Christmas is coming.
It may still be several weeks away but it is coming and now is the time to start getting organised to avoid last minute stresses and rushing around.
If you want to go into the festive period feeling calmer and more on top of things, these 13 tips should help you get organised and save time this Christmas.
1. Get a family calendar
If you already have a big family calendar up on the wall then use that, if not get a special one up for December.
Anything and everything that you need to do, go to or remember goes on that calendar.
As soon as you get the letters home from school about the Christmas concert, non-uniform days, and class parties put the dates on the calendar. While you’re at it add a note with each event as necessary with the things you/your child needs to take along with them.
2. Arrange a childcare swap
If you need to get bits of Christmas shopping done in town, and could do with some peace to do it, then arrange a childcare swap with one of your friends.
Basically, you take care of their children for a few hours one day so they can crack on with their shopping by themselves, and they then return the favour. This is also a great idea for when you need to get other Christmas-related jobs done in peace.
Just imagine, you could wrap a whole pile of presents in front of Love Actually completely undisturbed while your friend watches your children. As long as you make sure to do the same for them to keep things fair!
3. Start shopping early
You can avoid some of the stress of Christmas shopping by getting started with it as soon as possible.
This way you’ll avoid the big crowds and the queues and have more time to find the perfect present for everyone on your list.
You can make the whole experience even less stressful by doing as much of your shopping as possible online. If you’re not already a member then think about getting an Amazon Prime account to get next day delivery on loads of items. There’s normally a free trial period so you can test it out and see if it works for you and your family.
4. Phone ahead
If there are some presents that you can’t get online then you can still save yourself some time by phoning the shops before you head out to make sure they have what you need in stock.
A few phone calls could save you from hours of traipsing from shop to shop looking for the presents you’re after.
5. If in doubt go for a voucher
Some people are just really hard to buy presents for.
For these people you could spend hours searching for a gift that you think they might like, or you could save yourself a lot of time and just get them a gift voucher.
It might not feel as personal as you’d like, but pretty much everyone is happy to receive one and then get to choose something they’d actually really like.
You can save yourself even more time by ordering gift vouchers online. A good safe option is an Amazon gift card as there is something for everyone on there.
6. Pick up some extra presents
While you’re doing your shopping thing about picking up a few extra presents to put aside for those people who unexpectedly get you something.
A few boxes of chocolates and bottles of wine are always good options, and are also handy to take along to any parties you might be invited to.
7. Do your food shopping online
Instead of battling the crowded aisles of the supermarket (after spending ages looking for a parking space) do your big food shop online.
Try and book your slot as early as possible and then you can keep adding items to your basket as you think of them up until the day before your delivery slot.
8. Sort out presents for teachers
If you have school-age children then you’ll know how tricky it can be to sort out presents for their teachers and classroom assistants.
As tempting as it might be to buy a ‘world’s best teacher’ mug, I have a better option for you.
Make a batch of something really easy but really tasty, like some chocolate bark or truffles, package them up nicely and give some to each teacher and assistant. You’ll have everyone sorted with something they’ll love in no time at all.
9. Pick up stamps
Stock up on stamps next time you’re in town.
You don’t have to go to the post office to get them, you can a book of stamps from most supermarkets while you’re doing your weekly food shop.
Then when it comes to sending out your Christmas cards you won’t have to do an extra trip to the post office.
10. Knock out those Christmas cards
Get your list of everyone you want to send a card to and your address book. Then go through and address all the envelopes first, instead of writing the cards and the envelopes one by one.
To make life even easier for yourself next year you can type up all your addresses and make labels that you can just print and stick on the envelopes.
11. Check your batteries
To save any frustration or disappointment over Christmas stock up on AA and AAA batteries in advance.
Make sure your camera batteries are charged too, and that you have enough space on your memory card for all the photos you’ll want to take.
12. Organise your wrapping
When you stock up on wrapping paper think about getting a different design for each member of the family.
This makes wrapping presents for stockings in particular much easier. You won’t be worried about working out which presents need to go in which stocking once you’ve wrapped them all.
If you carry on using the same paper for the presents under the tree you can save time by skipping the gift tags. Just tell your family that their presents will be wrapped in the same paper as their stocking presents.
13. Keep on top of your thank you notes
Have a piece of paper or your phone handy on Christmas day as presents are being opened so that you can note down who was given what by whom.
It might not be the most fun job in the world but will make things so much easier when it comes to writing thank you letters.
Hopefully these tips will help you get organised and save a fair bit of time this Christmas, so you can go into the festive season feeling full of cheer rather than stress.
Do you have any other tips or advice to help get organised for Christmas?
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