Plan now for a less stressed Christmas

Lots of us already consider our lifestyles hectic so add in Christmas shopping, wrapping gifts, writing and delivering cards, Christmas parties and everything else that goes with the festive season, there is no better time than right now to start preparing for the big day!

If you follow these steps now you won’t be frazzled by mid-December
1. Set your Christmas budget and make a list
Every year there is a percentage of the population that simply buys everything on credit and then spends the rest of the next year paying it back. Before you do any Christmas shopping, you need to determine how much you can afford. From there, decide who to include and exclude from your list. To make it easy, try setting a per-person budget. For example, you’ll buy £100 worth of gifts for each child and £25 for each niece or nephew. You’re much less likely to overspend if you’ve predetermined how much you’ll spend on each person on your list.
2. Start making homemade gifts
Homemade and personalised Christmas gifts are the most memorable gifts you can give. Why? Because the recipient knows that you’ve invested a significant amount of your time. People often think about doing homemade gifts, but realise they don’t have the time to complete a project. By brainstorming homemade ideas now, you’re more likely to have the time necessary to complete the project.
3. If you do Christmas lists, ask people to give you their lists
If you do ask people for Christmas lists, go ahead and contact them now. Inevitably, there is going to be one person who takes their time getting a list to you. That’s less likely to be frustrating if you have an early start.
4. Keep a look out for bargains and sales
Look out for great deals way before December is here. Make the most of Black Friday type events. If you find an item on your list, grab it while it’s on sale. Otherwise, what’s probably going to happen is that you’ll rush into town on the 24th and pay too much on a gift you don’t want to buy. A realistic goal is to have all Christmas shopping done by the last day of November. That way you won’t have to battle the crowds.
5. Get started on your Christmas cards
Go ahead and set a target goal of when you’d like to finish all your cards. Then create some type of plan to be done by that date. You could either mark off a morning on your calendar or do a little bit at a time.
6. Fill up the freezer
There are a lot of great meals that you can freeze ahead of time so you have food available when the festive season gets underway. One way to fill the freezer is to double or triple some of your recipes you’ll be preparing in the next month. Serve a single portion, and freeze the extra portion. Another option is to block out a full cooking day where you make as many meals as possible and freeze them.
7. Practice saying ‘no,’ and offer an alternative when necessary
Lots of people spend their Christmas busy doing things they didn’t want to do in the first place. Start today by saying no to commitments you know will cause you stress. If saying no is hard, then offer an alternative. I won’t be able to ____, but it would work if I could ____ instead.
With an early start, you can survive the hectic Christmas rush. That will ensure that in December you won’t regret any of the time you’ve spent while the pace of life is comparatively slower.

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