December has been a busy month. It’s only 11 sleeps ‘til Christmas…I have been running around like a headless chicken (or shall I say turkey?) trying to wrap things up at work, plan what we will be doing over the holidays, get all the shopping done, fit some next year planning and some festive celebrations with friends and family. It should be an exciting month and yet a lot of us feel stressed and even burned out.
I love feeling festive and look forward to spending some quality time with my loved ones but I don’t want to be totally exhausted by 24th December and let the holidays pass me by whilst I sleep off all the prep. There are some tips that have helped me to ensure I don’t get too overwhelmed and stressed in all the pre-Christmas chaos.
I used to think I can remember everything. It turns out, I can’t! All to-do, to-buy and to-make lists need to be in one place. I have my trusty Moleskine always with me. Throughout the year I write up a list of presents so I don’t have to panic come December. Everything that needs to be bought, cooked, prepared and done lands there. I love seeing things getting ticked off.
I also keep budget lists, as Christmas expenses add up fast. Setting a budget takes the stress of over-spending and I make sure I don’t go into debt just to have that “perfect Christmas” and buying mindlessly.
I try to avoid crazy crowds during festive season shopping and make sure most of mine is done on-line. It means I don’t get overwhelmed and panic buy in the shops. I can browse for best prices, compare similar products and in most cases have it shipped for free anyways in time for Christmas. Some retailers will even offer free gift – wrapping. All from the comfort of my own sofa, without fighting for parking spaces, paying for them and then battling through the shops.
DON’T STRESS OVER PERFECT
From everywhere, we hear about preparing “perfect Christmas”. I used to worry about perfect food, gifts, cards. Don’t! Do your best and do it from the heart. Your loved ones will know that whatever you bought or made comes with a thought and that’s what counts.
Not the celebrations…the preparations. This kind of goes without saying but for some reason I used to leave everything to the last minute. However, a little bit of prep ahead eliminates a lot of stress later on and it means that if other things get in the way, the can be dealt with.
I found that gift lists or Christmas gift shopping throughout the year works great as if I like something and can pick it up on sale it’s a double win for me. Also, all gift wrapping and cards for next Christmas can be picked up for fraction of the price in January sales.
Buying some long-life food items from August / September takes some financial pressure off when it comes to shopping. Things like tin foil, roasting trays or even snacks can be bought some time in advance. Also, cooking and freezing in advance especially when you expect some visitors takes the pressure off and means you don’t have to slave in the kitchen when you could be spending some quality time with friends and family.
ENJOY AND RELAX
During all that running around don’t forget to enjoy the run up to Christmas. I know it’s busy and we all try to fit everything in. We also say that come Christmas we will relax. It’s important to stop and pause in a minute during all that chaos, even take some time out and pamper yourself so you can get back into ticking off that list again tomorrow.
I also find the whole process of preparing for holidays enjoyable. Baking with kids, decorating the house even stressful at times means we create some new memories and sometimes even traditions for the years to come.
Even if you don’t manage to tick off every single thing on your to-do list, don’t worry. Don’t foget that the real point of Christmas is to spend some quality time together with your family and friends as well as devour some delicious food and drink.
What do you do to avoid pre-Christmas stress?