December is here and we are already practically a week in… is your Christmas tree up yet? We have a December 1st tradition in our house and have stuck to it almost every year, with the exception of the year our daughter Lily was born when we did it a little earlier.
Traditions are great and can help you stay on track, but sometimes they can over complicate things even more when you feel you have to do all the same things in the same way year in and year out. Sometimes it can simplify Christmas a little if you mix it up to suit you and your family as times change.
Plus there are plenty of things you can do early to ensure you have a stress free December and manage to get organised for all your pre-Christmas planning and preparation.
A SIMPLIFIED CHRISTMAS : DECEMBER EDITION
Christmas is often the one day of the year that takes the most planning, no matter how simple we want it. For some of us, that side of Christmas is fun, but for others, it’s a total nightmare. Regardless of which end of the scale you sit, aiming to simplify Christmas for yourself is always a good thing!
Finalise Gift Shopping
If you still have Christmas gifts to purchase or create for family and friends, do it as soon as you can in December. Avoid the last minute rush and the craziness that happens in the shops as the 25th of December gets closer.
Make sure you are referring back to that list you should have made following our Simplified Christmas November Edition. Work out who is left and what to get. If you are still relying on online shopping, play it safe with delivery times and make sure you order before the shipping cut offs. In some cases, it pays to be safer and finalise a few days before. You don’t want to rush around on Christmas Eve trying to find a replacement gift for the one that never arrived.
Have a bulk wrapping session early on in December once your shopping is complete. Get this out of the way so again there is no last minute late night wrapping session when the kids are in bed. Wrapping can take forever. Get it out of the way.
Starting purchasing the non-perishable or long use by date food and event items you need for any Christmas events you are hosting or attending. Keep an eye on those specials that pop up before Christmas and you will hopefully cut your costs too.
Make sure you have adequate fridge and freezer space for what you need to store too.
Many Christmas foods can be made ahead of time and frozen. Rum balls are a perfect example. I always make ours about 2 weeks before Christmas so they are ready to go. You may even be able to freeze cookie dough or other Christmas related foods. Make sure you defrost early enough though. Frozen food on the day is never a nice idea!
If spending a couple of hours decorating your tree and house seems like too much time, you can always break it up into smaller tasks. Today put up the tree, tomorrow decorate other parts of the house, the next day hang your lights. There’s no reason it all has to happen at once.
Also, there’s no reason you have to go all out with your decorations either. Do what you feel is the best option for you!
If you are travelling either for an actual holiday or Christmas away, start packing early. Or even if you are headed elsewhere for Christmas day or have a few functions to attend, consider packing your bags nice and early so you don’t have to stress on the day while trying to get ready and go.
Make lighter work by knowing what you will need and purchasing any non-perishable items now. Also keep an eye out for specials such as turkey or ham, so you can cut your costs.
Some Christmas cooking can also be done ahead of time. I like to make my rum balls a few weeks before Christmas, so this could be done in November, as I always freeze them so they keep. In fact, in Queensland it gets so hot, we keep them in the freezer all through the Christmas period, making them a very refreshing treat.
Most of all, the best way to have a simplified Christmas is to stop stressing about it, stop putting lots of pressure on yourself and just enjoy it for what it is – a great time to spend with loved ones, enjoying delicious food and each other’s company. No one cares if your serviettes aren’t folded in the shape of a Christmas tree, or if that one light out of 100 isn’t flashing on your Christmas tree.
Nope… minor details that no one remembers next year. Focus on making memories and enjoying the festive togetherness!