Friday, 4 January 2019

Ways To Make Christmas Easier Next Year!

I know, I know...Christmas is now firmly behind us, most of you have your tree firmly back in the loft (not me, mine's staying put until the 6th...possibly even for the whole of January, who knows!) and very few of us want to hear the C word before next November at least.

But hear me out!

As much as I enjoyed Christmas, I did (and always do!) find it a bit stressful at times and there were quite a few things that cropped up where I thought "I MUST remember not to do this next year!"

But of course, then life forget all about those things, and before you know it...Christmas has rolled around once more and you make all those same mistakes again!

But not this time! I'm going to get ahead of the time...and with Christmas still fresh in my mind, I am determined to make note of some of the things I thought of this time that will make Christmas 2019 just that little bit easier! and I thought why not share them on here incase they help any other stressed out Mums too!

So without further ado, here they are!

1) Buy Huge Gift Bags, 1 per child, and Keep Them In The Loft Ready For Present Storing!

We always hide the Christmas presents in the loft as its the only place in the house thats safe from prying eyes...but the problem we have is that the loft is directly outside the boys bedrooms.

And their Dad, the only one willing to go up in the loft, is not blessed with the gift of being light footed. He makes such a racket every time he goes up there I am AMAZED that none of the boys woke up when he was getting the gifts in and out of there this year!

And when he's bringing things up and down one or two at a time to wrap or leave out on Christmas eve, it takes absolutely forever!

So if I buy one or two of those massive big gift bags from Poundland, label them with each childs name and keep them in the loft...then when I buy gifts they can be popped straight up into the relevant bags.

And when I need them to be brought down to wrap, or brought down on Christmas Eve, it'll A) Be much faster and easier bringing a few bags down rather than individual toys and B) Even if the boys are woken up - the things are in bags so harder to see!

2) Wrap EVERYTHING Before Christmas Eve

I thought I was doing SO well with this...I used to leave all of the wrapping until Christmas Eve because when I only had one child, I enjoyed it and found it festive.
But with numerous children, it is NOT fun and's an endless nightmare! So this year I was delighted with myself when I had all 3 of the boys gifts wrapped and done over a week before Christmas.

However...I got lazy, and decided to just leave the family Christmas gifts to do on Christmas Eve.

I was sure it would only take me half an hour. But it didnt. It never does.

It took HOURS and I gave up before I was finished, and ended up having to do last minute wrapping 10 minutes before leaving the house on Christmas Day ... LIKE ALWAYS.

So next year...NO EXCUSES....every single gift, no matter how small, MUST be wrapped BEFORE Christmas Eve!

3) Shop Early

This is something I did this year and it did take a lot of stress away....I had a good invoice paid in September and used it to buy everything I needed for the boys all at once.
I'd really like to be able to do this again next year if possible so I'm going to open a savings account and try to accumulate enough money to make sure I can do a One Stop Christmas shop for the boys gifts in September again.  I'm also going to try to pick up things for family gifts throughout the year in sales etc.
 In an ideal world, I'd like to only have the food shop left to do in December itself!

4) Do LESS In December

Every year I get over excited with the festivities and end up booking us in to WAY too many Christmas events and Days out.

I always think it will be so much fun, but actually it usually means dragging the boys out when they'd rather be at home in the warm watching Christmas movies in their pyjamas. And it always ends up costing more money, and it usually stresses me out because the boys aren't as into it as I thought they'd be and I end up feeling like I wasted the money!

I promised myself I'd ease off on it all this year, but we still ended up seeing Father Christmas on 3 different occasions, and going to 3 or 4 Christmas events.

Next year I'm aiming for ONE Father Christmas visit, maybe a panto and ONE Christmas day out. That's IT!

5) Be Less Rigid With Traditions

I am a nightmare when it comes to keeping with traditions. Its all entirely self inflicted, and probably linked to my OCD if I'm honest as I really struggle with changes but this year my need to keep to tradition did cause some unnecessary stress.

I always insist that we go to church on Christmas Eve because "its tradition" even though it usually means disturbing our evening and making bedtime too late, and I always insist that our family party is on 23rd December even though its a crazy busy time for everybody and my recent Fibromyalgia diagnosis means I should be trying to space out big activities more so having it right on top of Christmas is not ideal.

Next year I'd really like to try moving the Christmas party to the week before Christmas, and maybe even skipping church....we'll see if I'm feeling brave enough next year!

6) Be More Selfish

Especially with my new Fibro diagnosis, I feel that its really important to pace myself more over Christmas in order to be able to enjoy it all without it wiping me out too much.

For the past two years I've crashed out on Christmas Day as I absolutely couldn't manage to keep up with everything, and it's really disheartening to feel that I'm missing out on the main event because I've overstretched myself in the lead up to it.

I always feel very obligated to keep everybody else happy at Christmas and do what other people ask or expect me too, and sometimes it feels like our own preferred way of doing things is last on the list of priorities. I could really do with sitting down and thinking about how WE would like to do things at Christmas, and being more stubborn about finding a way to make that work. After all, we only have a handful of Christmases of the boys being young and it all being magical and I want to make the most of that without feeling like we're always rushing off to be somewhere or do something.

7) Make A List Of Where Everything Is!

I have a Christmas planner, and this year I'm going to make sure that I pop a list inside it to remind me of exactly where everything Christmas related has been stored - because every single year you can guarantee that something will go missing!! Last year it was the Christmas stockings, this year it was the Christmas bedding!


So those are my ideas for next year.... And while I was thinking about all of these things, I decided to reach out and ask my Instagram followers for their own tips on how to make Christmas a more enjoyable and less stressful's what they said!

"I buy all of my wrapping paper, card and gift tags in the January sales and store them ready for next year"

"Don't cook! I'm so not cooking next year!"

"Screw what other people think and just do you! Your Christmas, do it YOUR way"

"Don't buy any toys that need batteries!"

"We went out for lunch last year and it was literally the best thing!"

"Buy vouchers for ALL family"

"No Christmas cards...donate to charity instead and buy experiences for the kids and just limit it to 2 toys"

"Don't do a traditional christmas Dinner, just cook a favourite meal instead!"

"Wrap as you buy and make a list!"

"Start saving £20-£50 a month in January"

"Go away for Christmas!"

"Set the standards months in advance, and stick to them"

"Do all food prep on Christmas eve!"

"Start your food shopping in September, buy a few cupboard items each week"

"Spread out the family visits over December"

"Plan to spend the 25th vegging out - no obligations!"

"Write a list of what is really important and stick to it"

I'd love to hear what your own tips and thoughts are for reducing the Christmas stress and making it all a bit easier next year! Let me know in the comments below! It'll be here before we know it!

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