December is such a magical month, but it does come with a lot of unwanted stress and overwhelm that we could all do without. I thought I'd share a few tips that can help lessen the load before and during Christmas to make the whole season a lot more enjoyable. Here are ten tips to combat the December overwhelm;
There's no need to hit the January sales to stock up for Christmas, but it is a good idea to start planning a little earlier and either save a little cash in the months running up to December, or even starting to by a few things that will keep for the big day to lessen the load at Christmas. With school kids, it can be as overwhelming for them as it is to us, so make plans in advance, spread the family visits and try not to leave it all to one big panic in the last couple of weeks.
Sync with the school calendar
With so much going on in schools in the run up to Christmas with plays, Christmas fairs, trips, choir concerts, party days etc etc etc, it can feel like a lot to deal with in one go. Try and sync up your calendar to the school one on their website if that's an option, but if not request the dates up front so you can get them pencilled in ready and save several shopping trips.
Tackle a week at a time
Try not to think of everything all at once in such a busy time. Taking one week at a time will feel much less daunting and mean you can take each day as it comes. If you've planned a little ahead you'll have all the things you need in advance, so no last minute panics and leaving you a little head space to enjoy the festivities.
Buy ready made
If you enjoy cooking and don't find it stressful, then you'll be fine, but if not or if time is not on your side, then don't be afraid to buy ready made food to warm up. You could even buy ready made costumes (second hand is even better!) to lessen the stress of those Christmas nativity dress up days or party outfits. Nowadays, ready made food can taste just as good as the real thing and it's well worth trying if you need a little more time and less hassle in December.
Don't exceed your budget
Although it's tempting to spoil those we love, nobody wants to be in debt or have a family member worrying about money, especially at Christmas. Spend what you want to and what you can afford and don't be tempted to use credit cards or borrow money unnecessarily. If you want to save money, buy little and often or make some homemade gifts in advance that will show you've been thoughtful without breaking the bank.
Make check lists
Emptying our head onto paper or a notes app can make us feel instantly less stressed. Sometimes, seeing it written down doesn't seem half as bad as having to carry it all around in your head. Write lists for presents, things you need to buy for the family and any extras for school/teacher gifts.
Get the tricky presents first
I always leave the harder people til last, but it would save SO much stress if I got them out the way first which is what I'm planning to do from now on. From there, you can shop with ease knowing there's no tricky gifts to shop for later.
Schedule some fun
Although as parents it can feel like the fun is just for kids, it's important for us to have fun too. Make sure you schedule in some fun somewhere for you, an end of term party, a meal out, a date night, anything that gets you out having fun while everyone else is too.
Practise self care
With everything going on all month, especially if you have kids, then it's important to make time for you. You should celebrate Christmas too and even if it's just a little pampering, a few hours to yourself or a few treats for yourself, it's an important factor to keep you in the spirit and happy.
Give something back
By giving a little time, unwanted gifts or a few spare pennies to a good cause, it reminds us how lucky we are and relieves some of the stress. No matter how much we have to buy, how many school shows we have to attend of relatives we have to visit, having those things to stress us out really are a blessing, so it doesn't hurt to remind ourselves of that in busy times by helping those less fortunate.