Christmas can be a really stressful time for many families, and whoever is doing the organising if you’re celebrating with family or other visitors. Getting those Christmas essentials ready.

There are ways you can reduce the stress:

Start thinking about Christmas it early.

Plan for every possibility (especially important when there’s a pandemic around).

Buy gradually for non perishables to avoid having to get everything at the last minute (but hide it from the family if they have a tendency to eat what they find).

Don’t go too mad, you don’t want to be left with food that won’t be eaten or an insane amount of unplayed with toys.

While we all think about Christmas lunch or dinner, who to invite or not, and the travel logistics, there are essentials that sometimes get forgotten. That’s when you’ll be trying to find the one garage that’s got a shop attached and is open on Christmas day. Or queuing outside the one convenience store opening for a couple of hours, along with everyone else who’s forgotten to get extra milk.

Essentials you need at home at Christmas

Of course nowadays, it matters less if you forget the essentials, because most supermarkets do open on Boxing Day, so you don’t have to stock up for 2 weeks. But it is nice to hunker down at home for at least a week and not worry about having to pick up batteries for all the electronic toys the children have been bought..

The Christmas essentials you need to be ready

Batteries. If you’ve got babies or toddlers, get in C6 or D batteries as larger children’s toys often have these. Otherwise stock up on AA and AAAs, because people rarely send batteries along with gifts that need them..

Extension cables for multiple plugs. Especially important if you want to keep gadget obsessed tweens or teens in the family room together while all their gadgets are charging. (You can never find your spare extension cable when you’re looking for them)

Torch. We have a few, but some don’t work, others are rubbish. The good ones seem to disappear (over to the farm I suspect in our case), never to be seen again. So a couple of good torches, and hide one so you can find it if the others go walkies. Helpful for any evening walks to see local lights or walking back from church after midnight mass if you live somewhere without street lighting.

Candles and matches. I rarely use candles, but at Christmas sometimes it’s nice to light one with a Christmassy smell. Plus if there are power cuts, you need some light.

Back up meal. You never know when a meal might go wrong, so don’t just rely on having only one meal in the house. Have something in the freezer as back up, or have something else fast and easy to whip up. If you’ve got a camping stove, make sure you’ve got gas for it if the gas or electricity goes off, to warm up a quick back up meal.

Freezer space. If you’ve got a chest freezer it’s easier (well, maybe not as you’re more likely to fill it up if you’re like me). Make sure in the month before Christmas you start working your way through what’s in the freezer to make space for what’s needed over the holiday period. You might want to make food in advance and freeze it for re-heating later. Plus freezers are invaluable for leftovers.

Spare wrapping paper or gift bags. Quite often you’ll run out of wrapping paper, and have last minute gifts that you dig out of the present box of spares. You don’t need specific wrapping paper, brown paper with some pretty twine and a gift tag will do fine. Or you could even make gift bags from card or even magazine pages. Alternatively try Japanese Furoshiki which is gift wrapping with fabric which can then be reused afterwards.

Stocked up medicine drawer. If you’ve got children, get in Calpol or Nurofen. For everyone else paracetamol, and maybe antacid, diarrhoea relief and antihistamine .

Board games. When we were children, my mum used to buy a board game for us as a family each year for Christmas. We go through phases playing games (the OH refused so we’re limited by games for 2 players unless we’ve got visitors), but there’s always new ones released ahead of Christmas, and they’re a great way to get over family arguments (and hopefully not start any). If you prefer quizzes, why not use Alexa for these and other activities.

What else would you add to the list?

This is part of my Blogmas series. Here’s the last 5 days’ posts.

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