Tis the season to be jolly! Or is it? I love Christmas as much as the next person but I also find it quite stressful. Over the past few years I’ve tried really hard to reduce stress during the festive season. I love to help others at Christmas and enjoy the festivities, but in order to do so, I need to make sure I am efficient and organised.
I’ve received several messages from readers recently asking for tips on how to reduce stress in the lead up to the big day, so today I thought I’d share what I do to remain as calm as possible at this time of year.
Budget a certain amount for each person you wish to buy a gift for.
It’s incredibly easy to over spend at Christmas. We all want to buy beautiful gifts for our loved ones but sometimes it’s just not doable – especially if you have a limited budget like myself. For the past few years I’ve written a budget for Christmas and worked out exactly how much I can afford to spend on the people I want to buy gifts for. As much as I want to buy a gift for everyone I know and love, it’s just not possible. Of course I buy gifts for the children and close family and friends, but I avoid buying for anyone else so that my budget doesn’t become overstretched.
Reduce stress by planning ahead and saving throughout the year.
I’m not one of those people who start their Christmas shopping in the January sales, but I do give myself plenty of time to prepare. This year I started buying Christmas presents in August. Spreading the cost of buying gifts over several months is far more financially viable than buying everything at once. I’d recommend writing a list of loved ones and gifts you’d like to buy as early as May to give you plenty of time to plan and save.
Don’t try to do everything at once.
It’s not all fun and games for adults. We have to organise gifts, the food, the wrapping, decorations, the list is never-ending! Don’t leave everything until Christmas Eve, do a little at a time. Write a list of everything that needs to be done at the beginning of December and tick each job off throughout the month. Delegate jobs to others if you can, and if it’s not that important, does it really need to be done at all?
Don’t neglect yourself.
Christmas is no excuse to not look after yourself. What is more important, ironing the tablecloth or indulging in a little self-care? If you don’t look after yourself, you can’t look after everyone else so make sure you take some time out over the festive period.
Remember it’s not whats under the tree that matters, it’s who is around it.
I know it’s a cliche, but it really is true. The older I get the more I enjoy just being surrounded by my children, family and friends. Being a parent at Christmas is truly magical, the best gift of all is seeing their excited faces on Christmas mornings. If/when you are worrying about the amount of gifts under the tree, try to remember that love is the best gift of all.