The next week or so is the busiest time of the year for many parents. Like many of you, the Mums and Me team is frantically running around, trying to meet work deadlines and juggle all the family responsibilities that Christmas brings. It’s such a special time of the year that we want it to be “just right”, which means planning, planning and more planning.
It doesn’t have to be stressful though. If you follow these brilliant pieces of advice from other mums, you’ll definitely take the headache out of the pre-Christmas period and, you never know, you may actually enjoy it!
We’ll give the first word to Cat at Yellow Days, who recommends taking half an hour to sit down and write up the list to end all lists. “Writing a big list means you don’t have to try and keep all these jobs in your head. I split mine into sections; presents, food, school stuff (for parties, nativities etc) and ‘other’. I feel much better once I can see exactly what I’ve got left to do and cross it off as I go.”
Great advice! Now, for some more…
Emma at Emma and 3 – buy an extra present just in case.
“Have an extra wrapped box of chocoaltes, wine and a toy, ready for those unexpected visitors who turn up with presents. You just never know!”
Sophie at Super Amazing Mum – have a present cupboard with emergency supplies
“Have a few emergency supplies so you can upcycle presents that your kids get duplicates of – that way in an emergency you’ll have presents for Christmas or Kids parties! We’ve had guests downstairs before and I’ve been frantically rooting through the present cupboard – it works a treat.”
Aly at Plus 2.4 – save money and make homemade presents early
“I start making presents for close family in August as it gets too expensive buying everyone presents. I made piccalilli, chutney, jams, Christmas pudding, flavoured oils, preserved oranges, Limoncello, lemon curd, comfits and after eight mints this year.”
Helen at Actually Mummy – choose different wrapping for each child
“I use blue Santa paper for my son and red Santa paper for my daughter. It may be stereotyping but it saves me labelling everything and I can shove it all in the cupboard and forget about it until Christmas Eve.”
Kara at Chelsea Mamma – if you leave Santa a present make sure you use different wrapping
“Don’t wrap Santa’s presents in the same paper as the family ones – I made that mistake one year and got questioned by a three year old!”
Jen at Jenography – have a wrapping box with all your supplies to hand
“I create a wrapping box with several containers of tape, 3 or 4 rolls of paper, loads of ribbons and a couple of pairs of scissors. I can bring it out, do wrapping alone or with kids, then pop it all back in and don’t spend time running around looking for scissors. Also – save ribbons from this year for next!”
Penny at Being Mrs C – wrap a few presents every evening so they’re not all left until Christmas Eve
“I recommend wrapping a few presents every evening so there’s less of a job on Christmas Eve. Also, you’re less likely to run out of wrapping paper once all the shops are shut – guess who learnt from experience on that one!”
- Food and the dreaded food shop:
Jayne at Mums The Word – shop online and use Excel spreadsheets to organise your lists
“I have a spreadsheet for presents, one column for names, one column for ideas and then I change the colour of the idea when I’ve actually bought it, it’s a really good way to see at a glance who you still have to buy for. I also have a spreadsheet for dinner because I’m cooking this year, so it’s a great way to keep track of ideas for side-dishes and what ingredients I need to buy. And I do at least 90% of my shopping online to save the stress of facing the busy shops at this time of year.”
Ruth at Dorky Mum – buy your groceries online to avoid forgetting things
“Using online delivery for all your food can help you avoid forgetting items from your list. We’re getting our turkey and a box of Christmas dinner fruit & veggies from Abel & Cole, and they also do bits and pieces like chicken stock, herbs, duck fat etc.”
Emily at A Mummy Too – start preparing your food early to save time later
“Stick a load of roughly chopped veggies in a roasting tray, add a generous slug of olive oil and some sprigs of rosemary, then bake til soft through and crispy at the edges, stick in the blender with some stock, seasoning and paprika to taste, whiz until smooth, pour into a large tupperware container and freeze. Defrost on Xmas day and warm through – that’s your starter sorted without any faff.”
Tanya at Mummy Barrow – freeze ice cubes of milk so you don’t need to pop to the shop on Christmas Day
“My top tip is to pour a pint of milk into ice cube trays and freeze them. Then if you run out you can still have a cuppa before rushing to the shop. Drop the ice cube of milk into your tea and it just melts.”
Phew! We’re almost starting to relax as we realise we’re nearly there. Good luck surviving the busy few days and here’s to a fantastic Christmas – I think we’ll all have deserved a rest by the time the big day actually arrives.
If you have any tips we haven’t mentioned, feel free to share them with us in the comments section.