Everyone wants something different from their Christmas experience. Bing Crosby dreams of a white Christmas, Donald Yetter Gardner wants his two front teeth, and all Mariah Carey wants is, well, you. The festivities and desires vary from household to household, but there’s one thing that every person wants… a stress-free Christmas.
Let’s face it, Christmas can be pretty stressful. First, you have to figure out how you’ll be spending it. Second, you need to work out who you’re buying for. There’s food to cook, presents to wrap, family to visit, trees to decorate, and houses to clean. Christmas, quite frankly, is the busiest time of the year, and as a result, it’s not always as fun as it should be.
But Christmas doesn’t have to be stressful. Early planning can turn even the most hellish of Christmases into a happy one. So take action now and start planning with these great tips…
Housing all your Christmas thoughts in your head will leave you feeling frazzled the entire season, so buy yourself a notebook and get writing. Jotting down all your Christmas ideas, from seating plans and recipes to gifts and decorations, will free the mind from clutter and make getting ready for Christmas much easier. As you perform tasks, cross them off your list to show there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
If you plan on hitting the shops for Christmas gifts, get there nice and early. Shopping centres and main-street stores can be crazy come Christmas time, so avoid the hustle and bustle and do your shopping in late November. Alternatively, shop for your gifts online, which will make the whole experience of gift giving much easier. The Good Food Gift Card makes an excellent gift for loved ones, colleagues, employees and friends, as not only is it super easy to order, it’s a gift that’s actually practical – and who doesn’t love good food?
If you’re planning on writing Christmas cards for everyone you know, set a day aside to get them all done in one hit. Play some music, pop some TV on in the background and have your stamps ready to go. Alternatively, write a general Christmas letter and greeting and email it.
Performing one task at a time streamlines Christmas and helps you keep focus. Do all your shopping online in one day, sit down to create your entire Christmas menu, and gather all the tools you need to make your DIY decorations in one sitting.
Eliminate aimless shopping expeditions and ensure even distribution (without going overboard!) by drawing up a budget. This will also help when buying decorations, food or when planning evenings out. Decide how much you’re willing to spend on the season and then take action to stay within budget.
Trying to tackle every Christmas task yourself is the main ingredient of a stressful Christmas. Instead, ask for help when you need it and purposely assign tasks to others. Perhaps your partner can handle the outdoor lights? Maybe the kids can tackle the tree? Maybe all your guests can bring a plate to dinner?
If you’re dying for a catch up with your friends but you’re facing a night of wrapping gifts or making Christmas labels, kill two birds with one stone and invite your friends over. Any Christmas task is more enjoyable with a bottle of wine, some food and good company.
There’s nothing worse than suddenly realising you’ve left someone off the gift list. It’s also embarrassing when someone you thought wouldn’t get you a gift suddenly hands you a perfectly wrapped box. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep ‘standby gifts’ – an emergency present that will suit people of all ages and tastes. Again, a Good Food Gift Card is a great option as not only will any recipient love it, if you don’t need to use it you can reward your smart shopping by using the card yourself!
Christmas means clutter, be it in the wardrobe, the cupboards or the fridge. If you know people are coming, clear some space ready for them by hanging the winter coats somewhere else, making room in the pantry, or clearing a shelf in the fridge for beer and wine.
You never know when someone might land on your doorstep at Christmas, so be prepared by chilling some Champagne in the fridge and stocking up on some cheese and crackers.
If travelling for the holidays, shop sensibly to avoid having to lug excess luggage. If you must bring gift-wrapped items, pack them in a way that airport security can easily examine the contents.
We all know the supermarket can get pretty manic in the days leading up to Christmas, so cut your shopping time in half by stocking up on baking staples and pantry items early. The less you have to buy between the December 22 and January 3, the faster and more pleasant your shopping will be.
If your calendar is filling up fast, schedule yourself some unwind time by pencilling in some personal hours. Solidify the plans by buying advance tickets to a movie, booking a day at the spa, or scheduling a hair appointment.