Over the next week or so, you’ll see some Christmas posts on here amongst my normal posts. I’m joining in with a 12 days of parenting series in the run up to Christmas Eve. This first day is about preparing to survive Christmas.
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I have to admit that while I love Christmas and the holiday season, I work full time so I tend to be working right up til Christmas – or at least until school has broken up. It does mean I get to enjoy the build up at work as well as preparing at home. More Christmas lunches to go to. And plenty of dancing Christmas parties as well.
Some people get really stressed out in the run up. Not everyone is confident they’ll survive Christmas. A lot of that is to do with money so I’m thankful I generally don’t need to worry too much about that. We don’t go overboard, plus I do work and can cover our Christmas without worrying about credit cards. Christmas season, especially if you’ve a family, is all about planning.
Plan Christmas early
I always think about Christmas from about September. At home the OH won’t discuss Christmas until at least after my brother in law’s birthday in November so deciding where we’re going for Christmas is always last minute. But it is made easier in that even if we’re not at home, it’s never more than 1.5 miles away, and we can see both sides of the family on one day.
Key to planning is to decide what areas you need to work out – location, people, presents, food, decorations, events etc.
Lists, lists, lists
I can’t work without a list – my baby brain continues nearly 7 years after having N. If I don’t write things down I won’t remember them. So I have various lists and spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are great because you can colour code them, change things, link to other sheets, refer to them year on year. And if you have them web-based like Google Docs, you can share them with other family members.
Audit what you have
Don’t just buy and then end up having duplicates of food or presents. And don’t forget if you’ve bought gifts through the year. Work out what you have (non-perishable food, leftover crackers, cards and wrapping paper from last year, presents in a present box), then just buy what you need.
Book events early
I love going to see Christmas lights and there’s a couple we now regularly go to. The first is Waddesdon Manor which is beautiful to see the house done up to a beautiful theme, and we’ve also started going to Blenheim Palace’s light displays. The panto is also popular and I’ll be hopefully taking N to the local theatre to see their production again.
But these events book up quickly. So even if you’re a National Trust member, get on mailing lists early to find out about events, and think about booking in September if you have a limited choice of dates to choose from.
I love shopping on the high street at Christmas. It makes me feel happy. But the crowds don’t, and in our town there’s not many shops left that I actually want to buy from. So shop online if needs be. The last few years I’ve also shopped online for my food shop. But this year I don’t have the ongoing delivery package, so won’t get priority booking.
So either, buy into an ongoing online food shopping subscription in order to get the priority slots, or work out when is going to be best to shop. Don’t forget, buy non-perishables early, then the rest can be bought as near as possible to Christmas.
Check the calendar
If you have school children or work, coordinate your family calendars. Christmas means a lot of school performances, church services, open days, discos. Add to that work or other parties, and it needs serious logistical planning. Add a to do list for each day of the calendar and allocate jobs to family members.
I always think, if you’ve got everything on a list and work through the list, then you don’t really need to panic.
- Get help from others
- Set a budget and work within it (no-one really needs hundreds of pounds spent on them)
- Spend Christmas with people you want to spend time with
Take time out for yourself
Focus on the good things about Christmas
Listen to Christmas music*, dance around the house with your kids, and watch Christmas movies in the run up (yes, even the bad ones on Channel 5).
How do you survive Christmas preparations?