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Seven festive hacks for a stress-free Christmas

Posted on 19 November 2018

Every Christmas season starts like the one before – with decorations, lights and chocolates going on sale before the first of November. The shops are a not-so-subtle reminder of all the stress that can come with this festive time of year. Below are seven tips for finding the right balance – hacks to help with the stress of Christmas and hopefully allow you to enjoy the big day with your family and friends.

 1. Stop trying to do too much

To be honest, we could write a whole article just on this topic alone! The key here, and less of a hack than a rule to live by, is to just say no when you are feeling stretched. You can say no to the mum’s night out, the neighbourhood drinks, the local carol concert. Don’t feel like you have to do everything and be everywhere. Actually, it’s good to apply this across the whole of the year and not just for Christmas!

 2. Book a day out far in advance

The children love a good day out, either at a grotto or a panto. Sometimes these are booked up months in advance, so make sure you book early to avoid disappointment. They often do early-bird discounts as well.  

 3. Make a plan to call/write to elderly family members

It’s not always easy to arrange a visit to every elderly family member, let alone at Christmas when things are feeling busy enough already. However, through the magic of technology, arranging a FaceTime or Skype video chat with a loved one is fairly easy. Get the kids to engage with an elderly family member – even for 10 minutes. It can have a lasting effect on their happiness this Christmas.  

 4. Set a budget and stick too it

There are several tips for creating a budget, and creating one that fits within your actual spend in order to avoid what feels like the inevitable overspend that leaves January so tight. Plenty of sites offer gift hacks, including making homemade hampers and using cashback sites to buy your gift vouchers. Some sites offer 10% back! Another tip is to make your list and shop online. It stops you from impulse purchases in the queue.

 5. Help children to be realistic with their lists

Have you heard of the four Christmas gifts rule? One to wear, One to read, One they want and One they need. It’s actually a really useful way to get children to design their lists. It stops you from getting carried away too. The list is manageable and teaches a valuable lesson during the holidays. There might need to be a chat about budget – especially if the “want” is a £400 gaming console! If nothing else, talking through it with your kids might encourage them to think about their lists without going over the top.

 6. Go for a walk

This might not seem like a hack at first glance, however it helps hit family exercise targets, offers great locations for a Christmas outing, and most people can join in with loads of disabled access walks available. Invite friends and family along and you can make it even more special. Even if your family doesn’t like the cold weather, bundle up and you might find yourself a new family tradition.

 7. Ditch the pursuit of a perfect Christmas meal

It’s easy to admin that not everyone’s Christmas lunch looks like Nigella Lawson’s. You may not get to spend the big day in your dressing gown, eating and drinking as you’d like. Instead of trying to create the perfect day, accept that the slightly charred sprouts, lumpy gravy and a dry turkey are not what make the day memorable. Accept offers from family members to bring dishes along. Be kind to yourself in the kitchen and allow some time to enjoy the family.