Somehow Christmas has become a little too stressful - and I truly believe with a few quick strategies and some planning, we can take it back so that EVERYONE enjoys the day!
My approach for Christmas these days is to massively simplify. Having said that I absolutely LOVE Christmas and going the extra mile; it's a stress I actually enjoy (if that makes any sense).
One of my key strategies is to spread the tasks out over time. This way it's not all left to one overwhelming list; and helps financially as well as I don’t panic buy! Doing things little bit by little bit - before you know it you're like Bruce Bogtrotter of Matilda fame and you've managed to eat the whole chocolate cake.
My November to-do list is more focussed on those random jobs that I seem to forget while getting the rest of Christmas sorted... and it may in fact be I'm the only one; but for what it's worth - here's 10 things I try to get done sooner rather than later:
- Set a budget - for food & drink, decorations, presents whatever.
- Fill in the calendar and make sure everyone’s across it! Thinking specifically school-related assemblies, performances and carols; office celebrations and of course our family catch-ups too! While one of the most GOLDEN things about holidays is not running to a schedule and trying to squeeze everything in, it does seem to go with the territory this time of year. Plus it’s not so bad if it’s stuff you want to do!
- Go through last year's decorations, tableware etc etc. Have a good declutter of it! What's staying; what's going; what needs repairing etc etc. We tend to set a bit of a colour scheme for Christmas so I like to take stock of what we already have.
- If you haven't already, start present shopping! Especially if something is coming from a distance; or needs to be posted elsewhere around the globe.
- Buy a couple of extra long-life items at the shop - crackers; chips; pretzels, nuts, some boxes of chocolates, jars of olives These are all fantastic for the entertaining season; as well as last minute gifts for neighbours you weren't expecting were buying you a gift! Items with a long shelf life will get used eventually so waste is minimised.
- Secret Santa!!! These can sneak up on you too - for the office, school, sport clubs etc. The gift sections at your local shops can be a major
- Drinks - I like to start looking at what comes on sale right about now - especially in terms of one or two bottles of "good" bubbles to celebrate! Plus they make great standby gifts too!
- Food drive items - while you are picking up long-life items, a lot of schools / workplaces will run Christmas food drives. Grab an extra one.
- Fur babies!! Yup this one comes on the back of running out of dog food one Christmas (don't worry I cooked for him for a few days).
- Start stocking (ha! pun totally intended) on the non-consumables too - a pack or two of cards, some gift wrap, sticky tape, gift bags & tags - those supplies you do not want to be short of midnight Christmas Eve. If you're using disposable plates / cutlery etc (which are now largely environmentally friendly - excellent!) grab them now too.
Once the logistics are sorted, it’s time to get on to the bits I really love – setting the menu; decorating – and getting to all those catchups I scheduled!!
What do you get done early to make life a little easier?