OK, I’ve held off talking about it as long as I can but Christmas is right around the corner. (Five weeks, folks. Just five weeks.) And if you want to be able to enjoy it, it helps to be prepared.
So here are some really easy ways you can make it the least stressful one yet (well, since you were a kid anyway), including my super simple hack for finding great gifts.
1. Start shopping early
Believe me, I get it – you don’t know what to buy anyone so you keep putting it off until you’re down to the last few days and you start making panic purchases.
BUT you also don’t want to buy something and run the risk of finding the perfect gift between now and the big day.
Quite the quandary!
Thankfully, I’ve found the perfect balance – I do all my shopping online, saving things in baskets that I think people will like. I mark on my calendar the last date I have to buy everything to ensure it’s delivered on time, leaving a few buffer days for anything that may be delayed.
If I don’t find anything better before time runs out, I click that big ol’ checkout button and congratulate myself on a job well done.
The point is, don’t wait for inspiration to strike. Do some research upfront so you feel a lot less stressed about the whole situation and don’t end up splurging at the last minute because you’re stuck for ideas.
If you’re really stumped and don’t know where to start, here are the two main things I do:
Those two have yet to let me down when I don’t have a clue.
Set aside an hour or two to do that research now and you’ll be significantly less stressed in the coming weeks.
And if you’re truly stuck, here’s a great list of gift ideas for any budget:
2. Clear a space
No matter how minimalist you are, your home is likely about to be flooded with stuff, whether it be gifts, extra food, decorations, cards, etc.
Now’s a good time to clear out all those old linens, tidy up the kitchen cupboards, use up any about-to-expire food (including emptying out the freezer), donate any unwanted items, etc.
And for all those boxes of things you currently have lying around of things you meant to donate (oh honey, I hear ya), now’s the time to pack up the car and clear them out too.
And empty every single bin, recycling box, shredder, etc. in your home before they quickly fill back up!
For all my best decluttering tips (and the biggest obstacles you should avoid), click to watch this video:
Speaking of filling back up, now that you’ve got some extra space…
3. Stock up
Apart from gifts, there are certain essentials you’ll need over the Christmas period. It’s best if you don’t have to brave the increasingly chaotic crowds to go get them so make a list and have them all good to go in advance.
Here are some ideas:
For any food items (and, honestly, for everything else too), consider ordering them all online so they can be delivered just when you need them.
If you do have guests arriving, here's how to be the perfect hostess:
4. Wash all laundry & linens
Let’s face it, no-one wants to be doing laundry in the last few days of Christmas, especially if you’ve got guests. So ensuring all your bedclothes, throws, towels, bath mats, shower curtains, slip covers, cloth napkins, etc. are washed now means you’re not scrambling around last minute to find clean sheets.
Also include any outfits you plan to wear (eg. your favourite dress to the office Christmas party), as well as the fundamentals like socks, underwear, and all things fleecy.
Wash it all in advance and it’s one less thing on your festive to-do list.
Click the video below for some quick and easy laundry hacks:
As always, I’ll be running my annual “Stress-Free Festivities” event via email this year, helping you face the silly season with a little more cheer. Each day in the run up to Christmas I’ll be sending daily prompts for things to do so you don’t forget anything.
So if you’re ready to take the stress and guesswork out of the festive period, sign up today. (The Christmas cracker jokes are always a huge hit.)
While you’re excitedly awaiting the Christmas challenge kickoff, here are some other great posts on simplifying the season:
What do you love most about Christmas?