In my opinion one of the best feelings in life is to feel prepared for what is ahead. I do not do well in situations where chaos reigns, you know people without a plan of what is ahead drive me crazy, they tend to have great visions of the end result but no clue of how to get there.
I think Christmas can feel like that sometimes, we know that gifts are given, a nice home cooked meal perhaps, and time spent with family, yet December appears and we begin to feel overwhelmed with expectation of what really is just one day.
I thought it may be useful to share how I plan my Christmas Season, back in May I shared how we chose to budget out all the gifts for our year and by so by the end of November all of our gifts were purchased. At the start of December I set myself a weekly goal of how many presents I would like to wrap – I find if I do this all on one or two nights I get burnt out – the last gifts wrapped usually look a mess so spacing them out works for me.
I like to use a Christmas Planner, which I have to hand, so if I have a thought in July about a side dish or a gift I would like to purchase I can put it down. I also keep a running list of all the Christmas Markets and events I would like to go to, and make sure they are in my planner so we don’t miss them.
When decorating our home, what works best for our family right now is to put decorations up in stages to acclimatise our curious toddler. If I simply put the tree up with all the trimmings I know things would get damaged, however putting the tree and the lights up to remind him of it – allowing him to get use to it’s presence I find that he really isn’t that bothered that it is there, plus again we can savour trimming our tree rather than rushing about feeling under pressure.
Personally I find Christmas Dinner the easiest, every year since we have been married we have stayed at home and I would not change it! We tend to keep the same meal, and Christmas Week I create a running schedule of what should go in the oven when so we really don’t have to think about things on the day. I try to make certain dishes ahead of time such as my sausage meat stuffing and green bean casserole and all the side dishes are prepped first thing in the morning.
The one fail to my calm Christmas is grocery shopping because it is this step that encounters crazy Christmas shoppers who always seem to be feeding 5000 guests.
With some preparation however I can make my stay at the grocery store as short as possible. Where you can buy ahead, meat will freeze and stores begin stocking their shelves early. Create a space in your pantry or cupboards specifically for Christmas items – at the back of my pantry I have canned goods and jarred items in a bin for our Christmas meal or for baking I plan to do – I purchased these back at the end of October with no crazy Christmas shopper in sight! Well apart from me!
i hope these tips on how I plan help you create a peaceful Christmas season for your family!