December is literally just around the corner and marks the beginning of a manic countdown to Christmas.
To try and help you get through this mad but exciting time, I have compiled a list of 12 things which I try to complete at least a week before Christmas, so that you can feel organised and relaxed when Santa comes to town…
1. Get that Tree!
Start with something everyone can enjoy! Buying a Christmas tree will forever be one of the top things on my to-do list and one of the best jobs in the world – albeit sometimes very stressful. Whether you spend 10 hours selecting the perfect tree with the whole family, or just quickly pop to Aldi to get one (as we’ve done this year) it will make you feel like you have taken a step in the right direction.
Make an evening of it. Decorate it all together whilst listening to Christmas songs, drinking mulled wine and eating a mince pie. It is a task which is so satisfying to complete and acts as a little beacon of joy and festivity in the midst of all the chaos throughout the Christmas countdown.
Plus by setting it up nice and early, you get to enjoy it for nearly all the month of December…
2. Christmas Cards
One of the most dreaded and boring of tasks to complete but also incredibly worthwhile. Writing Christmas cards is one of those tasks which everyone puts off and puts off. YET, the brownie points you can earn with relatives and friends by taking the time to send a tacky Christmas card to them filled with season’s greetings is worth it. You don’t have to send them to every single person in your address book but sit down with a nice cup of tea or glass of wine one evening after work and write to your relatives and your closest friends – they will truly appreciate it, trust me.
Plus it makes you feel good about yourself as well, which is always an added bonus.
Get it done early as then you know people will receive them at the beginning of the month and you wont suddenly find you have 2 days till Christmas when the postal system is working overtime.
Sit down, take out a pen (or computer) and write a list of people who you want to buy presents for and then fill in possible ideas for each.
This is my favourite past time and really helps me organise my thoughts and makes me feel far less panicked. When you have a clear plan, it is much easier to crack on and buy things. Plus, there is less risk of missing somebody.
Once you have written your present list, you can work out a budget for your Christmas buying. Present shopping is not one of the most enjoyable experiences. Shops become insanely busy and prices seem to take you by surprise. If you know what you are looking for early on, it gives you time to search online and in shops to find reasonably priced items, rather than panic buying the most expensive at the last minute.
Work out a budget that suits YOU. You don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds. Well thought out and heart felt gifts can still cause the same effect as a random item costing treble the amount.
Don’t stress yourself out any more than necessary in this costly period.
You are now ready to buy those presents!! Buy them online, in shops – wherever!
Just. Get. It. Done.
Once this job is out the way you will feel like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders. No disappointed children, no grumpy Grandparents. You are in the clear.
Also, whilst you buy all the presents, make sure you also purchase all the wrapping paper, sellotape, ribbons and labels you may need, to ensure there is no frantic last minute wrapping on Christmas Eve.
Keep that momento going!
Get those presents wrapped and placed under the tree. Or hidden. Or sent to their desired recipients. Then a huge collective sigh of relief can be released.
Christmas is a time for family and due to this, we often find ourself running ourselves ragged trying to get in to see everyone at Christmas time. To avoid falling into complete exhaustion, take the time to organise a reasonable schedule to suit everyone.
My partner and I are guilty of trying to please everyone and so often find ourselves flying between houses and events in the hope that we won’t upset anyone. However, you do also need to think of your own sanity. So, this year, we have planned one visit for each of our parents, all nicely spread out (I’m not seeing my Dad until January!) and making time for ourselves and our friends as well.
Which leads me onto…
Friends are just as important as family and therefore it is imperative that you make time to see them! You can drink too much mulled wine, let your hair down, wear Christmas jumpers and act like complete idiots.
So find some dates to catch up and have a drink. Christmas should be fun! IT’S IMPORTANT.
9. Christmas Movies
When there are so many jobs to do it is easy to forget that we should be making the most of all the Christmas treats that come along at this time of year. Now that you have all the main jobs out the way, make time to watch those cheesy Christmas movies you love.
10. Go Carolling!
Not all of us are fans of some carolling. Yet I have to say there is little else that really gets you in the mood for Christmas. Freezing your toes off in a church whilst singing till your hearts content, (completely out of key) instantly floods you with nostalgia.
Just make sure you wrap up nice and warm…
11. Christmas Food!
If you are lucky enough to not be cooking that all important Christmas meal this year, then try not to gloat too much. For those who are, try and get that shopping done all in good time. The pressure will diminish slightly if you know you at least have all the ingredients.
Prep anything you can before the big day, shove things in the freezer if you can. Just try to get as much done as humanly possible so you don’t spend all of the big day in the kitchen!
Also, for those of you who aren’t cooking, try and help out. Offer to bring the mince pies, the wine, the christmas pudding, anything! You know how stressful it is when you do it, so make it less stressful for those you love!
12. Have some ME time!
Last but not least, make some time for YOU. Christmas is a hugely busy time. It dips in and out of being exciting and wild to deeply stressful in a minute.
Take yourself off for a walk, a massage, a yoga class; sit and read a book. Make sure you have taken enough time for yourself, so that you can then give (without resentment) to those around you and bask in the wondrous time which is Christmas.