tickets in advance
Once you’ve made your plan to visit friends and family, if you need to purchase travel tickets, buy them in advance to save money. Christmas is a busy time to travel and last minute tickets can be pricier too.
Save getting stressed and save money by purchasing them in advance.
8. Book a slot for your Christmas Food Delivery
If you shop for your groceries online, you’ll find that the slots in the week running up to Christmas will get filled up pretty quickly, so when you’ve decided when you want your food to be delivered, book a slot early. This will avoid having to make the trip to the supermarket yourself and fight through crowds of people playing tug of war over the last bag of sprouts on Christmas Eve.
9. Shop for cards and wrap early
You wouldn’t expect Christmas cards and wrapping paper to sell out, would you? Believe it or not, if you leave it too late, shops such as supermarkets don’t replenish their stock so you’re stuck with what’s left. Wrap and cards go on sale pretty early so when you see it in the shops, pick up a couple of rolls and forget about it.
10. Charge batteries
It’s Christmas morning, your loved ones are opening their gifts and you want to capture their reactions on your camera, or get a quick family Christmas snap just before tucking into Christmas dinner… but your camera battery is dead and takes hours to charge.
Charge any batteries (eve those you aren’t sure you’ll need) before Christmas, so if you want to capture a spontaneous moment, you can.
11. Check delivery times for Christmas Orders
If you’re doing a spot of Christmas online shopping in December, check the delivery schedules of those stores you know you’re going to shop with, before December arrives. If you know you need to order Auntie Mabel a jumper from her favourite retailer, make sure you know the last day you can order for it to arrive on time (although I would recommend ordering sooner and not leaving it until the last minute in case there are delays).
12. Prepare food early
Depending on what you put on your menu for Christmas Day, you might be able to prepare some food items in advance and freeze them. Defrosting and reheating certain items might save time on the day (whilst not all food is suitable for freezing and it’s not always preferable, this can save you time).
If you follow these 12 tips above I can guarantee you’ll be less stressed, have more time and energy to enjoy Christmas, and hopefully save a little money in doing so!