Christmas! The best time of year right? Well, not for everyone! Christmas can leave us feeling overwhelmed and swamped. The joy of the season can be sucked out of you by the sheer level of exhaustion reached, long before the sprouts have been put on to boil! However, it needn’t be like that. Here’s a list of my top five tips to help you work through the coming weeks with ease.
1. Plan Your Time
It may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how helpful this tip is. Make a clear guide to see you through the coming weeks. Set some deadlines, but try to make them realistic. Accept that not all deadlines will be met. This simple acknowledgement will help stop the “Cloud of Doom” descending when something doesn’t quite go to schedule. If you miss a deadline, simply look at the plan and set another more realistic date that works better for you. Taking control in this way will help you to feel calmer.
Our diaries are perfect for making sure you keep note of all those important dates throughout the year. And with an integral planner at the front, it is easy to see where you are in one single glance. Even better, they are completely refillable, so you only need to replace the insert next year!
2. Make a List
I love a list! And at Christmas I have several of them on the go at one time in my trusty notebook. It helps to keep me focused and organised. What you put on your list is very personal, but here are a few of my favourites:
Each year I make a note of who I have to buy for and what I plan to buy them. I write down a budget and stick to it. I always keep this list as I use it as a cross-reference for future purchases. This way, I make sure I don’t duplicate a gift – unless expressly asked for!
Food is taken very seriously in our house! I like to plan what is going to be eaten over the whole festive period, so that I can make best use of any “leftovers”. But I think my favourite thing is making a Christmas cake. I do this in November so it has lots of time to mature. But the wonderful smell of spices just puts me in a good mood straight away!
And don’t forget that online food shopping delivery dates will be snapped up quickly, so act quickly to reserve yours when they are released (another date for that diary!)
This means different things to different people. In our home we love to play a game or two, but we try to mix it up a bit so that there is always an element of fun. For others, Christmas may be a fantastic opportunity to catch up with those fabulous Christmas television programmes.
However many lists you decide to write, our beautiful Italian notebooks are fabulous for keeping them all in one place. I always choose a bright coloured notebook – it’s easier to find! And, when its full up, simply replace the internal pages and keep the old one for future reference should you need it. Perfect!
3. Offers and Discounts
Leading up to Christmas, many stores will have offers and discounts. Take advantage of them and save some money. However, a word of warning. It can be very tempting to buy a lot of things that are on offer without actually having anyone to give them to or actually needing them. This is exactly why you need to make a present list (see the point above)!
Many independent on-line traders also give discounts and offers, the best of which may be privately to those people who have signed up to receive newsletters and offers. If there is a company that you love online, sign up to receive any offers they may have – making sure you’ve signed up to Seres Gifts, of course!
Delegation is an art, but one that is worth learning. I have discovered that asking others to help actually makes them feel part of the day and more valued. Ask someone to bring crackers. A keen cook may be happy to provide a desert. Get someone else to carve the bird. Put someone in charge of drinks. All these things can be stressful if left to one person, yet they are easy to delegate.
This is perhaps the hardest thing of all to do at Christmas! However, if you follow my simple guidelines, you have a good chance of being able to relax and enjoy the day!
Whether it’s taking a long bubble bath or sitting watching your favourite Christmas movie, make sure you take time out for yourself. And, yes! I do mean put it in the diary!