by Rosie Earl
Even if you’re the scattiest human on the planet, you need to be organised during the festive season. There’s lots going on, and if you miss something off, you miss out! Here’s how I stay organised when everyone is Christmas Crazy!
I can’t stress this enough: plan your gift buying out as early as you can! Use your journal to make a list of everyone you need to buy for, the budget you have for them, and any present ideas. Tick each one off as you buy them. I start my Christmas shopping in August, so I tend to do a present audit in October/November and take a picture of what I have for each person, that way I can work out if I need to buy them anything else.
Along with gifts, think about the wrapping. I like to theme the wrapping of my presents; last year we used brown paper and twine, and made our own tags to look like old packages. Also, if you’ve bought anything that’s an awkward shape, pick up some boxes to package them in before you wrap. You could decorate the boxes with fancy paper and washi tape to personalise them.
You might get invited to a few nights out, and depending on your lifestyle, it may require some careful planning and prep to make you feel calm. Invest in a nice outfit that will look good for all events, and use accessories to dress it up (a pashmina or belt change could make all the difference!) Also, comfortable shoes are a must! Nothing will get you on the naughty list faster than snapping at someone because you’ve got a blister!
Again, I would recommend using your journal to track your budget to make sure you don’t over spend. Factor in any ticket prices, travel, food/drink at the event, and any gifts you may have to buy for the hostess. Work out how much you can comfortably afford to spend, take the cash with you and leave your card at home (if possible!)
If you have kids, don’t forget to secure your childcare well in advance. This time of year is busy for everyone so keep a note of who has offered to babysit when, and it may be beneficial to check in with them the week before the event to check they have remembered the plan!
Co-ordinating a family Christmas can be like a military operation. I have various people (mums, dads, brothers, in-laws) who want to see me and my partner within those few festive days that.
I plan the schedule, thinking who is it geographically reasonable to visit close together? My partner’s parents live in Manchester, his brother lives in Cambridge and my family all live in the North East. It would be silly to plan to go to Cambridge the day before planning dinner with my mum – I don’t want to drive up and down the country in one day!
Also, I keep a list of which presents need to go where – I tend to sort my presents into bags, then label them with a Post It of who they go to and on what day. That way I don’t get to my destination with one of the required presents still in the cupboard in the spare room!
It may not seem very fun to have a schedule on Christmas Day, but if you’re hosting, noting down the times everything needs to be done will reduce your stress! Make a timetable – when should the turkey go in, who is peeling the carrots, how long does the oil need to be in before you add the roasties – and stick to those times. That way you won’t run out of room in the oven, or have part of dinner going cold while your raw parsnips mock you from a pan! Best thing for this is a white board – get those instructions up nice and big so everyone in the family knows what is happening and when!
These are some starter tips about how you can survive the holidays with your sanity in tact! Plan big, party hard, and have a very merry Christmas!
Hi! I’m Rosie. I’m a UK based blogger who just can’t seem to write about one thing… I’m an organisation nerd, and I love Hello Kitty, so you’ll never catch me without my Filofax with Hello Kitty inserts – I get some funny looks in business meetings, I can tell you! I’m a TV, film and book geek, and I love to recommend and review my favourite things to share my joy!
My blog thisonesmartgirl.com is a collection of all the crazy stuff going on in my head – reviews, current affairs, and feminist perspective. I try to make sense of the world, while constantly being distracted by shiny things!
I’m also a contributor to mouthymoney.co.uk, giving real world advice about personal finance. I’ve written frequently about how being a good planner can save you a fortune!