10 Tips to Plan for a Stress Free and Organised Christmas
Ah, Christmas… I just love the festive season. There’s a special kind of magic in the air that only comes around this time of year... But for some, the idea of Christmas can be far less magical and more like a festive nightmare.
Sometimes it’s easy to feel overwhelmed during the holidays, especially if you’re busy or have a big family to think about. Or both.
If you feel like Christmas is sneaking up on you like a Grinch in the night, fear not. We have some seriously helpful tips on how you can have a stress free, organised Christmas this year!
1. Christmas planning and list-making (taking things one step at a time)
The key to having an organised Christmas is to plan ahead. The whole reason Christmas can be so overwhelming is because preparing for it can be a massive task, but breaking down this one big job into smaller manageable chunks can save your life.
I recommend doing this by organising all of your big tasks into smaller to-do lists and then scheduling them into your planner or diary over the lead-up to Christmas day.
List-making is a fantastic way to get everything out of your head and onto paper, which can make you feel more prepared and ease anxiety. Even simple things like listing down what your ‘Elf on the Shelf’ will do ahead of time can end up saving you a ton of stress in the long run.
2. Set a manageable Christmas budget
Probably the second most stressful part about Christmas can be, you guessed it, money. One of the most important plans to set for yourself should be your holiday budget.
Once you’ve made your lists, it’s time to sit down and work out how much everything is going to cost, and how you can work these costs into your day-to-day budget.
Knowing what you’re in for financially and setting limits for your spending can be a huge stress reliever.
3. Start early (you’ll thank yourself later)
It may feel silly to start your Christmas shopping in October when all the Halloween decorations are still out, but it can really help in the long run. There’s nothing worse than realising it’s the week before Christmas and you haven’t bought a single gift for anyone and your house has no food.
Starting early means being able to set a pace for yourself and spread out the holiday shopping into more manageable chunks. Hopefully following tip number 1 will have already helped you achieve this by making plans in advance.
The same goes for every part of having an organised Christmas. Plan ahead and start ticking things off your to-do lists piece by piece over the lead up to Christmas day. This way nothing gets left to the last minute and you’re able to put your feet up on Christmas Eve with a hot mug of cocoa.
4. Menu planning
Following the previous tips should have helped you outline what you’re going to spend on food, but another important key to having an organised Christmas is to plan your menu.
How many people do you need to feed? How many meals do you need to plan for them? What, if anything, will others be bringing along with them?
Are you travelling to someone else’s house? What do you need to bring for them?
Try setting a specific menu plan for your family, and then stick to it! This way you know exactly what you need to buy, how much it will cost and how much time you’ll need to prepare it. Try delegating some of the snacks or side dishes to other guests to reduce your workload.
Being organised with food can also help to reduce a lot of unnecessary waste once the holidays are over, which is far better for the environment.
Short on time? A great tip for those who may not have a lot of time to shop for food is to buy a hamper. There are plenty of great Christmas hampers available online, which can be delivered right to your door.
The best option for convenience would have to be Chrisco, which will allow you to spread out the cost of food across a specific length of time. Are you Vegan? PS I’m Vegan might be a great alternative!
Decorating is my favourite thing to do around Christmas time, but it can also be a fair amount of work, especially if you have a lot of stuff you need to sort through.
I recommend choosing a theme early on and planning your decor around it. This way you know exactly what you need to pull out of storage and, if anything, what to buy to add to the theme. Doing so will also allow you to delegate specific tasks to each member of your family and budget time to get all the big jobs done, such as hanging lights.
Are you the only one living in your home, or are you going away for the holidays? Why not keep your decorations simple and minimal? Less decorating means less work!
Want to be more eco-conscious? Try to avoid buying anything new and stick to what you already have. You can create a different theme just by leaving a certain colour out of the combination.
When it comes time to pack everything away again, try storing specific types of decorations together and label your storage boxes clearly. This will make it easier for you to find things again next year!
6. Gifts and Christmas cards
Giving gifts to your loved ones should make you feel joyful and warm, not frazzled and stressed out. To enjoy an organised Christmas, avoid the panic of last-minute buying by planning out your gift ideas ahead of time.
Know who you’re buying for and how much you want to spend on each person, then settle on gift ideas before you ever set foot in the shops to avoid hours of walking around aimlessly in crowded malls.
Spread shopping for gifts out over a number of weeks to save yourself time and money up-front. If you’re buying online make sure to leave enough time for orders to arrive before Christmas. If you’re buying from overseas I would recommend purchasing at least a month in advance, just in case your items are lost or faulty. Give at least 2 weeks for domestic orders for the same reason.
Remember that shipping times are often extended during busy periods like the holidays, so it’s important to keep that in mind as well. Make sure you read shipping policies carefully before making any purchases to avoid disappointment.
If you’re sending out Christmas cards be sure to send them out early to ensure everyone will receive theirs on time. Once you’ve made your card list, why not make a digital copy and store it on your computer? This way you can save yourself time next year!
7. Cleaning and decluttering
I don’t know about you, but one of the most effective ways that I reduce my own stress is by cleaning and decluttering my home. A little ‘organised chaos’ here and there might seem harmless enough, but research shows that clutter can actually have a cumulative effect on our brains. Couple that with the stress of the holidays and you’ve got a recipe for disaster on your hands, especially if you’ve got guests coming to stay.
Similarly to planning out your gifts and food preparation, try making a set cleaning schedule. Know what needs to be done in order of urgency, and then set time in your planner to do it - ahead of time.
Decluttering is a great way to free up space, be more organised and to make your home a relaxing and more inviting place to be in, both for yourself and your guests. Why not try adapting the trending KonMari method? After all, it’s the perfect time of year to donate things you might not need anymore, especially clothing and toys.
If you have a trip planned over the holidays, being prepared ahead of time is essential. If you’re driving make sure your car service is up to date, and be sure to book any and all accommodation in advance, as spaces tend to fill up quickly during the holidays. Use the live traffic app on Android or IOS to check for any delays or road closures along your chosen route to avoid the traffic nightmare.
Plan what you want to bring ahead of time, and pack your bags early to avoid any last-minute stress or missed flights. This is another thing to make a list for!
If you have pets, be sure to organise for them to be looked after, either in a pet motel or by someone you know and trust. Airbnb have many pet-friendly options for accommodation if you’d prefer to bring them with you.
Expecting guests over Christmas? Aim to pre-plan where everyone will sleep. If there are children coming, why not save some room by pitching them a tent and letting them run wild in the back yard?
If you have one, prepare the guest bedroom by laying out the linen and blankets ahead of their arrival. Add an extra welcoming touch by decorating with scent or with some flowers in a vase.
10. Most importantly, take time for yourself!
There’s no way to have a stress free organised Christmas without you, so make sure that you’re kind to yourself and schedule in some down-time. You may feel obligated to attend every single Christmas activity you’re invited to, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to say no.
If you’ve got anything to add which hasn’t been mentioned already, head on over to our Facebook page and leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you!
Graphic Designer / Digital Marketing
Cat Mum, Secretly a Christmas Elf, Coffee Addict and Environmentalist