Christmas should be a time for relaxing, laughing, and having fun with friends and family – not weeping over a burnt turkey and panic buying Christmas presents.
So how can you make sure that Christmas day, and in fact the entire run up to Christmas remains stress free? Half-Pint Chic has some handy advice that will ensure you can enjoy the holiday season without any of the Christmas stress.
The dreaded present buying!
Normally most women love to shop but around Christmas it can feel like more of a chore. If you are a natural born planner, then the idea of getting super organized with lists and budgets will be right up your street. Undeniably it’s the most efficient way of present buying. Furthermore, armed with a list it’s pretty easy to do everything online and make sure you get the best prices possible. The only watch out, is to start early, there is nothing worse than panicking about deliveries and you also need to give yourself time to send it back if you change your mind. However, if the idea of writing a list means you invariably end up just staring at a blank piece of paper, then don’t resign yourself to endlessly wandering around the shops. Remember shopping can be fun, plan a girlie shopping trip or visit some of the Christmas markets and actually have fun with it. There are some great ones across the country in the run up to Christmas. They make a fun day out and you can often find some more inspiring gifts.
Be organised with your food shop
Unfortunately even if you hate lists, this is one area where you really need to get organized. It is too easy to panic buy and end up with so much stuff, getting anything out of the fridge becomes like a hazardous game of jenga. Or leaving everything to arrive with your online delivery on the 24th, only to find that there are more substitutions than anything else. If you make a list you can work out what you can buy now and what can wait and where are the critical – can’t do Christmas without elements. You can then do your Christmas food shop in a more controlled way, putting some stuff away early and making sure you don’t end up visiting 3 supermarkets because everyone is out of brandy butter. A list also helps you steer clear of all those tempting supermarket promotions that seem like a good idea at the time. Our other top tip – Christmas chocolates, always on promotion early so why wait? – how many of them have actually lasted until Christmas (be honest!)
When it comes to the meal itself, unless you really are a great chef, now is not the time to experiment. The pressure is always on with the Christmas dinner so there really is no need to add to it – creative flourishes might be better saved for other occasions. The other challenge is how to make sure you don’t spend most of Christmas day in the kitchen. Do what you can the night before, also get everyone involved – laying the table, cleaning the sprouts – there is no need to make a martyr of yourself in the kitchen. In the event that you have some less than willing volunteers, there are also some great cheats available, not everything has to be 100% made from scratch.
Have a plan for Christmas Eve
Christmas eve can be a tricky day, the house is usually packed, the kids are getting over excited about the imminent arrival of Santa Claus and you are trying to do a million things at once. To avoid any major meltdowns from the kids, where possible, try and stick to a routine they are familiar with. Most children are also not very good with chaos (unless it is of their own making) so if you have lots of people dropping in, talk to them in advance about what to expect, otherwise they may end up feeling completely overwhelmed by the occasion. For little ones, it might also be worth role-playing what to do when they are in receipt of an unwanted gift. An important Christmas skill that they need to master early.
If you can get organized, Christmas Eve is also a great day for theatre trips, carol concerts or even the ballet. Book early and you can make a real day of it. This also means that the kids aren’t stuck in the house getting more and more over excited. At the other end of the spectrum if you still have presents to wrap and a chore list the length of your arm, then just getting everyone out of the house for a couple of hours is essential. Take advantage if you have relatives staying, get them to take the kids to park for a few hours. Where possible avoid just sticking the TV on as you’ll just end up with hyped up kids who are too excited for bed – they need to be tired or they will never sleep.
Christmas Eve is also the final chance to disaster –proof your Christmas (as much as possible). Make sure you have all the correct batteries for new toys, a few spare gifts in case of unexpected visitors, plenty of washing up liquid and most importantly have worked out exactly how long the bird needs to be in the oven.
Also remember it is meant to be fun, not everything has to be perfect and nor are you solely responsible. If things go wrong try and avoid getting stressed, just tell yourself those will inevitably be the moments that are fondly remembered in years to come.