The bigger your family and the more gatherings you intend to host increases the difficulty and stress of the holiday season. Christmas, for many people, is the best time of year, but if you are
the one that needs to prepare all the meals and host a lot of parties, then it can quickly become overwhelming. To help you combat the stress of the upcoming Christmas season, here are a few pieces of advice.
Starting early is one of the most obvious and essential pieces of advice. It means you have the blessing of time to ensure you have sent all the invites, gotten responses, bought all the presents, food – plus all dietary requirements are catered for, drinks, etc.
The list is endless when it comes to Christmas celebration preparations. The last thing you want is to be getting RSVPs a few days before and realizing you are horribles short of something and it has all been sold out.
This will cause you a lot of stress and potential embarrassment. So, to avoid all that, start early. You could start as early as the end of Summer. However, October is generally a good enough head start.
The stores start selling their Christmas supplies then, and this can act like a cue for you to get going with your Christmas to-do list.
Create a Budget
Christmas can get expensive, especially if you have no idea about the costs. So, one of the first things you should do is create a Christmas expenses budget.
A budget will focus your mind on what you can afford and what you cannot. It may help you make decisions about where to shop too.
Things that you may otherwise not think about, like the types of postage to buy, all need to be included in the budget. Take an honest look at your finances and Christmas savings pot to create a set budget that you fully intend to stick to.
Once you know how much you have to spend, you can begin creating a fully exhaustive to-do list. If you have a very tight budget, you can enter the amount of money you have to spend in each area.
When you go shopping for individual items, you then have a rough ballpark monetary figure to work with. Your to-do list should include all the people you need to invite, send cards to, and buy presents for.
It should include all the drinks you’ll need, food, and when and where best to buy it. Do you need any novelty Christmas clothes like Christmas sweaters? How about the tree – Will you want a pot grown Christmas tree, or do you already have a fake one
Think about the decorations. Do you have a log fire? How much wood will you need? When you start drilling into the things that must be done, you will discover a lot more needs to be done than you first thought.
Use a Calendar
You can clearly use your phone’s calendar for this, but perhaps one on the wall may be quite useful too, so you can see when you are busy quickly when you are on the phone, for example.
As you well know, Christmas can be a very hectic time. So, be organized. Fill your diary up with all the thongs you need to. Include the kid’s Nativity play, when term time ends, etc., and when those other events are lined up for.
Include also things like when you need to go for those final food items, so it can’t be interfered with. The more organized you are, the less stress you will feel
Christmas Day Hosting
You may need to have that chat with other members of your family, and if it’s you this year hosting the main event – Christmas day – you have even more need to prepare early.
The first thing is you have to ensure that both you and your partner are on board, then, you can begin divvying up the to-do list. Decide on an invite list and send out those invitations. The more notice you can give everyone, the better. Ensure you get all special dietary requirements arranged too.
Think about all the things you need to put on the Christmas table, candles, crackers, sauces, napkins, etc.,
How are you going to decorate? How many trees are you going to put up? Are you going for the stylish Christmas with minimalist decoration, or are you going to go whole hog?
One this for sure is if you are hosting any events, you want it to look uniform and offer that wow factor. Why not take a look at some Christmas decoration designs and then work out one that you like a fits your budget?
One of the best times to set up those decorations is the end of November. That means you can start December the way you mean to go on.
It also means if you don’t like a decoration, or if something just does not fit with the style you are creating, again, you have plenty of time to fix it.
If you are planning on wowing with your food, then you may want to try out some new recipes. However, you need to practice these a long time before the event. Why not have a few rehearsals?
Where you make the food you plan to for Christmas day and see what works and what doesn’t. Your family can be your litmus test. If the kids like it, then you are probably on to a winner.
Prepare Food Ahead of Time
Practicing your meals will give you a good idea of what you can prepare before and what needs to be done on the day.
Anything that can be done the day before should be. This will minimize the stress you will feel. There may even be scope to make things such as the gravy, stuffing, and desserts way before and freeze them in anticipation of the big day.
Just ensure you follow safe cooking practices.