November is here and the weeks until Christmas has hit single digits.
Immediate thought is panic stations, am I right?!
Now take a deep breath as there’s still plenty of time to get organised for the holidays without your stress levels rising, because in today’s already frantic world who seriously needs to feel like that?
I’ve pulled together a few tips to help you prepare and get through the festive season – these are what I call my five Ps to a stress free Christmas.
PLAN early and budget
When you have children it’s often easy to start thinking about Christmas quite early. My girls are super excited for Christmas this year. They have already watched their first Christmas movie (quite frankly, I’m surprised they haven’t watched more), their letters to Santa have been written, and gifts for classmates and teachers have already been planned.
But even if you don’t have kids, it’s really never too early to start preparing for Christmas and I know many people who collect presents throughout the year to help them get on top of their Christmas shopping.
While that’s not for me, I did start my Christmas shopping in October this year, which is the earliest I have ever started. This is partly to stretch my family’s Christmas spending out over several months instead of leaving it all until the month of December, and partly to avoid the craziness of Christmas trading hours at the shopping centres, especially the car parks! Online shopping is also a good idea to avoid the shops altogether and even better if you can take advantage of any pre-Christmas free shipping specials so you can get your parcels delivered without any worry of being caught up in the postage rush.
Take the PRESSURE off
Remember, Christmas doesn’t need to be perfect and it’s certainly not all about presents. It’s about spending time with family, friends and loved ones that mean the most to you.
If you’re on a tight budget, consider speaking with members of your family about a Kris Kringle gift exchange to reduce the number of presents you need to buy.
Also, if you’re hosting Christmas this year for family and friends, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it and get others to contribute something to the meal if you feel like you need a hand.
PRIORITISE the most important things
While I absolutely love keeping up Christmas traditions with my family, if you feel the festive season is getting a bit too hectic try to be a bit more flexible. Perhaps pick a few of the traditions you cherish the most and take the time to truly enjoy these, rather than rushing to get through everything just because it’s what you have always done in the past.
PUT yourself first
Every year, I find the last few months of my family’s calendar starts to fill up earlier and earlier. We still have several birthdays to celebrate in November plus dance concerts and rehearsals to get through. Add in work, school and social Christmas functions and most of our weekends are already starting to look pretty full.
It’s important to remember that it’s OK to say no every now and then to someone’s request to catch up before Christmas, particularly if it’s something that can easily be arranged for after Christmas or in the new year.
In the lead up to Christmas, I try my best to stick to my intention of only committing my family to one social event per weekend in order to give us a bit of downtime or allow us to be a little more spontaneous with our plans. It’s not always an easy thing to do at this time of year, but it’s still something I like to keep in mind where possible.
Find some PEACE
When it all does get a bit too much, make sure you take a few moments for yourself. Whether that be flicking through your favourite magazine over a coffee; going for a facial, pedicure or a massage; taking a walk in the sunshine or meeting up with a friend for a chat. It’s far too easy to get caught up into the craziness of Christmas as you try to make the festive season special for your family. It’s important to take some time to breathe and refresh yourself.
And finally… POP that champagne and enjoy the day
OK, I’ve added in an extra P for a bit of fun! Because why bother going to all that effort if you don’t take the time to truly enjoy it!
I hope these suggestions get you on the right track towards enjoying a stress-free Christmas with your loved one. Wishing you all the very best for a fabulous festive season ahead!