Christmas is always bat-shit crazy for Mums. Because let’s face it, if it wasn’t for us, Christmas would not happen!
Christmas is mental for Mums. And any single thing that I can do to make it a bit easier – is gold! Here are my tips on how to start preparing for Christmas right now! So that hopefully, Christmas can be a lovely time of year, instead of needing to be admitted to a psych ward on boxing day!
Start Picking Up a Few Long Life Pantry Items or Frozen Goods Now!
When you do your weekly or fortnightly grocery shop, consider picking up some items that have a long shelf life that you will use over the Christmas period. This spreads the cost of feeding the hordes over the silly season over a few months. Good examples of grocery items to pre-buy and put away include:
- Frozen Party Pies and Sausage Rolls
- Napkins and paper plates
- Frozen Vegetables
- Fruit Cake
- Bottles of wine
- Potato Chips
- Canned Goods like tinned peas or vegetables.
- Icecream, frozen desserts
Note: Just make sure you check the use-by date to ensure it will last until Christmas time!
Talk to the Extended Family to Decide What is Happening and When
This is the hard one! Getting the extended family to decide on when and where celebrations will be held. But if you have this information, you can at least start planning for it. If at all possible, try not to schedule more than one large family dinner on Christmas Day, see if the family will be willing to perhaps do a celebration on Boxing Day. Dragging cranky children from place to place on Christmas Day when they just want to be home playing with their new toys is hard – on you and the kids.
If your family are being obstinate and difficult, tell them you need to start planning now so that the kids can have a great Christmas.
Many families have one celebration with one side of the family one year, and the other side the next year.
Note: Family is hard – but remember, the kids come first!!!!!
Pick Up a Gift Card or Two When Shopping or Out and About
$5 or $10 Gift Cards make for an easy and well received Christmas gifts for neighbors, friends or extended families. Not only that, if you buy a gift card from the supermarket every time you shop, you can then use these cards yourself for the big Christmas shop that needs to be done in December…. It’s like forced savings!
You can pick up gift cards at the checkout from almost all supermarkets – just ask!
Talk to the Family about Gift Giving
I don’t think everyone should be buying Christmas gifts for every person in the family. Not only is this financially stressful, it just isn’t necessary. Personally, I think extended families should only buy for kids under 12 – and then only have a limit.
But if your family are into gift giving – perhaps consider having a maximum amount (say $5 or $10) – or hand-made gifts, or even think about a Christ-Kindle – where every family members name is put into a hat and everyone buys just one gift for that secret person!
Although gift giving can be a bone of contention for most families, if you start talking about it now – it could save you a lot of money and stress in the long-run.
Gift Cards are a great gift idea especially as you can get a great deals in the after Christmas sales!
Some ideas for Gift Cards include:
- Angus & Robertson Bookworld
- Australia Post carries a huge range of Gift Cards including JB HIFi, Sportsgirl and Pre-paid Visa Cards
- Coles and Myer Gift Cards
- Target Gift Card
Set up a Calendar of Events for the Silly Season
Coming into December, the whole family is busy. With the end of school concerts, family get-togethers and parties, it can be really hard to keep a good check of what is coming up and when. Think about printing a large calendar (or printing two A4 calendars and putting them together) to stick somewhere you will see every day (I particularly like the front of the fridge – because all family members go there a few times a day!). Knowing what you have coming up makes it easy for you to plan ahead, and not double-booking yourself which causes stress!
Another idea is that you can use the front of the fridge (white fridge or stainless steel) as a whiteboard! Just grab the whiteboard markers (because permanent will have you cursing to get the stuff off!) – and start writing dates and times!