Now that Halloween is out of the way, many people’s thoughts have turned towards planning and shopping for Christmas,
Before I had kids, and even up until last year really, I never planned ahead to Christmas. I used to go out at some point during December, grab everyone’s presents, go to the pub and then wrap them all up (not after the pub, that could have got a bit messy!) whilst listening to some Christmas tunes. Now, with kids, it takes a little bit more planning. We’ve never had to worry about Christmas foods, because we go to my mums for Christmas day, but this year we are going to have a proper Christmas dinner at home on Boxing day, so we will have a little taste of planning that side of it!
We’ve got a few presents already, mostly for the kids, and we have an idea of what we still need to buy for them. We are off to the Festive Gift Fair in a couple of weeks, and I am hoping to get all the adults presents done there. This is much more organised than I have ever been, but I’m hoping to have anything sorted in a couple of weeks so that I can completely relax and enjoy the build up to Christmas, instead of worrying that I have it all. It is crazy that it is really all this planning for just one day, but because our Christmas last year was blighted a little by Ben’s illness, I want this year to be as amazing as possible. I asked a few fellow bloggers for their tips on planning for Christmas and making it as easy as possible.
Zoe from Mama Geek suggests making lists – and lots of them. This is one thing I definitely have going on. On my laptop I have a little spreadsheet going on with all the presents I have bought so far, where they are kept (last year I lost a present!), and a running total of how much I have spent on each person, so that I don’t go over budget. It also has a column for order numbers and tracking info for the gifts I have ordered online.
Tori from The Adultier Adult suggests buying plenty of batteries, especially AA and AAA batteries. There is nothing worse than realising late on Christmas Eve, or even worse on Christmas morning that a toy needs batteries! Buying them a few at a time in advance means you will have plenty in, and spreads the cost out a little.
Cat from Rock and Roll Pussycat buys things throughout the year, especially if they are discounted or a bargain. Not only does this make it a lot cheaper, but it takes so much of the stress away. Towards Christmas a lot of the ‘must have’ toys become really hard to get hold of, so get them as early as you can and put them away.
A tip from Tina from Mother Geek was unboxing toys and putting in the batteries before wrapping them up. It stops the impatient whining on Christmas morning, and helps to cut down on the mass of packaging to throw away that week.
Kara from Chelsea Mamma talks about wrapping the presents as you go along, so you don;t have to do it all in one go, and stops little spies seeing what is stashed away.
I particularly loved Naomi from Tattooed Mummy‘s idea of wrapping a generic present, like a box of chocolates or tin of fancy biscuits and popping it under the tree, so that if anyone unexpected turns up, you have a gift for them. If they don’t, you have a bonus treat for after Christmas!
One of my own tips is to get out the decorations and lights the weekend before you intend on putting them up. We put up ours up on the first Sunday of December, but I get everything out a few days before, and check the lights still work and that we have enough extension leads, hooks, and that the tinsel and baubles still look ok. I also try and untangle the lights if I have the patience. It means we can really enjoy putting the decorations up.
Beth from Twinderelmo and Maddy from The Speed Bump have the best tip of all though – relax and don’t get too caught up in it all. When it comes to it, Christmas is all about the memories that you are making rather than making it perfect.
What are your top tips for planning a stress free Christmas?