Christmas can be stressful
I feel like that heading is a bit of an understatement, Christmas can be one of the most stressful times of the year and a nightmare to keep track of. It is supposed to be ‘the season of goodwill’, a time that we spend with the people we love, our family and friends; spending precious time together and showing our love. Instead, we spend the majority of Christmas queueing, getting annoyed with all the presents you have to get/wrap and running around like a headless chicken trying to make sure the house is well stocked with food because we need tons of food at Christmas.
Just like when you are moving house, if not properly planned, Christmas can feel like the ‘season of stress and anger’, I have been there many a time; up to my neck in last minute shopping, wrapping and food preparations all to make sure my Christmas is ‘perfect’. I have discovered, like everything in life, if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail and Christmas is no exception, I now plan, plan and double plan my Christmas and I thought I would share with you the reasons why I plan early to avoid stress.
The ‘Perfect’ Christmas
I have to put this out here before I begin; there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ Christmas, each Christmas will be different depending on circumstances and you have to accept that all you can hope to achieve is the best Christmas under the circumstances at the time; food will occasionally get burnt, presents will be out of stock and your toddler/child/cat/dog will destroy the Christmas decorations at one point. As myself and Mr T say to our son ‘things happen’ and the only thing you can do is your best, friends and family will still love you even if you run out of drinks or you have the gift wrapping skills of a five-year-old or you do not manage to get the ‘trending gift’ of the year.
Why I Plan Early
I start planning Christmas in September, yes you heard me right, I start in mid-September and usually am finished with presents by the end of November; this gives me plenty of time to do things like write cards, organise Christmas social events and stock the house with food over December. This also helps in terms of budgeting for the big day, I can spread my purchases over the few months and not run up any massive bills by buying everything all at once. I always start with the children first and then work through the rest of the family. I usually do most of my shopping online and have done for years but this year I have actually been out and done more actual Christmas shopping, partly as an excuse to have some time to myself and partly because I like picking up cheap stocking fillers for the kids from the pound stores.
Using my Bullet journal to help
I have learnt this year to write down all the presents I have got for my children in my Bullet Journal; this is because I have been guilty of going a little overboard in the past and not keeping track of what I have got and overspending. I have created a two-page spread where I can see what I have got them and make sure that they have roughly the same amount. I also have a list of people I need to buy for and I cross them off once they are done, this helps me and my ‘mum brain’ keep track of who I have sorted out, it also makes me feel productive seeing the progress I have made.
My bullet journal also helps me keep track of all the tasks I have to do in the run-up to Christmas, I will note tasks that I need to do in whatever month they need doing, like sorting the kid’s toys/bedroom and cleaning rooms/decluttering before I put the decorations up. I can also put important information that I need to remember, like the dates that the Christmas shopping delivery slots open and the dates and times I have ordered my Christmas shopping.
Reducing the urge to panic buy
Planning what I get and keeping track on what I have bought is a great way to ensure you do not overspend and end up paying for it in January. Due to the fact that I start early, I can spread things over a few months and then it does not interfere too much with our budget. I did consider putting money away each month so that I had a ‘pot’ to spend on all of Christmas but what I do works quite well for us so why go to the extra bother just so I can leave it to December to buy everything.
Making a list of what you want to buy as gifts, especially with the children, also reduces the risk of buying too much. I think every parent has been a victim of this at one stage in their life; getting so many presents that you feel a bit sad when your children do not have the time to play with them. I have learnt the hard way that my son and daughter do not need much to entertain them and so I try to limit the toys and focus on stuff they need like new clothes and books, that way they still get to open lots of presents but it minimises the number of toys that litter the house.
Early preparation means less chance of burnout/overwhelm
Have you ever got to Christmas and not enjoyed it because you are too exhausted and burnt-out, this can happen if you leave everything to the last minute. Being organised well in advance means that the event will run a lot more smoothly because you will be rested and able to deal with any minor ‘hiccups’ like burnt turkey. Imagine if you did everything in the week leading up to Christmas; buying, wrapping and preparing all in such a short space of time will mean you do not get to enjoy the day for what it is, a time for being with the family.
I plan early because I want to enjoy as much as Christmas as I can, sitting and chilling with a mulled wine, doing things with the children and spending valuable time with my family and friends because they are the most important thing at Christmas.
What do you think; do you plan ahead or are you a person who does it all last minute? I would love to know what you think in the comments
Ciao for now beauties xx