Monday, December 15, 2014

#RE2014 - Stress-free Holidays - Planning to Avoid Failure and Failure to Plan

The holiday season is a magical time of year but it can also be quite stressful but a little forward planing can take the stress out of the holiday season.  Here are some of my tips to help make Christmas stress-free by planning to succeed:

Shopping for gifts:
I always make a list of people that I am buying for early in the year and jot down ideas for presents as I find things that suit people. I tend to do the vast majority of my shopping online as most of my present go overseas. If you are sending presents or gifts overseas don't forget to check dates for last post to arrive before Christmas and if you are on a budget don't forget to factor postage into the price of your gifts.

Christmas diner:
In recent years due to the hot weather we have created a Christmas menu that involves minimal cooking as nobody wants to have an oven running long hours cooking a turkey. I make a list of food needed for Christmas dinner and Christmas goodies, snacks and treats at the beginning of the month and try to get as much as possible in advance. Any fresh fruit or veggies I buy a few days before Christmas but not on Christmas eve as supermarkets tend to be full of last minute panic buyers.
If you want to avoid the supermarkets altogether (And I wouldn't blame you if you do!) then the majority of supermarkets will deliver food for a small delivery fee. Also don't forget to pick up any drink you want for your Christmas celebrations

If you are planning to cook or bake Christmas goodies such as puddings or cakes then you are best doing these a fair way in advance (up to a year even!) and if you are planning to bake goodies then make sure that you include any ingredients you need in your Christmas shopping list.

Also try not to plan too extravagant a Christmas menu as if you have a lot to do on the day you will only cause yourself more stress as potentially there is more that could go wrong therefore you are setting yourself up to fail. Try to plan a menu which includes items that can be made in advance and frozen or refrigerated so you don't have to spend all day sweating over a hot stove.

Finally ensure that you have plenty of snacks and nibbles in the pantry for when unplanned visitors drop by.

You can often pick up decorations cheap in January sales. I try to pick any up that I want in advance. I keep my theme the same every year being a basic red and white colour scheme and a Scandinavian style theme.

A large proportion of my decorations are home made but I try not to be overambitious with the items I am making. It is best to know your limitations when it comes to craft to avoid unnecessary stress but if you want to try something new then ensure that you give yourself plenty of time to complete the project. I try make any Christmas items in November or even throughout the year and then put them away ready for Christmas.

With these tips your Christmas should be stress-free. However if you fail to plan your Christmas then don't panic as sometimes it is better to be spontaneous than plan every little detail as over-planning can potentially cause undue stress if everything does not go exactly as you envision it. Sometimes the best little celebrations can be spontaneous visits from old friends.

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