Today I am excited to have a guest post for you. Nicola from For the Love of Jars has shared some of her top tips for a wonderful Christmas! Don’t forget to head over and check out her lovely family blog for more advice about enjoying the good things in life!
I have these books…
I love reading through them, it’s a sure fire way to give that Christmas tingle and feel that first buzz of excitement as we approach the festive season. However, they do create a considerable amount of pressure with their 8 week countdown and lists of things we should have done weeks ago!
It seems to me that in this digital age of super technology that managing Christmas should be getting easier. I regularly hear about people getting ‘so stressed’ about their Christmas planning, staying up until the small hours wrapping, shopping at 2am to avoid the crowds or queueing for hours in shops to get the best bargains, booking last minute hair appointments, outfits for that ‘Christmas do’, Christmas cards with that dreaded Christmas letter, organising Christmas get-togethers, planning New Years Eve Parties…the list goes on! I am sure there are people that can totally do all these things and begin their Christmas planning in July, I know of people that do all their Christmas shopping in the January sales, but for me I start panicking about it around mid-November and actually start doing something about it in early December.
So what is the solution, surely there is more to Christmas than stress and panic? I decided to think about the things that were really important about Christmas and put together my 10 ways to have a perfect Christmas – without the stress!
- Don’t spend more than you can afford – we all know it’s about giving and not receiving but that doesn’t mean Christmas has to bankrupt us. There’s nothing worse than spending a fortune at this time of year and then paying for it for the whole of next year. The amount of gifts some people buy is ridiculous and most of the time the presents aren’t really things we want or need. A few years ago we made the decision to just buy presents for the children in our family. It was a huge relief, I love giving presents, but would much rather just spend quality time with my family. If money isn’t an issue for you then go mad and buy presents for everyone but remember, times are tough for a lot of people and Christmas is just one day and not worth getting yourself into debt for.
- Watch a Christmas movie – I love a Christmas film…and I don’t think there are many I haven’t seen! Christmas 24 started back in October so you’re never short of choice! Grab yourself a hot chocolate and some popcorn, smoosh under a blanket with family, friends or loved ones and enjoy!
- Have family time – There are so many activities that you can do over Christmas so pick a few and make time to do them. Go ice skating, visit Santa, go to a carol concert, attend your local Christmas lights switch on. It’s all about having fun together and making the most of the time of year. Don’t exhaust yourself by trying to do it all and whenever you can, stay local. No sense in travelling half way across the country to see a Santa that is supposed to be ‘amazing’. There will always be a brilliant one local to you somewhere so check out the reviews and stay close to home.
- Prepare meals in advance – if you’ve got family coming for several days then think about getting some easy meals prepared in advance and put them in the freezer. As with point number 4, you really don’t want to spend the whole time cooking and miss out on the fun.
- Christmas cards – If you’re going to write Christmas cards then you might as well start them now. Write 5 or 10 cards a night and before you know it they will be done. However, if you don’t have time to send cards then don’t sweat it…just don’t send any! Send an email, send a text, send your wishes on social media. Ok it may not be as personal as a card, but it’s one less thing to do and more time to spend with your family, which is what it should be about after all!
- Get help! – If you are hosting Christmas, Boxing day or a Christmas party then you don’t have to do all the work yourself. Get your guests to bring a contribution and ask friends or family members to come early to help you prepare. Preparing things together can be half the fun – I’ve spent many a Christmas morning peeling sprouts and parsnips with my siblings and it’s now become part of the tradition. Always ask for help…there’s no sense in leaving all the work for yourself and then missing out on the fun.
- Decorate! – Decorating your home for Christmas is something we can all enjoy and something that definitely helps to make a perfect Christmas. Let your kids join in and don’t get stressed about it! I put a separate tree in my kitchen for the children to decorate and do my best not to adjust the trimmings once they’ve finished!
- Shop online – It may seem obvious but it still astounds me how many people actually go to the shops to get their gifts and food! Get online – you often get better deals and delivery is regularly free at this time of year. If you want to get your food shop delivered then get online and book your slot! It certainly saves you time and often saves money as you won’t be tempted by things in the shop that you don’t need.
- Turn off the TV – This might be alien to some, I know that many people spend Christmas afternoon and evening sat in front of the TV falling asleep. Since I was a child the television has always been banned on Christmas day (apart from The Queen of course!). We use the time to play games and be sociable – it does everyone good to have at least one day a year tech free.
- ENJOY IT! – Just don’t get stressed about Christmas! If you are struggling for time to do something then either don’t do it, cheat or ask for help. There is so much pressure on us to make the perfect Christmas and really the things that really make it perfect are the people we spend it with.
I hope some of these suggestions make this year your most perfect Christmas ever!