Most of us love this time of year and have happy memories of Christmas's gone by....As children!
How we made paper chains and snowflake decorations. The excitement of Santa coming down the chimney delivering our presents... but only if we went to sleep before midnight or he wouldn't come! (Or so our parents said). The joy of family coming for Christmas dinner which somehow tasted different to the usual Sunday dinner for some reason! The whole house enveloped in love, warmth and...Chaos!
But fast forward to adulthood and although most of us still enjoy the festive period, our memories are somewhat different. All what we remember as children are all what we as adults have to organise and with that (for most of us anyway) brings stress, panic and the worry of it not going to plan, especially the traditional Christmas dinner.
It got us thinking of how we can somehow help and take away some of the stress. It will probably still be chaos but maybe an 'organised' chaos. So her goes...
Stress free Christmas top tips
1. Make a Christmas list of who you want to buy for and start buying gifts throughout the year, especially when sales are on where you can make a saving. It’s a great feeling when you get to December and your present shopping is finished.
2. Buy non-perishable foods and treats as you go along and store in your ‘Christmas cupboard’. Picking things up with your weekly shop will take the strain off your budget than if you had to buy them all at once.
3. Writing Christmas cards takes time so do these in November then it’s just a case of posting them in December. If you have visitors beforehand you can give them out and save on postage.
4. If you want to invite your large family to dinner but feel you can’t because you don’t have enough seating, then plan a buffet. There’s nothing in the rule book that says you have to have a ‘sit-down’ meal on Christmas day.
5. Update your calendar for December with any school activities, nights out or visits. You will know exactly what’s happening and have no surprises that you haven’t planned for.
6. If you are buying toys or something that needs to be assembled, consider putting it together before Christmas day. That way you won’t waste precious time trying to fathom out how to put something together. Also don’t forget batteries if they are needed…. or maybe DO forget if it’s for a noisy toy!
7. Plan your meals beforehand and make a list of everything you need to make them. You will feel more in control just seeing it written down and being able to tick off anything that you buy. You could even make a couple of dishes like lasagne or shepherd’s pie to put in the freezer. Find these recipes and more at http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/
8. Prepare as much as you can on Christmas Eve, so any time consuming jobs like chopping the vegetables and storing in cold water. Not the sprouts as they will lose their flavour, store those in a chill bag in the fridge. Even setting the table can be done and one less thing to be done on the big day.
9. Don’t put too much emphasis on having the house clean and tidy. By all means clean what you have to but this is one time of the year that nobody notices if you’re tidy or not!
10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and delegate! The kids will love to be in charge of something!
11. Accept that you can’t please everyone so the best you can do is please yourself!
Just remember that this is YOUR time too! So... enjoy your Christmas.