10 Tips for a Stress Free Christmas
Tips to make the holiday season more manageable
Get Rid of the Gift Guilt
Once again, December has arrived without warning and Christmas feels like it may as well be tomorrow. And if you’re anything like the rest of us, you’ll be starting to worry about having everything prepared for Christmas - gifts, food, bedding for guests and the rest!
But there’s one thing you should always remember: Christmas is a holiday, first and foremost. You deserve as much of a break as everyone else in the household, so if you’re pulling the organising weight in your house these holidays, we’ve prepared some tips to help lighten the load.
So often, we get caught up trying to buy presents for everyone in our address book. If they’ve just commented on a Facebook photo of yours, that doesn’t mean they have to get a present! Work out those you truly want to give a gift, and erase those feelings of guilt about not buying for everyone - it’s simply impossible!
Budgets are tight for so many people around this time of year, and the less time you have to spend shopping for people whose tastes you don’t intimately know, the more time you have to relax.
Budgets are Beautiful
It might seem like an annoying task now, but if you set out a budget for the people you want to buy for, it won’t just stop you from overspending this Christmas - it’ll help to guide your credit card hand to the right stores!
Set yourself a spending limit per person and then you’ll immediately start shaping an idea of what you can and can’t afford, rather than spending hours poring over items deciding whether or not to break the bank and buy them.
Quantity, Not Quality
If you have several children in the home for Christmas, whether your own or someone else's, it’s important to make sure they get the same amount of presents - check with other parents or present buyers in advance. We all know that young ones can stir up a tantrum over anything, so by making sure everyone has the same number of presents, you’re eliminating one potential stress factor these holidays.
They may not be as likely to kick up a fuss if someone elses present is more valuable than theirs - but oh boy, if they got one less present than someone else, it can be trouble!
Do some planning with the adults who’ll be bringing presents to Christmas celebrations, and you’ll save a lot of stress on the big day.
Try the Vintage Values
Sometimes, buying glossy items or the latest toy can bend your budget to the breaking point - so consider taking it old school! Most towns and cities have some fantastic vintage stores that can have great condition, quirky items at wonderful value. Try these out for some truly unique present ideas - especially appropriate if you have a few eccentric family members that are hard to shop for!
5. Ride the Information Superhighway
Of course, we don’t all have a lot of time to go Christmas shopping. Setting present shopping time aside is difficult enough, but how about actually physically getting the presents into the house without the kids sniffing them out - now that’s hard work!
If this is the case for you, try buying online - you can get things shipped direct to your door, which cuts down on shopping hours. It also means you could get important gift buying done from the comfort of your own home or office. You don't even have to put your shoes on!
6. Cut Down the Cooking
Sometimes you can spend the entire holiday preparing food for everyone else to eat, and end up working more than you usually would at the day job - it’s time to scrap this!
By sharing the load with a pot luck event or preparing your menu well in advance, you can reduce the amount of time you have to spend stressing about snacks and meals on the day.
Better yet, host a barbeque event - we’re sure there will be no shortage of people lining up to show everyone who’s the boss on the grill!
7. Enlist the Support of the Tiny Troops
Do you have untold amounts of decorations to go up each Christmas? A Godzilla-sized tree to be adorned with candy canes and tinsel? Don’t go it alone, instead get the kids to help!
By seeing who can make the prettiest decorations or set up the most items, you can turn your Christmas setup into a fun game, taking out the stress and splitting the workload. Many hands make light work - even if they’re the hands of a six year old!
8. Paper Preparation
By the time the present opening is said and done, you can find your living area is a sea of paper, tape and candy-stuffed kids. This can be a cute sight, but also a stressful one. And it so often seems like a waste to spend money on the gift wrapping that so quickly turns into rubbish!
You could find a fun and inventive way around this by perhaps using named gift baskets and sacks - we’ve seen stunning Christmas themed pillow cases that contain kids’ presents, and can be used every year! What’s more, they make for a great satchel so children can carry their candy and toys around with them for the rest of the day, keeping the trail of mess to a minimum.
9. Watch the Wine
Every silly season, it seems unavoidable that at some point, a family member is going to have a few too many. It might be an older son having their first Christmas with wine or an outrageous aunt who gets a little too intense, they can all cause the same holiday stress.
Designate someone to do the pouring of the alcohol at dinner, or to make sure people are eating and drinking water if they’re drinking. Everyone should be able to have a great time, and that also goes for you as the host!
10. Don't Want to Clean? Throw It Out?
At the end of the Christmas dinner, the first thing most people will want to do is probably nap and digest. The last thing they’ll want to do is the dishes! To easily get around this, keep it simple - use paper plates, & strong cardboard cutlery, and make sure you have your recycle bin handy. You’ll reduce your dishes by a huge amount and hardly fill a single rubbish bag!
When you’re hosting Christmas at your home, it’s tempting to take control of the situation and make everything to your perfect vision. But by stepping back and having others help, you’ll ease the workload for yourself and be able to have a stress-free Christmas.
Do what makes you happy - it’s not your responsibility to tend to everyone’s every need and want, but it is your right to relax and have a fantastic time these holidays.