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December rolls around so quickly each year! One moment you are getting the kids ready to start the new school year, the next… up goes the Christmas tree and all the chaos begins for another year!
Thankfully 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.
HOW TO HAVE A SIMPLIFIED CHRISTMAS
Christmas is often the one day of the year that takes the most planning, no matter how simple we want it. Unless we are talking about weddings… but that’s a whole other story!
For some of us, Christmas planning 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!
And it seems to happen earlier each year. The second those Halloween decorations go on sale on 1 November, it is suddenly Christmas decorations galore, festive music playing and almost like November is some strange limbo between Halloween and the feast of the year! Oh boy! And if you haven’t gotten a start on your preparations in November, December can feel like a full-blown panic episode just waiting to happen!
Traditions are great and can help you stay on track, but sometimes they can over-complicate things more when you feel you have to do all the same things, in the same way, year in and year out.
It can help to simplify Christmas if you focus more on your plans for that year, and less on what you’ve always done. Let’s face it, that isn’t always the easiest way!
Here are some steps to get you well on your way to the most chilled Christmas celebrations ever!
Start Before December
There’s no denying that if you start anything early, you are going to feel a lot less overwhelmed when it nears. Christmas is a perfect example and you can definitely simplify your Christmas by starting early.
Keep an eye out all year for potential gifts that you see on sale. Get decorations in the after Christmas sales the previous year. These things will help you get organised easily when December arrives.
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.
The later you leave your shopping, the longer it will take because the shops are busier or the postal services are loaded.
Online shopping can be a great option, so long as you do it early enough to account for the potential holiday shipping delays and cut-offs. You don’t want to rush around on Christmas Eve trying to find a replacement gift for the one that never arrived.
Tip: You can reduce your load by suggesting Secret Santa with family members, which means less to buy and less to spend.
You may also like: Easy Christmas Gifts Kids Can Make
All Wrapped Up
Have a bulk gift wrapping session early 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 on the night before they are due to open them.
You need your sleep on Christmas Eve too!
Wrapping gifts can take forever. If you are wrapping for other family members and your kids are good at keeping secrets, get them to help out!
Starting purchasing the non-perishable or long-dated food and speciality items you need for any Christmas events you are hosting or attending. Keep an eye on the specials that pop up before Christmas and you will hopefully cut your costs too.
I always check out the grocery catalogues leading up to Christmas from November, as the more expensive items almost always go on sale once or twice beforehand. A thrifty Christmas is still a great Christmas!
Make sure you have adequate fridge and freezer space for your chilled groceries.
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 is one Christmas disaster you don’t want!
Creating a Christmas baking list will help you keep track of all the different items you need to make too.
You can also make many meals ahead such as pre-prepared breakfasts to serve on Christmas morning.
Decorating Your House
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. On the first day, put up the tree and decorate it. The next day may be hanging lights. And so forth.
There is no reason for you to go all out. A few simple decorations and a minimalist style tree can look stunning. Do what suits the time you have available.
Pack Early If Travelling
If you are travelling over the Christmas period, start packing early so you don’t have to stress on the day while trying to get ready to go. This reduces your chances of forgetting something important… like your travel documents!
Also, consider filling up the car with petrol and checking the tyre pressure a day before you leave to avoid any last-minute extra stops.
Most of all, the best way to have a simple 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.
These are such minor details and won’t even be remembered once the day is over. Instead, it will be memories made with each other than linger.
Wishing you a safe and festive Christmas!
Do you have any Christmas tasks you always complete early in December?