As we hurtle further and further towards the end of 2015, the thinking about Christmas becomes a truly paramount thing in our minds. With that in mind, preparation is key to having a truly great Christmas [well it is in my eyes anyway] so I’ve put together a list of things you can do now to prepare for a Christmas that will be truly great. These are things that I do every year and have become failsafe actions for me to have a stress-free Christmas every single year and I hope they can or will help you too.
1. Think about great presents early
My number one Christmas tip is to plan present buying as early as possible, last minute panic buying is not an option for me and hopefully it never will be. Every year, I ask my mum for a list of the books and presents she’d like the most and much like child’s Christmas list it is a huge help at times when you just reach a brickwall of present buying. When it comes to my mum, my boyfriend and my closest friends, I usually have a very good idea of what I’m going to buy them so I’ll write lists, check websites for other ideas, price match for the best prices and then make a final list of what I can buy them that will stay within any budgets. It’s always worked for me and as a huge believer in lists I really don’t think I could face the stress and enormity of Christmas without some sort of list to follow.
2. Plan meals, outfits and events in advance
AS I’ve said before planning is extremely important when it comes to Christmas especially if you are the one hosting the family dinner. Regardless, planning events, the outfits you will be wearing and time spent with friends and family is a necessity. Everyone is busy around this time of year so making sure you manage to see them before the big day itself is important. You’d always plan a work’s Christmas party or your family Christmas dinner well in advance so plan that night out with friends, plan any other events you will be attending and plan what you will be wearing for all the events you have planned early. That way you can get any shopping out of the way and just relax for what is the most enjoyable part of the season, seeing loved ones and having lots of fun.
3. Set a present and events budget
Christmas is an expensive time of year, all that present buying, eating out, buying gift wrap, extra food and new clothes all adds up. The best way to face the New Year able to look at your bank account is to set a budget of exactly what you can afford. Set aside money for events where you can like foregoing your morning Starbucks habit so you can afford a great night out with the girls. Also, set budgets for presents, for all the people you need to buy for. In a way I am lucky that I have a small family as it means less presents to buy but because I have less people to buy for I probably spend more money on them than I would otherwise. For this year, me and my boyfriend have set a budget on our presents for each other and I have a budget for my mum’s presents, plus things like Secret Santa with friends is a great idea for saving a few pennies and sticking to an affordable budget for one person instead of spiralling costs for the whole group. It sounds like the exact opposite of what Christmas is about but when you have limited funds to start with, Christmas can be an expense too far and budgetting appropriately is a good way to combat that.
4. Beat the mad shopping rushes
Following on from creating a list of what you plan on buying people early, starting to buy your presents as early as possible is always a good idea. Everyone always wants to get the people they care about most in their life an amazing present, one that really means something and I am exactly the same. With that in mind picking out the most expensive or time consuming things to buy first is the best plan of action. Also, if there is anything you want custom made then it really is a good idea to buy that early before shops and artists get too busy because not being able to get the lovely present you had planned is not only a shame but makes for a panic buying nuisance later on.
5. Work hard in the week’s before Christmas
This sounds initially really boring but working hard in the weeks before Christmas always makes for a super easy transition into the New Year and a more relaxing holiday I’ve found. I’ve found when it comes to this blog that getting posts done in advance, planning ideas and setting a schedule for the week before Christmas through to the first week of January is a great help. Shutting down my email and closing any conversations that need answering, finishing all outstanding work, making plans for content in the New Year and any changes I want to make plus writing the content that will be going up at Christmas and the surrounding days has always helped me to have a good couple of weeks away from the blog if I want to take that long off. Obviously, when you work freelance you can dip into your work over that period if you want to and feel particularly creative one day but having everything done, prepared and completed before Christmas is always a good motivator and takes away the stress and worry of having a pile of work to come back to come January.
I know this may all sound daunting but to me being super organised in all areas from present buying to my workload makes for a less stressful pre-Christmas, Christmas holiday and New Year. This may not work for everyone but for anyone looking for any organisational help over the next month or so then maybe all the above will help you out a bit or a lot to have a fun and relaxing Christmas.