10 things to do now to enjoy a happy stress-free Christmas

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Hi guys! I can’t believe Christmas is just a month away now! From social media to my local department stores, the spirit of Christmas is already everywhere in the air. This is my (and I’m sure most people’s) favourite time of the year, but it can be quite hectic. And the last thing we want at this time of love, joy and peace is stress and frustrations from last minute preparations. Below are what I’m doing now to avoid them:

Make a list of who to send greetings to and buy gifts for

Some names are already floating in my head as I think about this. I’m writing them down so I don’t end up forgetting. I’m also going through my phone comtacts and social media friends list to add people to this list. It can be as long as you’d like depending on how you’d like to maintain these relationships. I also do separate lists for family/friends with gifts, family/friends I will send individual messages to, and others that I will send a general greetings.

Get the Christmas cards/e-cards and wrapping paper

Once I have my lists, I count the names so I know how many cards I’ll need and how many presents to wrap. These numbers serve as a guide so I won’t buy too much more than what I need. Of course, if you have left over cards and wrapping paper from previous years, you can certainly use them too as long as there’s enough for everyone.

Don’t miss the sales!

Many sale ads are starting to pop in my emails and those gigantic signs are everywhere in the stores. As a customer, I certainly wouldn’t want to miss these sales to save some money on holiday shopping and the presents I want to buy. Having a list is again handy, so I know exactly how many presents I need to buy and set a budget. If you have ample budget, it’s a good idea to individualize the presents based on who you’re giving them to. But if you have a limited budget and a long list of people to buy presents for, what I would do in this case is further divide my present list into ‘for him’, ‘for her’ and ‘for kids’, so I can roughly work out how much to spend on each group and get ideas from the stores themselves. A lot of stores have pre-packed gift packages for a range of budgets, and they are usually high standards nowadays too.

Start wrapping

As I buy my presents, I usually start wrapping them straight away (unless I’m not 100% sure about the present themselves). This is a good idea especially if you have a long list of people to give presents to. I sometimes prioritize them based on who I will be seeing and giving first. The whole point is to avoid last minute rushes. As we all know, there will be plenty to do when Christmas is here!

Start writing the greetings messages

I don’t know about you, but I generally don’t like writing cliched messages, so I like to plan ahead. For the people I will be sending individual messages to, I like to add in personal elements that make them more special. For the general greetings, I tend to keep them shorter and just include wish wells. If you have a lot of people to write to like me, it’s a good idea to start jotting the messages down in your smartphone as you think of them, so again there won’t be stressful last minute rushes.

Plan the holiday activities

We like to celebrate Christmas by gatherings with family and friends. This year we’ll be inviting close networks to our house and also go to theirs. We usually don’t like going away during Christmas because it‘s super crowded everywhere. But if you do plan to go away for few days, you should definitely be booking in accommodations and flights if you’re going far. Airbnb is a good resort for last minute accommodation bookings as hotels and motels tend to be full way in advance of Christmas.

Plan the meals

Since we’ll be hosting Christmas at our place this year, it’s time to think of the menu too. Once the guest list is confirmed, I can decide the dishes to make. There are plenty of online resources for Christmas meal inspirations, I personally like to go to Pinterest. I also like to prepare a main menu and a side menu with some easy to make dishes, just in case on the day, there isn’t enough food to serve.

Make a grocery shopping list

My menu is done, now it’s time to make a shopping list. I wouldn’t start buying all the ingredients just yet for freshness purpose. But there will probably be non-fresh items you can start buying. It’s also a good idea to start clearing the fridge if you haven’t started already. I like to do this because I want to make sure there will be plenty of room in the fridge to store all the items for the big day.

Clean the house

This is probably not Christmas specific, but I like to make the house a bit extra tidy and neat during holiday season for all the gatherings we’ll be having. Plus, I believe a clean environment is generally good for the mood.

Get the Christmas decors up!

Last but not least, it’s time to put up the Christmas tree and all the decorations! I have a whole section in my home storage dedicated to Christmas decors, so it’s not a big hassle to look and search for things. If you’re not doing this already, this is a good way to keep them organized for future usage. It is, after all, something we do every year, right? If you decide to buy new decorations this year, it’s a good idea to catch them on sale when you go present shopping.

Now I think we’re ready for the holiday season. Cheers to the spirit of Christmas!

Shan

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