The festive period is the time for getting together with friends and family. Enjoying each others company, exchanging presents, making memories and having a good ole jolly! However, for many of us, it is also one of the most stressful times of the year.
To help, I have put together my 6 simple hacks to help us all avoid Christmas stress and make the holiday period a more enjoyable experience.
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6 Clever hacks to avoid Christmas stress!
When it comes to Christmas, there is just so much to do and so little time to do it. This is especially so for those trying to juggle working full time and looking after small children!
Expectation of a ‘wonderful Christmas’ can also put pressure on us, especially if you are entertaining guests. For others just having to deal with complex social interactions can have us feeling distressed! It can also be extremely difficult for those with limited funds.
You could be trying to deal with some or all of these issues making it a a very difficult and tough time of year. So if your feeling frazzled or stressed at the thought of Christmas this year, take some time out and make yourself an action plan.
To help you out, here are my 6 best hacks to avoid Christmas stress this year:
Sort out finances:
One of the biggest contributors of stress at Christmas is how much it is all gonna cost. Presents, gift wrap, decorations as well as food and drink costs can add up considerably. Taking its toll on an already stretched budget.
To help elevate financial stress at Christmas you can put in place a number of different options:
Set a budget – If you have a lot of gifts to buy then the costs can seriously add up! Why not agree before hand what you are willing to spend on each person. As a parent this can be especially difficult as you don’t want to disappoint anyone. However, it can also send out an important message, after all, gifts aren’t everything, it’s the time you spend together that counts!
Start saving – If possible starting January put aside a small amount of money each month. By the end of the year you will have a little lump sum that may not pay for everything but it will at least take the sting out of it. This may not help this year but it will defo help next year.
Keep track of your Christmas savings with my free 50 week Christmas Savings tracker.
Prepare as early as possible – Just like the previous point, this won’t necessarily help this year but will defo help in years to come. After Christmas comes all the January sales! Why not make use of them and stock up on discounted wrapping paper, cards, decorations and even some great presents.
Handmade presents – Why not try your hand at some home made presents this year. Not only will you reduce costs but handmade presents will mean so much more to the recipient. If you are looking for some inspiration why not check out the following posts:
Don’t go above your means – As much as it is tempting to go overboard or even worse take out a loan. As much as it may feel like the answer to your financial problems, it will leave you in a worse financial situation in the long run. The best bet is to find out how much you have to spend and stick to it no matter what!
Make a list:
Making lists is one of my best bits of advice when it comes to organising your life. In fact, I make a list for practically everything!
Sometimes it can feel overwhelming thinking about everything you need to do and buy at Christmas. However to avoid unnecessary stress this Christmas try writing down everything in a list.
Presents – Who do you need to buy presents for? Write them all down along with gift ideas for each person. If you are sticking to a budget, write down what that is for each person as well.
Download my free Christmas Gift List and start getting organised now.
Christmas card list – Write down all the contacts that you wish to send a card to. You can then split these up into local and non-local and add on all the last posting dates for each area.
Party guest lists – Who’s invited? This is a great way of keeping up with any RSVP’s as well. Just tick people off as and when they confirm. You could also add what you would like each guest to bring with them if they ask.
To do list – Pretty obvious really but write a list of everything that needs doing before Christmas. This could include any home repairs, cleaning schedules, shopping tasks or even when to put up decorations.
Important dates – Make a list of all important dates, such as last postal dates, party invitations, kids activities or even when your favourite Christmas movies are on TV. Once you have your list, pin it somewhere such as on the fridge or notice board. Somewhere you can see it on a daily basis, this way you will always know what’s happening throughout the festive period.
Plan meals early:
Don’t leave things till the last minute especially when it comes to food. Plan ahead and make a list of everything you need to prepare for Christmas Day or for any parties or get togethers you may be organising.
By making a list of everything you need and what to serve your guests will save you so much time and stress! I like to also plan what items can be made or prepared well in advance.
You can easily prepare many Christmas dinner favourites in advance and freeze them ready for the big day. Items include gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and even brandy butter. Other items such as vegetables and potatoes can also be prepared the day before. Just part boil vegetables, wrap in clingfilm and store in the fridge. Potatoes can be peeled and stored in a bowl of covered water overnight too.
For more ideas and make ahead Christmas recipes check out the BBC Good Food Guide.
Get the decorations out early:
One of the most frustrating things I find at Christmas is sorting out the decorations and finding lights that don’t work and broken ornaments. Now, while you really can’t help this happening from time to time. It’s so much less stressful getting all the decorations out from storage and going through them when you have the time to do so properly.
By getting them out earlier and going through them properly, you will have much more time to get them repaired or buy replacements. Once you know all the decorations are in good working order you can then organise a day dedicated to putting them up and having a big switch on! This is great if you have children as you can really make a day of it without having any unhappy kids when the lights don’t work!
For most people Christmas means more people more food and more presents. To make life easier why not have a good de-clutter making way for all things new.
Decluttering doesn’t have to start and end with old toys though. Why not take the opportunity to de-clutter kitchen cupboards and even make room throughout the rest of the house.
Toys – Of course sorting out the kids old toys is a great way of making space for all the new ones that will come their way. However it’s also a great way of earning some extra pounds. Sell unused items on Ebay or other online selling sites. You can also help those less fortunate than yourselves by donating to local charity shops or children’s centres.
If you are planning on getting rid of old toys, try and do it when the children are out the house. It’s surprising what kids will suddenly be interested in when they think its getting binned!
Kitchen cupboards – Will all the extra food being bought, have you got the room to store it? When was the last time you had a good kitchen clear out? It’s surprising what you might find lurking at the back of your cupboards! After a recent clear out we found items that were over 3 years out of date!
If you find items that you most likely won’t use but are still in date why not give them to a local food bank.
Around the house – Having a major de-clutter can be quite overwhelming, however, start off small going from room to room. One of the best reasons for a house de-clutter before christmas is to make more storage space and make room for all the extra guests.
You don’t necessary need to do a big full on de-clutter but just getting rid of all those unused items and clearing space will make your home feel bigger and more relaxing.
Don’t sweat the small stuff, It’s Christmas
It’s pretty normal to feel the pressure on the lead up to the festive season. However, by using a few simple hacks to avoid Christmas stress like the ones above you can be well prepared for whatever the holiday season throws at you.
However, it’s important to note that the Christmas period is more than having the perfect Christmas dinner and getting all the best gifts. It’s also about making memories with the people you love and spending time with family and friends.
Even with all the best intentions, organising and planing, things can still go wrong! What’s important is how we deal with them. Remember it’s Christmas, embrace the chaos and those unrealistic ideas of perfection and just have fun!
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Thanks for reading,