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Christmas Planning Without the Tears

Posted in 'Organising' on November 26, 2015

Christmas TreeThe shops have been filled with tinsel and trees since September. Santa has taken up residence in all the shopping centres and Christmas craft is starting to make its way home in the schoolbag. 

You are already having nightmares about trying to find presents in shopping centres resembling roller derby competitions at its worst. The thought of decorating the house and creating gourmet meals while still looking super cool, calm and collected is turning you to drink.

Before you reach for another Chardonnay, here are some tips to help you plan out your Christmas and stagger out the drama into manageable quantities.

1st Week of December

  • Budget: Work out your budget for presents, food and wine to help reduce New Year bill shock.
  • Present List:  Write out a list of the people you need to buy for either on paper that you can keep in your wallet, or in a note on your smartphone. Remember to include present ideas, sizes and colour preferences.
  • Shop Online: This is the best week to shop online so your parcels arrive in time for the big day.
  • School Presents: Buy/make gifts for teachers and fellow classmates, as well as adding in a few smaller gifts for unexpected presents that crop up.
  • Groceries: Buy your puddings and cake this week (if you don't have them already or are not making them). The good ones sell out quickly. Also buy your cards, gift tags and gift-wrap this week so you can wrap your presents as you go rather than doing a marathon on Christmas Eve.
  • Book babysitters: If you have any Christmas functions in December without the kids, lock in your babysitters this week (and your hairdresser, dog washer, house-cleaner, gardener and nail salon).
  • Sort Your Calendar: Write in all your family Christmas parties, carols, and school functions into one calendar to keep track of everything.
  • Give back: Remember to add a few items for charity food collections or wishing trees this week. It makes it easier for charities to distribute to those in need if they receive donations early in the month rather than closer to Christmas.
  • Decorate:While we would all love a home that is Pinterest worthy, the reality is that a Christmas tree is the only real essential. Anything else is a bonus. Remember to take a photo of the kids decorating the tree every year - it makes a great memory.

 2nd Week of December

  • Christmas cards: Write and mail out your Christmas cards this week unless you were one of those super organised people who did them back in November. Buy post office preferred cards to reduce mail costs.
  • Presents:  This week is when you get present shopping in earnest. Remember to keep to your budget. If you can, try and get all your shopping done in one shopping trip (… this is where a great babysitter comes into play, or swap caring for your friend's kids while they shop and then visa versa. Shopping with kids in tow at Christmas is not fun!)
  • House Preparation: Having guests stay over Christmas? Time to get the spare room clean and ready for guests and to check out if you need any new towels or sheets.
  • Groceries: Plan your Christmas cooking menu and order your ham, turkey and seafood is week. Add in bonbons and Christmas napkins to your shop.
  • Homemade gifts: This is the week to make and package up any homemade Christmas gifts that won't spoil.

 3rd Week of December

  • Post all out of town presents:  Christmas is the busiest time for Australia Post, so get in early with your presents for friends and family.
  • Wine week: Stock up on wine, brandy and other drinks for Christmas this week so you avoid the crush at the bottle shop in the days before Christmas.
  • Groceries:This is a great week to add in any longer life items such as Pavlova shells, biscuits and nibbles. Top up all your AA, AAA, C, D and 9V batteries this week so there are no tears on Christmas day if toys don't work.
  • House Preparation: Clean out the fridge in readiness for the onslaught next week and prepare the BBQ.
  • Christmas Light Displays: Avoid the Christmas week craziness and check out the Christmas lights this week.

 4th Week of December

  • Groceries:This is the week for fresh ingredients. Aim to be at the shop when the doors open to avoid the crowds. Remember to add in cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer into your shop.
  • >House Preparation: Wash and prepare all the Christmas crockery and glasses you only use once a year, and give the house a deep clean in readiness for your guests.
  • Other Preparation: Recharge the batteries on your digital camera or video recorder in readiness for capturing the magic moments.
  • Presents:Run out of ideas? Gift cards or vouchers are perfect last minute gifts. Coles and Woolworths stock a massive range of cards for loads of stores and experiences, or get in touch with your favourite service or concierge business to give someone the gift of time.

 After Christmas

  • Sales: Take advantage of the post-Christmas sales to stock up on cards, wrap and bon bons for next year.

Christmas is naturally a busy time of year. With a bit of planning, you can reduce your stress and serenely sail into the silly season.




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