‘Tis (almost) the season to deck the halls and jingle bells, but first, let’s get some prep work done!
Last year, I noticed that my husband and I were so busy trying to get all the pre-Christmas household and outdoor jobs done, as well as the load the festive season plonks upon all of us, that we really didn’t enjoy the lead up to Christmas the way we usually do.
Especially the night before; the wrapping of presents, making sure the house is tidy for guests the next day, leaving treats out for Santa and the reindeers, trying to actually get some sleep yourself, the list is endless.
Yep, being a grown-up can certainly suck at times! But I think that just because it is a busy time, doesn’t mean you should cram it all in and do everything last minute.
I don’t want to miss out on the enjoyment of taking my time selecting a special gift, wrapping it in bright paper and then watching my children ogle the parcels with the delicious anticipation of finally seeing what’s hidden inside on Christmas day! Or if you are like my daughter she guesses it correctly before she opens it and I have no poker face… eep!
So how will I make time for everything this year? Do some of it early of course!
It’s close enough to Christmas now that you’re able to get in and get some of the big jobs done without all your efforts disappearing before your family and friends arrive.
1. The Toy Cull/Spring Clean
We have a little secret operation going on in our house. One of our girls is getting a little bit older, most of her toys we hide away for her little sister but some of stuff is well… crap. But If i suggest to ‘give to other children and donate or recycle’ it becomes the most favourite toy that she never wants to part with.
So, I sneakily tuck a few things away, and if she doesn’t asks about them for a few weeks, they’re usually good to go, especially all those annoying happy meal toys and those sneaky dollar store treats from the grandparents!
NOW I don’t love the idea of just throwing toys away, the ones that are good enough to pass on I donate to charities, the ones that are past their’ played with’ date I drop to Big W recycling. Big W Toys for Joy is such a good initiative for recycling toys, where you can drop off old plastic toys into one of the big bins at the front of the store.
The spring clean isn’t just the kids toys its a time for me to go through my wardrobe, appliances, electronics and see what I’m not using and time to get rid of! Last years novelty presents I never used, books I’m done with, wardrobe cull or refresh!
I honestly love the feeling of a spring clean/cull it’s just actually doing it that I hate. I think about doing it and procrastinate, not this year!
2. Sell Unwanted Goods
While sorting through our toys and personal items I bundled up several items at an affordable price, knowing another family would appreciate them.
Since we’re done with the baby phase, I decided to part with some baby gear, which found new homes quickly on platforms like FB Marketplace & Gumtree. Marketplace can be an intimidating place if you haven’t used it before, but I recommend putting clear guidelines on your listing so you don’t have people stuffing you around.
For example I always put an HONEST couple of sentences of the condition of the item I’m listing, if anything has markings/tears/stains I take a picture of it and say refer to picture. Lastly I always say cash only and pick up only! Some people have a lot of guts asking you to drop your items to their house, no thanks!
Items I sold included the pram, baby monitor, swaddles, baby carrier and even the trusty snot sucker were snatched up in no time.
I also took a peek inside my room, rifling through cupboards and drawers to find items I no longer use, contributing to the clutter. I’ve made it a habit to list new items on FB Marketplace once a week, not only decluttering my home but also saving the cash I earn for our family Christmas celebrations.
3. Create your budget
Ew budgeting, I know. But it is completely necessary. Many families have expressed on the SAHM community they are majorly cutting back this year!
First you need to establish a guideline for how many people you are buying for and how much to spend on each. This has been my rule for the last few years:
- Teachers/Coaches: $5-$15
- Nieces/Nephews: $30 – $40
- Siblings/ Parents: $50
- Grouped present: (both parents or family present ) $100 – $150
When creating the budget this was the time I realised we simply can not afford to buy for all the adults and children this year, but I’m no grinch…
So we are doing Secret Santa with the adults this year. We did this for a few years and it really didn’t work because it took all the joy and surprise out of Christmas because everyone would just message each others partners and would get exactly what you wanted, without any thought. We have created rules this year!
No one knows each other Secret Santa, no messaging partners for ideas and no buying for someone who isn’t yours (You feel me mum’s I have refused to buy for my husbands Secret Santa).
SAHM Community shared their Secret Santa Budget was between $20-$100. The smaller the budget the more funny/interesting the presents are. If you aren’t afraid to leave shopping to the last minute I would have your lists ready and buy all your presents for Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sales. This is how I’m saving $$$ this year.
4. Plan the Menu
This falls under the budgeting umbrella. Unless you have people that have strictly advised you they want to host and to not bring anything I would be offering to bring a plate or two to Christmas this year! Even if you aren’t bringing a plate make sure to bring snacks + drinks.
We always pretty much have the same thing for Christmas, but now I have my own family I’ve started taking on more responsibilities for hosting and planning Christmas, and I love food I think about food all day everyday so planning the menu is exciting for me!
First count for how many people you are hosting for and then plan accordingly. We usually do 1-2 baked meats, potato dish, 2 x salads and then 2-3 x Desserts. Knowing the menu can help budget and leading up to Christmas you can grab non-perishables to hide away. Grabbing chips, lollies, alcohol when and popping them in the linen cupboard can make that big shop before Christmas day lighter on the wallet. I have popped below a few inspo Christmas meals, desserts + drinks:
- 16 Best Christmas Party Foods For Your Festive Do
- 15 No Bake Recipes To Enjoy This Christmas
- 28 Hot Christmas Nibbles and Starters
- The Best Holiday Food Platter Inspirations On The Internet
- The Ultimate Christmas Dessert Guide
- 50+ Christmas Side Dish Ideas Perfect for Christmas Day
- 21 Refreshing Cocktails and Mocktails to Impress for Christmas
5. Planning the space
If your spare space is limited, you may have done a bit of rearranging before the extra bodies arrive for Christmas lunch. It doesn’t necessarily mean moving your entire lounge onto the veranda, but stashing a couple of beanbags and toy boxes in the cupboard for a week or two might give you the little bit of room you need.
This is the time to reach out for people to bring extra tables, chairs, mattresses, table cloths, serving plates, cutlery. Not ideal running out of cutlery for Christmas lunch.
Speaking of room, if you have a spare one or a foldout chair, make it up much earlier than you’ll need it. You may not be planning to have guests overnight, but in the event of Aunty Bev having a couple of um, bevvies, it might be just the ticket…and no one wants to be flicking out sheets for your tipsy Aunt any night let alone Christmas!
6. Rain Dance
You might not have done one, but the neighbours may just have busted out the wild weather moves after a couple of eggnoggs and next thing you know, it’s raining on your parade. Or Christmas bbq.
And rain in our country, frequently accompanies storms in summer, so have a storm prep plan that you can all execute quick as a flash.
Know tricks like how to unclip your trampoline nets so it doesn’t go flying across the yard, destroying their new toys and your mummy downtime in the process.
7. Make time for self care
I know everyone’s December calendar looks different, but whatever your plans are, there’s something very common for us parents: we tend to ditch some self-care during the festive madness. Between the cooking, cleaning, and catching up with everyone, healthy habits often take a back seat.
So, this November, let’s keep it real. Take casual strolls or maybe give yoga a shot. If you’re not already on the vitamin train, hop on. Treat yourself to a fresh hairdo and catch those Zs.
And here’s a genius idea—squeeze in some healthy meals between all the Christmas and New Year’s shenanigans. It’s the secret to avoiding a junk food overdose.
Take care of your health this month, emotionally, mentally and physically, so you’re not totally wiped out by Christmas Eve.
8. That’s A Wrap!
I absolutely love wrapping and I love my friends that have the aesthetically matching paper, ribbons and tags and I never give myself time to plan, this year Imma try and do it, fingers crossed!
Thoughtful on the inside and outside. It’s plain to see the time and care that has been taken in the selection of gift wrappers and ribbons.
Their generous (and child-free) aunty is the culprits for setting this ridiculous wrapping standard! Though I thoroughly appreciate and envy their efforts, I am probably always going to stick to alternating between the two rolls of Christmas wrap I pick up at Big W… we will see how this Christmas pans out.
It is what it is! The difference I want to make this year is to wrap presents as I buy them (they’re on the list so I don’t forget the contents) and actually enjoy the process of wrapping each gift instead of doing a massive bulk-wrap the week before Christmas and writing all the names on in sharpie marker.
We all love seeing the pressies under the tree, with it’s pretty lights on, and how nice it will be to be able to appreciate it a bit longer…if I can just get myself organised a little earlier this year!
What are your tips for an organised Christmas?