Yes i chose the word KEEP because we can all start off so happy at the thought of Christmas but then slowly as it edges nearer stress and strains for many people come to a head and it can be less than fun, I love Christmas but every year I do face challenges so here is my own advice to myself (if only i would listen)
Tips to keep you stress free
- Make a plan
Take one hour of your time and sit down with your diary and the other essential people in your Christmas festivities and get events and dates written down first, rather than guessing and 'penciling' dates in just commit to those dates and do it. Then you can in this one hour delegate and confirm your part in all events, so you know what you are doing and need to prepare for.
Write in the date your decorations are going up, what date you and the kids are seeing santa ect., get organised it will help you and you will feel more in control.
- Snuggle up and take a rest
Yes that's right! 100% essential you need one day a week where you all just do nothing, just chill, read a book, watch movies, lets face it the evenings are getting darker quicker, get the blankets out and the hot chocolate and have a movie night once a week. TURN THE PHONE OFF!
Whats the point of the Christmas season if you do not enjoy it yourself!
- Budgets and secret Santa
I personally start my Christmas gift shopping in September it takes the financial pressure off of me and allows me to use money from each payday.
- Write who you are buying for
- Set a budget for each person
- Think outside the box
- Buy from small independent businesses
- Wrap your gifts as you buy
- Buy quality not quantity
- Look for outlet stores if your going for brands
The magic of Secret Santa - If you have a big family and it normally costs a lot to buy for everyone, why not introduce secret Santa, its great! so everyone gets a gift but the burden is not any one person or family.
A good suggested secret Santa amount is £20 to £40 per person and why not include under your name something you would love in that price range, least the person buying for you can't get it wrong and it takes the pressure off them! her is an example of a little form they can fill out.....
A lot of families just limit it to buying for just children normally till the age of 18. This way it cuts out the cost again for buying for adults and kids!
Or why not make a decision as a family to not buy any gifts and instead put all of your money together and donate to your fave charity or help a family you know that cannot afford gifts. I know for me i would be very happy to not buy for my hubby instead buy for some poorer families.
- Don't borrow money
I have done it and it's just not worth it, don't put items on catalogues or credit cards, after all the real question is..... WHO are YOU trying to IMPRESS? is it your ego, is it Facebook, why do you feel like you HAVE to buy BIG!!
YOU DONT ! stop it now before it gets out of hand!
What you buy with your own cash is better than buying it with someone else's.
- Glorious food
OK so i tried to buy snacks and store them in a 'Christmas cupboard' but i got bored and ate it all well before Christmas arrived! if this works for you then that great, start early picking up bargains and store them away.
The best way for my family is the good old-fashioned way, we simply take some of our pay and pop it into another account till we are ready to do our big Christmas shop, and trust me you will not catch me at the supermarket, god forbid those queues and extra offers i wouldn't be able to say no, so i shop online, book your slot early if you can.
or if you HAVE to face the store go in the week, so much quieter.
- Write a food list
- Set a budget (Money advice service)
- Stick to it
- Shop early
- Shop online this will save you money!
- Christmas day is finally here!
Ok so its Christmas eve, get prepping now, save yourself so much hassle or simply go out to a restaurant on Christmas day!
- Peel and prep all veg Christmas eve and store in fridge overnight
- Prep the stuffing balls and pigs in blankets
- Ensure you have left enough time for the turkey or meat to defrost normally 1 to 2 days is best, please read the instructions.
- Ask the butcher to de-bone and remove the giblets from your turkey especially if your oven is small.
- How to cook a turkey, and everything for a perfect dinner from the Good food guide.
- Ask guests to bring food give them a dish or an item you would like, people love to help.
- Get help in the kitchen don't be the only one trying to make it all work, work as a team, its your day too.
- Cleaning up again work as a team
- In the evening do yourself a favor and delegate this task to another family member let them take control whilst you relax.
There you go hope some of this has helped you and remember it is one day and whilst it is important, it's not the most important thing in the world nor are the size of the gifts or how much someone got, health and happiness is important and the only things you can't live without.
Spare a thought for people who are homeless this christmas and have no support system a charity close to my heart is Sutton Night watch and if you can help please donate some equipment from their wish list on Amazon.
Such a great charity helping the homeless in Sutton and surrounding areas here is their Facebook page.
Take care this Christmas
Love and Light