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When it comes to Christmas, I have always fully thrown myself into it. Since having children, things have gone into overdrive, and I admit to jumping on the bandwagon with the latest trends and traditions. Elf on the Shelf, Christmas Eve boxes, making decorations, home-made cards, visits to Santa, you name it, we have embraced it with gusto! I don’t think I’m alone here, and I’m sure most parents are already busy trying to create some unforgettable Christmas memories for their family.
While all this is all lovely, it is easy to run out of steam (and time) before the big man even drops down the chimney. We need a holiday to recover from the holiday season! Help is at hand with a few little handy hints and time-saving tips that can make this Christmas go by with a little less stress without compromising on the fun!
have a pre-Christmas clear out
Why not have a pre-Christmas clear out to make way for the new toys your children will receive? Take old toys to the charity shop or make up Christmas donation boxes with any unwanted toys, clothes or gifts.
keep a note of where you stashed the gifts
Every January without fail I find a few little gifts hidden away that I’d forgotten about. Avoid this happening by keeping a note of what presents you have bought and where you’ve hidden them. Make sure you don’t leave your list anywhere it might be discovered!
ditch the Christmas cards and donate instead!
This is something that I have done for the last few years. I used to sit for hours writing Christmas cards, spending fortunes on stamps and if I’m honest, putting very little thought into my generic message inside. I don’t mean to sound all bah humbug but is that really what Christmas is all about? I decided that I was going to donate to a charity instead. I chose one that was close to my heart and let people know. You can always write a holiday email and include some lovely family photos instead. It’s eco-friendly too!
keep a track of seasonal spending
Christmas can be an expensive time of year. Don’t let your spending get out of hand and keep a note of what you’ve spent on each person. Write a food shopping list, set a budget and try to stick to it. Leave a little of the budget aside for planning fun holiday activities such as visiting Santa.
Set up the important dates in your calendar ahead of time so nothing is missed. Dates such as your child’s nativity, last day for the post, ordering the turkey, etc. This will avoid any last-minute stress (hopefully)!
wrap each child’s gift in different paper
Avoid confusion on Christmas day (paper will be flying everywhere) and wrap each child’s gifts in different paper. You won’t need to waste time labelling gifts either!
stock up on crafty activities
When the kids break up from school or nursery, it can be tricky trying to keep them entertained as well as getting on with your Christmas to-do list. Keep a stock of craft activities to keep them entertained. Dig out the Play-Doh, have them make salt dough decorations or Christmas cards. This may keep them happy for a short while at least! If all else fails, have a festive film screening with popcorn and hot chocolate!
don’t continue with high-stress seasonal events just because of tradition!
If dragging your children to the pantomime or theatre ends up becoming stressful thanks to whining children or excessive expense, just stop doing it. Swap it for something simple but satisfying like making Christmas cookies together or decorating a gingerbread house. You will still create great family memories but with a lot less cost and stress!
save on wrapping and buy gifts that keep on giving
Instead of toys, buy a gift that will keep on giving like museum passes, annual memberships for the zoo, vouchers for fun activities or even a magazine subscription. Toys can be quickly forgotten, but fun activities are something that the whole family can enjoy and cherish.
remember to have fun
It can be easy to become so overwhelmed with what needs to be done that you forget to sit back and enjoy this wonderful time of year. Savour the memories with family and friends and remember some things like finding unique and creative ways to pose an Elf just aren’t that important!
join the conversation
Do you have any Christmas shortcuts that you couldn’t get by without? Let us know by joining our discussion below.