Get Organised in the Run Up to Christmas
So, it’s that time of year again.
The time of year when you can’t go anywhere without a Christmas Countdown flashing before your eyes.
Panic and anxiety sets in…you know exactly how much you need to get done and you realise just how little time you have to do it.
And so, the nightmare begins…
But not this year!
This year, I am going to help you to get organised so you can relax and enjoy your Christmas. After all, ’tis the season to be jolly.
I am going to let you in on my Step by Step Guide to Getting Organised for Christmas…
Step 1 – Start now
Thinking about Christmas in October?! Yes, I know it is early, but if you have a business to run, a family to look after, a job to go to, dogs to walk, parties to attend, the next 8 weeks will fly by.
Before you know it, it’ll be the week before Christmas and you’ll be running around like a headless chicken instead of enjoying the festivities.
Step 2 – Use a planner
If you don’t already have a planner, be it an online planner or a physical one you keep in your bag, get one.
At this time of year there is so much going on; networking events, kid’s assemblies, party nights, etc, you need to jot these dates in your planner so nothing gets forgotten.
There are some fabulous planners out there. The Classy Planner have some gorgeous ones to choose from, including a handy, wipe-clean, magnetic fridge family organiser. There are even some free templates to download and print to help you stay on track. They’re as pretty as they are handy too!
If you prefer an online planner, there are plenty out there. I use Google Calendar because it allows me to create different calendars for different aspects of my life.
For example, I have a 9 year old step daughter, so I have created a calendar specifically to keep track of her events and appointments, as well as what days she is staying with us and who is picking her up from where. I share this calendar with both her mum and dad so we all know what is going on. It is a life saver!
You can also set reminders and, if you download the app to your mobile, you’ll get a notification so you don’t need to remember everything yourself. Perfect!
Step 3 – Batch cook
I really don’t know how I managed before I started batch cooking. By the time I got home from work and walked the dogs, there was never enough time to make a decent, healthy and hearty meal for everyone.
It was getting so stressful, we were all rushing our dinner so we could fit in homework, bathtime, reading, etc, with the hope of squeezing in half an hour of chill out time before bed! That’s when I bought my slow cooker. It wasn’t an expensive one but it has changed my life.
Every Sunday I find one hour to prepare meals for the week ahead. I mean, I’m no Nigella so it is never anything fancy, but it is so easy to heat up a stew, spag bol or a homemade soup at the end of a busy day. This way, I know exactly what’s in our food and it saves us so much time, we can have a chat over dinner instead of racing to get finished.
At this time of year life gets so hectic. Rushing around to different events and appointments, spending that hour on a Sunday can free up time in the week to get on with all of the others tasks we need to complete.
To make things even easier, I use the free printable template from The Classy Planner to plan our meals each week.
Step 4 – Work out your budget
It’s easy to get carried away at Christmas. I always strive to make the next Christmas more magical than the last, but my bank account was at breaking point so I had to take action.
I used Google Sheets to create a simple spreadsheet where I could list everything I needed to buy, what my budget was and how much I was actually spending.
If you don’t fancy creating your own, download my Christmas Budget Planner for free. Once you’ve opened it, just click File and Make a Copy or Download, then you can edit it however you wish.
Step 5 – Create a gift list
Once you’ve set your budget, you can start thinking about gift ideas.
I don’t know about you, but I am terrible for picking up little presents here and there which end up amounting to an absolute fortune!
Creating a list of gifts for each of my family members and friends helps me to not only stick to my budget, but it also gives me a wonderful sense of achievement when everyone has a tick next to their name.
I created a checklist in Google Sheets and, because I have the app on my mobile, I can tick gifts off my list as and when I buy them. Click here to get your free copy of my Christmas Gift List. Once you’ve opened it, just click File and Make a Copy or Download, then you can edit it however you wish.
Step 6 – Put aside some time to shop
Online shopping is your friend for many, many reasons.
- You can easily use search engines to find discount codes to ‘apply at checkout’.
- Signing up to a cashback site, such as Quidco or Top Cashback, can earn you a tidy sum which will come in handy in January!
- Using Google Shopping, you can find the best prices for the gifts you’re looking for at a glance.
- You don’t have to travel anywhere, fight the crowds or even get dressed!
- It can all be done in a couple of hours from the comfort of your home.
If you can put aside an hour or two over a weekend, armed with your Christmas Gift List and Christmas Budget Planner, your shopping will be done so all you need to do is wait for it to turn up on your doorstep.
Step 7 – De-clutter
Start with one room at a time, otherwise this may feel like an overwhelming task.
Take a look around the room. What have you not used in the last 6 months?
Take it to a charity shop, ask your friends and family if they can make use of it, or even pop it on a site like Facebook marketplace to earn some extra pennies ahead of Christmas.
Ask the kids to pick out a few toys or games they no longer play with to give to less fortunate kids for Christmas. It helps you to have a clear out and you’re all doing something great by helping others. Win win!
Step 7 – Check what decorations & tableware you have
You don’t want to get to Christmas day to remember you accidentally smashed two of your serving dishes last year! Nor do you want to spend a fortune on decorations at the local garden centre, only to find you don’t have enough branches on the tree to fit all of your baubles.
Take a look at what you already have and, if you do need anything, make a checklist that you can tick off as you go.
Step 8 – Have a festive family prep evening
One of my favourite night’s of the year…Christmas Prep!!
This is usually the day / night we put up our tree – 1st December, or as close to this date as we can get!
Getting the whole family together makes this a lovely, yet productive evening to help you get organised…
- Get a selection of festive nibbles on the go;
- Put your pjs on (festive or otherwise);
- Pop on a Christmas film;
- Let the kids decorate the Christmas tree (I will admit, I do re-dress the tree once the small one is in bed but so far I have got away with it and she is super impressed when she remembers what a great job she’s done!);
- Write your Christmas cards and start your gift wrapping.
Tree up, cards written and presents wrapped…3 big jobs done in one night!
Step 9 – Prepare your food list
If you have already filled in your Christmas Budget Planner, you’ll have already made your food list but it is always worth double checking in case you have missed something.
Now, I love most things about Christmas, but the Christmas food shop is not one of them. The supermarkets get too busy, the car parks are a nightmare, everyone fights over the best looking veg and I just cannot be bothered with it.
Last year, for the first time ever, I pre-ordered our Christmas food. PRE-PREPARED CHRISTMAS FOOD.
All I needed to do was pick it up on December 23rd and shove it all in the oven on 25th!
I can hear a few gasps from the cooks amongst you, and I know this approach isn’t for everyone.
For me, it saves me the stress of the shop itself, the worry of keeping on top of my timings on the day and, most of all, gives me more time to spend with my family and friends with a glass of fizz.
Step 10 – Finish your wrapping
We’ve reached Christmas Eve.
Almost everything is done. The kids / dogs / other half are asleep and there is one last job.
It’s time to finish those last bits of wrapping you weren’t able to risk up until this point.
If you’ve got time, set the table in preparation for tomorrow.
And, you’re done!
Now all that is left to do is to relax and enjoy Christmas.