I don’t know about you, but I can find Christmas a very overwhelming time. With just 8 days to go and 3 school days left, yesterday I sat down and wrote everything I needed to do before now and then and had a moment. I am a much happier person when I am organised and particularly hate chasing my tail. So I am going to use the next few days to get ahead as I possibly can and this is what I am going to do and my tips to help get sorted in the last week (or so) before Christmas.
1. Do as Much as You can in Advance
I am such a firm believer in this, I know there is a breed of people that do all of their wrapping on Christmas Eve, but this would stress me out so much it would make me unhappy. Write down a list of everything you need to do before now and Christmas and see how much you can get done in advance in order to make it is easy and more enjoyable for you.
2.Wrap Your Presents Before the Big Eve
As I mentioned above, I like to wrap in advance. I find I can’t relax until I know all of the wrapping is done. I buy most of the presents for family. At present, I don’t think my husband even knows what we have bought some of the family members for Christmas. Usually that means the wrapping falls to me too. My plan on these last few days before the children break up from school is to wrap through my youngest’s nap time and hopefully get it all done over these next few days. I will bag the gifts up for different events. For example a bag for each child’s stocking, a bag for my family’s gifts and a bag for my in-laws gifts. We don’t put any under the tree until the big day itself as I have a toddler who would just rip them all open.
3.Set up a Christmas Card List Spreadsheet
A few years ago I did this and honestly every year when it comes to writing Christmas cards, I am so glad that I did. I keep a spreadsheet of everyone we want to write cards to and while it does need a little tweaking each year. It’s all there and then we can sit down and write them. If it’s too late for this year, after the busyness of Christmas, do it in early January. You will thank yourself next year.
4.Plan in Activities for When the Children Break Up
It’s only a few days until the children break up for school and from there on in, things are going to get really busy. They are also going to be really excited, I remember the last couple of days before Christmas last year and the children were virtually jumping off the walls. So this year, I have put plans into the diary to try and do something with them everyday.
None of these are very expensive things and some of them are actually to help me with the Christmas prep. Here is an example of some of the activities I have planned:
- Go to the library
- Make mince pies
- Decorate the Christmas cake
- Go to a carol service at our local church
- Visit a National Trust site to see Christmas lights (we have a membership)
- Drive around and look at some of the local light displays
- Christmas craft activities – making decorations and paper chains
I find if I take time to do an activity with them, then they are ok to sit and watch a Christmas movie of play on their own while I get things that I need to do.
5.Do a Time Plan of Christmas Day
My husband is the chef of the family, so he will be making Christmas dinner. But one of the things I know that he always does is make a time plan for Christmas dinner and sticks it up in the kitchen. He works out what time he would like Christmas dinner on the table and works back from then. For example, turkey in a certain time, potatoes in at a certain, veg on at a certain time. If you can prep the veg and the lay the table the night before, even better.
You don’t have to do everything and you don’t have to kill or exhaust yourself in order for your family to have a great Christmas. Be realistic about what you can achieve between now and then.
It’s ok not to do something, to reduce the food you’re going to cook, so say no. Look at ways you can make life easier for ourself. Buy the mince pies instead of making them, no one is going to notice if you make the gravy from granules instead of making it from scratch, be kind to yourself too.
I have booked our cleaner to come in on the 23rd and do a clean before Christmas. But if you can’t afford this maybe do a deal with a friend you will have their children for a couple of hours while you clean and then swap? It’s ok to ask for help. Work out in your household who can help with different tasks. If you’re hosting this year, ask people who are visiting to bring different elements of the meal and share the workload. Remember, if a couple of things are missing, it’s not going to ruin Christmas, the most important thing is to enjoy the time with friends and family and be together.