Top Tips for a Stress-Free Christmas

Top Tips for a Stress-Free Christmas

Christmas is definitely my favourite time of year. All of the build up, the excitement, the lights, smells and excitement are magical. But, I have found that over the last few years I’ve had a tendency to allow myself to get stressed in the build up to Christmas. I’ve overspent, overcooked, and generally tried to do too much. I’ve realised that I’ve put far too much pressure on myself and I’ve made a conscious decision that this year will be different.

I’ve been thinking about how to ensure that this Christmas is stress-free (or as near to stress-free as it can be). I know that this will involve lots of planning and self-control so I’ve come up with some top tips for a stress-free Christmas. I’ll be taking my own medicine and instigating these in our own Christmas too!

Finances

Now this is an area I have actually had under control over the last few years. We had one Christmas where we blitzed the credit card and quickly lived to regret it! Ever since then, I’ve started to save for Christmas from January. This might sound extreme but it has been THE BEST WAY I’ve found to make sure we don’t have a last minute panic. A friend initially introduced me to saving for Christmas like this and I’ve stuck to it for the last few years. I put aside a set amount from our weekly budget and it goes straight into a separate savings account that I’ve called “Christmas”.

No matter what you’re trying to plan for, it’s vital that you have a budget, you can read more about budgeting here. Only once you’ve sat down and worked out your budget, can you figure out how much money you want to put aside and how much money you can afford to put aside for Christmas. Find out more about saving for Christmas here.

Presents

Christmas Presents

With three children of our own and a few other kids in our extended family, presents are definitely our biggest expense. It’s so easy to massively overspend on presents if we aren’t organised. I’ve thought about how we can combat this with a little forward-thinking.

  1. Write down a list of everyone you plan to buy for.
  2. Work out how much you’re going to spend on each person – be realistic and stick to it.
  3. Write a list of presents you already know you plan to buy.
  4. For the kids, consider buying one “big” present, a few small presents and some stocking fillers.

If you’re trying to stick to a budget, it’s also worth thinking about approaching friends and making a pact not to buy each other presents. This is a great way to save money, and let’s face it, lots of us give and receive gifts that’ll inevitably end up stashed in a cupboard never to be seen again!

Food & Drink

I am renowned for buying far too much food at Christmas. I don’t know why I do it, it’s not like years gone by where the shops shut for a few days. The majority of the big supermarkets are shut just Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. That’s it. Even then, the petrol stations and lots of corner shops continue to open 24 hours a day throughout the festive season. So there’s no need to do this panic buying that I insist on.

This year, I’m determined NOT TO OVERDO THE FOOD.

  1. Write down which meals you’ll need to prepare & how many people you’ll be feeding.
  2. Write a shopping list of every item you’ll need for each meal.
  3. Think about extras such as chocolates & desserts.
  4. If all your visitors will be driving, you probably don’t need lots of wine with Christmas lunch.
  5. Think about what soft drinks you’ll need.
  6. Bulk up on veg to make the meat go further.

Decorating the tree

Now I know this should be a magical experience where all the family gets involved in the wonderful togetherness of decorating the masterpiece that will form the centre-piece of the home throughout the festive period. If you’re anything like us though, it can quickly crumble into a stress-filled experience of unravelling lights, trying to convince the toddler not to climb the tree and figuring out where the hell the ginormous thing is actually going to sit!

Christmas Tree

I don’t have any magical tips to relieve the stress of actually putting up the damn tree. All I will say though is that this year I’m making a pact with myself not to get stressed! I also plan to have a pep talk with my husband before we start so that he’s in on the plan too. Fingers crossed it helps! In all seriousness though, sometimes just “having a word” with myself does actually help!

Christmas is a time for family and I do love the excitement on the children’s faces once the tree’s up. We’ll let them help but it’ll be organised to minimise the stress of actually getting the decorations up.

  1. Plan when the tree will go up so you’ve got plenty of time if the lights are tangled or it takes longer than expected.
  2. Decide where the tree will go before you start.
  3. Figure out beforehand who will do what.
  4. Put some Christmas music on in the background to lighten the mood & add some festive spirit.

Christmas Cards

It’s becoming more popular in recent years not to send Christmas cards and instead to make a donation to a given charity. If you’ve decided to do it then stick to it. Don’t feel guilty when you receive a card and decide to send one anyway. Make sure people know what you’re doing.

A great way to avoid the cost of posting cards is to send ecards. You can find loads of these online and they’re free to send!

If you are sending Christmas cards, make sure you make a note of the last posting days for Christmas delivery. Ideally, you’ll want to send second class to avoid overpaying, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time. If the children are sending cards to their friends, get them to write them themselves. If they’re little, they can just write their name and the recipient’s name on the envelope. Do it in short stints and they’re less likely to get bored!

 

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Top Tips for a Stress-Free Christmas

29 Comments

  1. November 4, 2017 / 2:45 pm

    I love the magical feeling of Christmas but I agree that money can quickly make it very stressful! I also start saving (and even buying presents) at the start of the year, because it takes so much of the pressure of the end of the year!

  2. November 4, 2017 / 8:15 pm

    Christmas can be really stressful can’t it? Thanks so much for these great tips! I’ll certainly be putting them into practice to avoid pulling my hair out over the festive season.

  3. November 5, 2017 / 11:05 am

    Oh, I love Christmas too, the rest of my life is normally stressful and disorganised but Christmas is the one time of year I am actually organised and not stressed. Great tips, I always make lists for food and presents as it eases the stress xx

  4. November 6, 2017 / 11:24 am

    Decorating the tree has to be the most fun part. Presents has to be the bane of everyones life! So many people and such little time! How do you fit it all in!

    http://www.nmdiaries.com

  5. November 6, 2017 / 8:14 pm

    Great tips, last year I popped a bit away each month for xmas but didn’t this year and I am really regretting it

  6. November 7, 2017 / 6:31 am

    These are great tips. Sometimes the budget for Christmas gift gives us headache,but saving as early as January will surely do the magic.

  7. November 8, 2017 / 10:48 am

    With six kids I have to set a strict budget for Christmas – we make a bigger fuss of birthdays if I am honest

  8. November 11, 2017 / 10:49 am

    Saving up for Christmas really helps doesn’t it? I started in the summer/autumn, but I can see how starting in January would be even better. I try and save by selling things and doing the occasional extra shift at work…in other words to make it as painless as possible 🙂 Nice post, thanks for sharing x

  9. November 11, 2017 / 6:42 pm

    Planning budget and presents in advance is such a great way of avoiding stress. Its something that I definitely do!

  10. November 12, 2017 / 6:02 pm

    What a great guide! There’s only myself, my partner and our cats in our home and Christmas is still super stressful, I can only imagine how it much be with kids in the mix!

    Hope you have a lovely, stress free Christmas.

    Katie xoxo

  11. November 12, 2017 / 6:26 pm

    Great tips! I find Christmas so stressful, as much as I love the build up to Christmas itself, the big day is always a little hectic and crazy!

  12. November 12, 2017 / 7:49 pm

    Your best tip is the first one….create a budget per family member and stay on point. This ensures you have a fun day and aren’t stressing over the money you spent.

  13. November 12, 2017 / 9:23 pm

    These are really great tips. I actually feel relatively calm & organised this year. Having saved throughout the year has definitely made a huge difference, and I’ve been gradually buying presents.

  14. November 12, 2017 / 9:49 pm

    Lists are my favourite things ever as I love to be super organised. We are having our first family Christmas this year at home as it’s my daughter first one! Although we are travelling down south Boxing Day to see our family. I think we’ll have a quiet day but it should be lovely x

  15. Fatima
    November 12, 2017 / 11:51 pm

    Great tips indeed! I think I should start wrapping presents and writing the Christmas cards for neighbours and colleagues now.

  16. November 13, 2017 / 10:51 am

    It’s all in the organising, isn’t it? I must sit down and write out some lists but I never seem to find the time!

  17. November 14, 2017 / 10:36 pm

    I love Christmas but do have to stick to a strict budget otherwise it would spiral out of contral

  18. November 16, 2017 / 2:42 pm

    Great post Christmas doesn’t have to be stressful if planned in advance. I’m lucky enough to say I’ve never dine Christmas on a credit card as i like to buy gifts etc little bad often and put money aside too.

  19. November 16, 2017 / 4:06 pm

    Great tips! We don’t do Christmas cards, I donate money to SANDS and not only does it give to an amazing cause but it saves me a lot of stress!

  20. November 16, 2017 / 7:57 pm

    Last year was really stressful because I had a huge assignment due in a few weeks before Christmas. This year I’ve got a lot of time to organise, so it should be much more relaxed this year.

  21. November 16, 2017 / 8:40 pm

    Great tips – we are limiting what we buy this year and it does limit stress

  22. November 17, 2017 / 9:04 am

    This is a great post – thankfully, I’ve been good with our christmas present budget this year (thanks to blogging, mainly!) but I always go overboard on the Christmas food shop. I might try and stock up on wine in the next few weeks so we have a good supply in stock… just have to try not to drink it all!

  23. November 18, 2017 / 5:31 pm

    We literally just buy presents for the kids these days as it was getting too expensive

  24. November 18, 2017 / 9:05 pm

    I love Christmas but these are great tips to enjoy it even more x

  25. November 20, 2017 / 8:57 pm

    I save from January for christ!mas and it’s so nice to pay for things outright spin December

  26. November 20, 2017 / 9:35 pm

    It gets so expensive doesn’t it, and sometimes I think the true meaning of Christmas gets out in all of those presents! Some great ideas here xx

  27. November 23, 2017 / 7:22 am

    As much as I love Christmas the stress of it puts me off many things around the festive season. I am loving your tips

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