Want a relaxing Christmas? Do these little things NOW!

Usually I’m quite ahead of the curve when it comes to Christmas excitement. This year however, I’ve been fairly restrained. That is, until they played the Christmas movie Elf on telly last Saturday (20 October).

So now it’s all systems go! The Christmas albums are sneaking into the morning drive repertoire (haha kids, I found the John Denver). I’m steadily wearing more red and gradually eating more chocolate. Same old routine as every other year, really.

But wait! This won’t be just another year. By several quirks of fate, we have a bevy of people who may be descending upon us on or around the big day. This means I have to do some…. organising. Eep! As someone who fears planning and has spent the last few Christmases relaxing with immediate family only, this is just about my worst nightmare. And makes me kind of miss being unpopular.

So in the interests of retaining my sanity and helping out my fellow organisation-phobes, I’ve come up with some ideas of the easy peasy things you can do in the lead-up to Christmas to ensure that the festive season is as relaxed as possible.

Keep an eye out for great presents all year round

This is my downfall. At random points of the year I’ll spot things at the shops that make me think “Phwooaorr, X would so totally love that TV test pattern pencil case/huge stuffed hippo/fake cactus”. I might even take a few pictures of it and send it to X with a smart alecky comment attached. But here’s the thing – I DON’T BUY IT. Then come Christmas or their birthday, I end up panic-buying something generic and boring.

Therefore, I would strongly advise that as soon as you happen upon something that would be perfect for someone in your life, BUY IT NOW! It doesn’t matter if it’s nowhere near Christmas.

You could also keep an eye out for discounted gift cards. Regardless of whether you have a specific recipient in mind or not, these will always come in handy. Worse comes to worst, you can always use them for yourself. Just be mindful that some gift cards have a strict ‘use by’ date so don’t get them too early unless you know that the intended will spend it quickly enough.

Start writing the Christmas cards early

Have you ever found yourself writing a whole stack of last-minute Christmas cards in one go while bleary-eyed and resenting the heck out of the intended recipients? Then this hack is for you!

As Christmas approaches, make it a goal to write one Christmas card each night, or each week, or however it is you like to roll.

One interesting idea is to write a Christmas card for someone when the affection for them strikes. Did they just send you a hilarious text message? Did they come around to your place today with freshly-baked muffins, just because? Then get writing on their card right now, because this increases your chances of creating a message that is meaningful, personalised and in-the-moment rather than clearly rushed and cookie-cuttered.

Take advantage of online shopping

One of modern technology’s greatest achievements is giving us the ability to go shopping without having to leave the house. An excellent way to avoid parking, crowds, queues and other aggravating factors.

Stuck On You allows you the wonderful luxury of doing your Christmas shopping in your pyjamas. You can even buy pyjamas while wearing pyjamas! How awesome is that?

Just in time for Christmas, we also have the sweetest range of personalised goodies that will really get you and your loved ones into the spirit – Christmas hats, letters from Santa, Santa Sacks, onesies for baby’s first Christmas, and so much more. Check them out here.

Bye bye clutter!

Christmas is a cluttery and chaotic affair, so it helps to do a big clean up of your surrounds beforehand. The focus here should be to get rid of useless clutter around the home. You can get your kids on board by reminding them that they’re about to receive a shipment of noisy, shiny new toys so it’s in their best interests to rid their space of those old toys they no longer play with.

Closer to Christmas, give your fridge a good old clean and reorganise it to leave as much space as possible. This is because it will quickly fill up with fresh produce and other goodies for Christmas.

And did we mention leftovers? Stuck On You has the perfect personalised Ham Bag for you to store that leftover Christmas ham.

Know your limits and set them early

Dreading the 10 hour drive to Aunt Beryl’s, only for you to end up sharing the fold-out couch with flatulent Granny? Hate having to come up with separate (and expensive) gifts for your 12 nieces and nephews?

If there’s a family tradition that you don’t quite agree with, air it out now while there’s still time to change things, and before the full extent of Christmas planning stress has set in. You never know, there may be others in your extended family who will agree with you that you could go to Grandma’s place instead (which is bigger and closer!), or that having a Kris Kringle system where you only need to buy a gift for one person is a good idea.

Stock up on food

When cooking meals for your family, make double the amount and freeze half for those Christmas drop-ins, or for when your turkey has failed but all the shops are closed and you have to feed your guests something.

Another cool (pun intended) idea is to freeze cookie dough so that you can whip up a batch when wanted or needed.

You should also take advantage of those post-Halloween/post-Thanksgiving sales and stock up on lollies, little knickknacks and other stocking fillers.

Stock up on decorations

Speaking of sales, you can also use those post-Halloween, post-spring-racing and post-whatever sales to help you decorate your home on the cheap. Granted, many of these items will not be strictly Christmassy but there are some things that will be festive/pretty enough to get the job done. Otherwise, you can go for ‘quirky’. Who wouldn’t want to see a smiling skeleton at Christmas dinner?

Image: Beautiful personalised Christmas decorations from Stuck On You.

Make your own wrapping paper

Keep the kids occupied in the lead-up to Christmas and save some money at the same time! Create some DIY wrapping paper by getting some butcher’s paper and covering it with paint, glitter, and potato stamps. Your recipients will love this thoughtful and ‘bespoke’ wrapping.

Remain psyched

We get that it’s easy to lose sight of the Christmas spirit while you’re knee-deep in planning, cooking and arguing about where to go for the big day.

Most towns offer Christmas entertainment in the lead-up to Christmas, so enjoy those movie screenings at the park, carols by candlelight, and Santa’s workshops for kids. These activities are casual, free (or cheap) and will hopefully keep you at least a bit cheerful.