Christmas is pretty stressful in our house but I love it. Being a mum to a teenager & a toddler means you don’t often do things together as whole family but Christmas is different. Christmas is when we make sure we are all together.
The hubby works long hours six days a week and as he works for ParcelForce these hours get longer & longer the nearer to Christmas we get. Some years he’s even worked Sundays too if it has been super busy. So most of the Christmas preparation is down to me.
As I’m self employed and a work from home mum, I’m the one who does the Christmas shopping for both sides of the family, not just our boys. I do the cards and present wrapping, the food shopping and getting the house organised. He does help out over the Christmas period when he’s off but due to his job he’s not able to book any time off in November & December so only has the statutory days off with us. So this means I need to be super organised otherwise I’d be super stressed. Well to be fair I’m normally pretty stressed anyway but here’s my top tips to have a stress free Christmas.
START SHOPPING EARLY
I start my Christmas shopping pretty early in the year, we’re in November now and I’m pretty much done. I do this both to spread the cost of Christmas throughout the year but also because you can pick up some bargains in the different sales throughout the year too.
I have big storage boxes on top of our wardrobes from IKEA which I continually add to but make sure you keep track of who you’ve bought for otherwise you could end up with duplicate presents for people.
Not only does it save money but it saves time too. I HATE long queues and too many people around me. It’s my worst nightmare trying to get around the shops when everyone’s fighting for their position. Shop early then order the last few bits online and avoid the chaos of Christmas shopping.
START SAVING EARLY
Along with buying presents throughout the year I like to save money throughout the year too. I normally use a savings card from one of the big supermarkets and add a little to the card each time I go shopping. It’s generally on a few pounds at a time, such as if my food shopping comes up to £56, I’ll add the extra £4 onto the savings card. It really adds up throughout the year so you’re not spending a fortune on one food (and booze) shop in one go.
HAVE A CLEAR OUT
I do this every year without fail and start around early November. I’ll go through the kids toy boxes and find all the bits of broken toys and toys they don’t play with anymore. I then sort out the ones that need to be thrown away, the ones that can go to the charity shop and the ones that are worth putting on eBay. I also do this with their clothes too.
November is the time people will start looking for presents online so it’s a good time to list unwanted items on eBay especially if they are in great condition. I’ve recently sold Archie’s old Toot Toot garage playset which he hasn’t touched in months and can put the money towards something new.
It clears space for the presents they’ll be getting and also adds to the Christmas fund to treat them to something new.
I also have a clear out of the kitchen too, there’s nothing worse than buying all your Christmas food shopping then it doesn’t all fit in the fridge!
I like to be organised and meal plan anyway but leading up to Christmas I’ll try and use as much from the freezer as possible in order to defrost and clean out the fridge freezer ready for the big food shop.
PREP YOUR CHRISTMAS DINNER THE DAY BEFORE
I hate being stuck in the kitchen on Christmas Day, I’d much rather be spending the time with my boys so instead I do most of the prep work the day or night before. We’ve got a bit of a tradition on Christmas Eve that when the hubby gets home from work we’ll have Jamie’s Epic Hot Chocolate and homemade waffles, it really is epic, and watch a film before the little man goes to bed and the bigger one slopes off on his XBox.
Once the boys are settled then we’ll sit in front of the TV with a beer or glass of wine and start peeling the veg. If we’re having a joint of meat along with the turkey then the meat will go in the slow cooker for a few hours as the turkey will be overtaking the oven on Christmas Day!
On Christmas morning we can wake up and slob about in our new PJ’s for a few hours knowing that we are well & truly organised for the Big Day.
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