Christmas can be for some people the most stressful time of year. In our house tends to be very chilled and laid back, there is no stressing about gift giving, the house being perfect or pretty much anything else. We just have good quality time together as a family. But this state of calm has taken years to get to!
Here’s how I do it:
10. Make a List – dull but make a list of everyone you need to buy a present for and budget how much you want to spend per person. Also make a list of how many Christmas Cards you need to buy. I know the Christmas’s I’ve over spent massively and stressed about were the ones I didn’t make lists for. I ended up buying presents willy nilly and then completely blew my credit card.
9. Shop in November – whipping round the shops for Christmas presents in the week before Christmas with kids in tow is just a nightmare. Nothing and I mean nothing makes me more stressed, I just can’t bear it everyone’s level of stress seems to be about a 100 times worse and I get super grouchy. So I do all my Christmas shopping and gift making in November. The list helps with this as it means you can take advantage of 3 for 2 deals in stores for presents and cards or make gifts in advance via Thrifty Christmas saving on money.
8. Friends abroad? Buy presents online – I buy a lot of presents from Amazon especially for friends living abroad. We have friends in the US and I used to buy presents here and then post them to them – it cost a FORTUNE! £60 postage for a medium size box! So now I use Amazon.com which is the US Amazon and you can buy items on there using a UK Credit card and have them wrapped and delivered in the US and Canada for a fraction of what it costs to send them from here and saves on visits to the post office!
7. Pre-order the food – I pre-order all the Christmas food from our local butcher and farm shop for collection in the days leading up to. Both are great value and better quality than the supermarkets. I also tend to do a big wine and beer order from the local wine warehouse in early December so we’re fully stocked for friends and family dropping by. Remember there is no shame in getting food delivered especially if you have small children. It also means you’re less likely to impulse buy in-store Christmas crap and therefore save money.
6. Don’t stress about presents – I know people who worry so much about what they’re buying for people that they end up not getting anything at all and then spend a fortune buying any old rubbish on Christmas Eve and worry themselves sick. Most people aren’t going to mind what present they get, it’s just nice to get a present. Think of something that is a treat, be a nice bottle of wine, chocolates or some bubble bath they wouldn’t treat themselves too – all are fine presents.
5. Christmas Cards – Write them the last weekend in November, bulk buy second class stamps and pop them in the post on the Monday. Your friends and relatives will be amazed at receiving them on the 1st or 2nd December! You look organised and save yourself money buy not having to buy loads of first class stamps so they get there in time.
4. Don’t try and do it all yourself – get the kids and your partner involved. Have them write the cards this year – give them the list and a pile of cards and get them working. Same with the presents, L is too small to do the actual wrapping but she is in charge of labels and ‘pretties’ for the presents and I must say does an awesome job! It makes them feel more involved and makes you less stressed.
3. De-clutter – clear all the surfaces in the house, have the children go through their books and toys to give to charity and make way for the new. If you keep the surface clear then you’ll be more relaxed when unexpected visitors drop by and the house looks less messy – seems to work at ours!
2. Emergency Gifts – Have a couple of emergency presents in case you get one from someone you’re not expecting one from. I always have a spare bottle of wine and box of chocolates – if you don’t have to give them away then all the more for you 🙂
1. Learn to say ‘No’ – When L was little on her first Christmas all the family wanted us to go to theirs for Christmas Day. The thought of travelling round the country with a baby, all her stuff pushchair, travel cot etc, her presents and theirs just made me want to cry. So I summoned up the courage to say ‘No’. Thankfully they were very understanding, but I just couldn’t face it.
So now Christmas day is ‘our’ day we spend it together the three of us. We stay in our PJ’s as long as we like, open our presents when we like and you want Christmas Pud and some Bucks Fizz at 10am? Well you can at our house – no one else’s rules or traditions we do what we like. We fit other family in on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day and friends in the week before Xmas and before New Year. Don’t be afraid to do your own thing and remember it’s supposed to be FUN!.