There is no getting around it Christmas can be a stressful time of year. But, it doesn’t have to be.
We know all about Christmas stress, believe us, we’ve been there! This year, we want to have a different Christmas experience, one where the stress doesn’t totally ruin the celebration. So, we’ve put together a list to help prepare your mind and body for Christmas shopping. Here are 10 tips guaranteed to make your shopping experience less painful and more efficient.
Why do Mums FREAK OUT at Christmas Time?
Well, it’s not so much that we freak out – we just have so much to do that we get easily overwhelmed! The bulk of Christmas only happens because Mums make it that way. We buy them gifts, decorate the house, organise the holidays and decide on Christmas Food. Often we have to do all this with kids at our feet!
The best way to prevent Christmas Stress is to be organised and to take a bit of time out just for us.
Remember to do the following:
- Write lists of things you have to do.
- Have a large calendar of December up in the kitchen where the whole family can see what is happening and when.
- Set a budget and stick to it
- Don’t be scared to say NO!
- Reward yourself for all this good work you are going to do by planning at least an hour a week at a spa or a massage – time to bliss out. You deserve it!
- Ask the family for help when you need it!
10. Start Your ‘Need to Know’ Christmas List
Write a list (or start a spreadsheet) of every person that you need to buy for this Christmas. With your immediate family, write down their shoe size, clothing sizes etc and keep the list in your bag.
There is nothing worse than coming across a really great deal but realise you can’t remember what size they take!
Once you have your ‘Need to Know’ list, you can start Christmas shopping early. The early bird doesn’t just get the worm, it also gets the best deals and avoids the stress! When it comes to Christmas shopping, the more you can get done now, the less you’ll need to do as the day inches closer and closer. This is especially true for Christmas when shops become crowded and shoppers go a little crazy. Avoid the masses, shop now!
Remember when you go grocery shopping to throw in a couple of extra blocks of chocolate and wrap them up for neighbours or friends that unexpectedly give you a gift!
9. Shop Without the Children
If you have left your shopping until December, there’s still a way you can win. Try to schedule the bulk of your shopping on a day when the kids are occupied and the shops aren’t so busy. We’d recommend school hours in particular, as not only are you kid-free but so are the shops. If you’ve got little ones, consider asking a neighbour or friend to come over and watch your kids while you shop, and you can return the favour!
Shopping with children in tow is probably the most stressful thing you can do!
8. Take advantage of late-night shopping
Shops stay open later now than ever before. This means that another good time to shop is after dinner. Most shopping centres will have extended hours during the holidays in particular which means you can hit the shops after the kids have been fed and tucked in. With them asleep, it’s easy for you to play Santa and get presents sorted (and get some time to yourself)!
7. Online Shopping is Freaking Awesome
Shopping online is another way to avoid the crowds and the stress that comes with them. However, if you are going to do your shopping online, you need to be prepared well in advance, just in case something goes wrong with shipping or if an item arrives and is not the right size or product. So if you’re reading this and it’s two weeks before Christmas, it’s probably too late!
Even just doing your grocery shop online can save you loads of stress. Here’s where to do it:
- Woolworths Online
- Coles Online
More Reading: 10 Best Online Shopping Sites to Get a Deal
6. Have Your Christmas Lists Prepared
Let’s be honest, you will most likely have more than one list. You may have one list per family member as well as general lists for items like wrapping paper, Christmas tree decorations and food. Keep these lists in a diary or somewhere else safe so they aren’t either lost, or seen by people who shouldn’t see them.
5. Gift Vouchers are Brilliant Gifts!
If a particular family member is hard to buy for – seriously – grab them a shopping voucher instead. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t love a good shopping voucher! Plus they can take advantage of all the post-Christmas sales! Plus there are more than just ‘shopping’ vouchers available… think about:
- Hair or Beauty Service Voucher
- Gym or Fitness Class Voucher
- You can get a Gift Card for an Experience
- Hardware Store Voucher
- Angus & Robertson Voucher
4. If Your Partner Isn’t Good With Gifts…
I know of many many women who go to so much trouble making Christmas lovely for their whole family, including their partner, only to be the only person on Christmas Day NOT to get a gift. It seems to really be a boy thing (gah). So – ladies. Go buy yourself something really beautiful that you totally love, and beautifully wrap it for Christmas Day and write in the ‘From’ section – your partner’s name.
Just do it. At least you get exactly what you want – and it makes you feel appreciated!
I buy myself a gorgeous Christmas Hamper every year!
More Reading: The Best Christmas Hampers Under $50
3. Get Christmas Items Pre-Wrapped
When ordering online in November or December – or purchasing directly at the supermarket – you can have the items gift wrapped right away – usually for a gold coin donation that goes to a really great cause. If you get it all wrapped then and there, it saves that last-minute ‘Oh Shit’ moment!
2. Buy Bulk Presents
Got a good deal on certain toys, book sets or box of chocolate? Then grab heaps of them! Boxes of chocolates can be the perfect gift for just about any adult, from Secret Santa for your co-workers to your neighbour who unexpectedly pops in with a gift. And having some extra toys lying around can be perfect in the event that your child receives an unexpected gift and you need to reciprocate. And, if you still have a few book sets or toys left over, you can always wrap them up for a birthday present later on in the year.
1. Colour-coordinate Your Gifts
Making sure that you have the same amount of presents for all your children is critical! So, invest in a few different coloured bins for each family member. Or, choose different coloured wrapping paper for each child so you know exactly how many presents they will have to open on the big day and to avoid any sibling meltdowns over gift unfairness. Colour coding is also a great way to avoid late-night wrapping forgetfulness!
For more great Christmas shopping ideas and articles, visit Stay at Home Mum’s Christmas page.
What other tips can you give to reduce shopping stress?