Stress-Free-Christmas-Organiser

How to Have a Stress Free Christmas

The Ultimate Guide to Celebrating Christmas Stress Free

Christmas is the most wonderful time of year, yet is it often the most stressful. And it does have a tendency to sneak upon us. But, what if I told you a stress-free Christmas is possible? And not so hard to achieve!

How many Christmases have you had where you’re running round on the 24th of December, picking up the Brandy sauce you forgot to add on to your never-ending online shop?

Frantically prepping the Christmas dinner at 5.00 am on Christmas morning? Does last-minute wrapping on Christmas Eve ring any bells?

Given there is so much to do, with some simple preparation and organisation, I promise you can have a stress-free Christmas and enjoy the festive season, for once. How amazing does that sound? So, how can you have a stress free Christmas?

Whether you’re hosting or just have a mammoth list of things to organise for the big day, use these stress-free Christmas tips and have your best Christmas yet. 

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How to Make Christmas Stress Free

You may not be thinking about Christmas, but it is on the horizon and that is enough to send your mind into a spin. There’s so much to remember and think about from cards, to decorations, buying gifts and planning the Christmas dinner.

The one not-so-secret tip to make your Christmas stress-free and that is organisation. Sorry, it’s not procrastination unfortunately. Organisation is key!

With some planning and preparation, you can be organised and that will leave you able to enjoy December. Now, doesn’t that sound like the ultimate goal.

Organisation starts with some simple planning and having a schedule. And the best way to prepare for a stress-free Christmas is with an organiser to keep everything in one place. With sections for your Christmas card list, calendar, shopping list, gift ideas and more, we highly recommend buying one! If there is one tip that you take from this post, it is this one. Your planner will quickly become your best friend, and soon you won’t know how you ever lived without it.

Buy our ultimate Christmas organiser which you can immediately download and print. We have thought of everything, and based it on our own Christmas planning – with 76 pages and 10 categories – designed to be printed duplex (double-sided). We may be biased, but this is the only organiser you’ll ever need! Read more about our ultimate holiday planner here.
Ultimate Christmas Organiser - Open for Christmas

Amazon also has some great options. Our tops picks are the Christmas organiser by Rachel Allen, the Cath Kidston organiser, and this fun printed Christmas planner.

Use your organiser but also use time. Start as early as you can with the Christmas shopping. Who cares if you’re buying presents in September? You won’t be the one rushing round in December like a headless chicken with no idea what to buy anyone. It’s a smug feeling.

Also, remember that you can’t do everything, and there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Is there anything you can delegate?

For example, could someone split the shopping between you and you partner? Or, if you have a family, make a day of it and all decorate the tree and the house together. On Christmas day, all prepare a part of the Christmas dinner so it is a joint effort.

Planning for a Stress Free Christmas

Remember that organiser we were talking about? An organiser can help you to track everything on the run up to Christmas. Whether you use an app on your phone, your notes or buy yourself an organiser – the best way is whatever works for you.

Split your organiser into different sections, or lists, and keep them updated at all times. From setting a budget to delivering gifts, there is a lot to remember so use these tips to help plan for your stress-free Christmas.

Access to Resource Library - Open for Christmas

Set your Budget

This is essential. Decide a budget early on, and stick to it. Don’t go digging into your savings, or get yourself into debt for Christmas. By planning for Christmas early on, you can put a little each month towards your Christmas budget. Divide your budget between the months you have until Christmas and save the money that way. Don’t leave it all until your December pay check.

Use last Christmas as a guideline. However, if you want to reign your spending in then don’t be afraid to halve the budget on any presents. Remember, thoughtful and even handmade gifts are often the most well-received and appreciated. It is not about the most expensive gift.

Use this list to think about everything you need to budget for, and be realistic:

  • Wrapping paper, ribbon and gift tags
  • Christmas cards
  • Stocking Fillers
  • Crackers for the table
  • Christmas food & Drinks
  • Christmas Decorations (tree, baubles, tinsel, lights, ornaments)
  • Gifts (family, friends, colleagues, secret Santa)
  • Festive activities

Take advantage of sales and promotional days such as Black Friday – although only buy what you really need, and if it is actually saving you money. Some retailers are known to increase their prices beforehand so it feels like you’ve got a discount.

Check what you already have leftover from last year before you start buying. Do you have any Christmas wrapping paper left you can make use of this year? Any Christmas cards left? Do the same with food, drinks, decorations, lights etc.

Shopping

Use the list above and work out what you can buy in advance to ease the pressure as you get closer to Christmas. Many shops begin to sell items in September, so think about buying wrapping paper, cards and any decorations around this time.

Remember: Whatever you do now, means 1 thing less to do later.

  • Wrapping paper, ribbon and gift tags
  • Christmas cards
  • Stocking Fillers
  • Crackers for the table
  • Christmas food & Drinks
  • Christmas Decorations (tree, baubles, tinsel, lights, ornaments)
  • Gifts (family, friends, colleagues, secret Santa)
  • Festive activities

Buying Gifts

Ask family and friends what will be on their wish list this Christmas. Give yourself a helping hand, and it will be so far in advance it is likely they will forget what they have asked for. However, at least you know they will be happy with their gift.

Think about everyone you need to buy a gift for, and before you go shopping and buy the first thing you find and write down your ideas before you start shopping. Put some thought into it and, that way, you’ll know what you’re looking for.

A Christmas day out shopping with friends is always fun, however save the stress and do the majority of your shopping online if you can.

Compare prices across different websites before you buy, and check delivery dates if you are shopping close to Christmas. Delivery services get ridiculously busy at Christmas and things may take a bit longer than usual to arrive.

Write down what you buy each person, along with how much you have spent and keep track. Once it has arrived, mark this down too so you can follow up if something has not arrived.

Open-for-Christmas-Christmas-Present

Stocking Fillers

Follow the same process as buying gifts. Write down your ideas and stick to a budget. It is so easy to over spend when buying smaller gifts but they add up quickly.

To save time, money and make it easier, try using promotions such as 3 for 2 or buy 2 and get 1 free if buying for multiple people. Also buy a few items from 1 website if you can, rather than 8 different websites. We love Amazon for stocking stuffers, there are so many ideas you can buy at affordable prices.

Ideas for Stocking Fillers for any Age:

  • Games
  • Makeup/Toiletries
  • Sweets & chocolates
  • Pen
  • Tissues
  • Jokes
  • Pack of Cards
  • Compact mirror
  • Personalised items
  • Socks
  • Chocolate coins
  • And of course, an orange

Decorations and Christmas Tree

Of course, you may already have decorations stored away in your loft. In that case, great. No need for any preparations here.

However, if you don’t, start buying your decorations as early as you can. They can be expensive and add up so look out for discounts. Shop around as there are so many retailers selling all kind of decorations and styles, so don’t just buy the first thing you see.

A good quality Christmas tree, real or artificial, can be expensive. Whether you love a real tree, and this is a tradition, again shop around and find a good tree within budget.

Artificial trees are much more sustainable, as long as you keep them for 10+ years, and saves you the hassle of needles dropping and having to dispose of it. However, they can be expensive. It is worth investing in a good tree that will look great in years to come.

My tip would be to buy one in the sale, trees will be half price after Christmas, or even sometimes before on a short promotion. So, keep an eye out. It may be worth buying a real tree this year, and then investing in an artificial tree for the years to come to make it cheaper.

So, decide if you need any decorations, a Christmas tree and schedule this into your organiser. If you need to buy a tree, find a date to buy it. And schedule a day for the family to put the decorations up.

Cards

Cards can be written well in advance, along with buying them. Write a list of who you need to write a card for. A helpful tip if you don’t have a list is to find your cards from the previous year (if you haven’t thrown them away).

Hand cards out from the 1st December as and when you see friends, family and colleagues. People enjoy displaying the cards they’ve received in the run up to Christmas.

Wrapping and Delivering Gifts

Prioritise the presents you wrap. Start with the presents you will hand-deliver or need to take to the post office to be delivered. Work out when you will see last your friends or family before Christmas to give them their gifts.

Find out the last Christmas delivery dates and send any gifts well before this date. Remember, any overseas presents will take a lot longer.

Have all of your presents wrapped a few days before Christmas and put them under the Christmas tree to admire and enjoy.

Calendar

Use your organiser as your Christmas Bible and record everything, checking things off as you’ve completed them.

Schedule dates to see friends, deliver gifts and of course lots of time to spend with family and enjoy the festivities in the run-up to Christmas.

Some ideas for your Christmas calendar:

  • Christmas markets
  • Pantomime or see a show
  • Ice skating
  • Christmas movie
  • Host a Christmas party
  • Visit Santa

For more ideas, have a read of 24 things to do this Christmas and 12 Best & Exciting Christmas Activities For Kids.

Stress-Free-Christmas

How to Have a Stress Free Christmas Dinner

Cooking a Christmas dinner can be overwhelming. Let alone stressful. Knowing what goes in the oven at what time, which recipes to follow, what temperature to keep the oven at. There is so much to remember.

Use these 7 tips to get your Christmas dinner prepared well in advance:

1. Make a Christmas Menu

Deciding what you’re going to cook in advance will help enormously. Choose a starter than came be prepared in advance and select side dishes and veg which are not too difficult. Your Christmas pudding, Yule log or any other desserts can also be prepared in advance to save time.

2. Practise Makes Perfect

With newly found time on your hands, practice any new recipes and give your menu a test-run if you’re not confident in the kitchen.

Stress-Free-Christmas-Christmas-Turkey
Stress-Free-Christmas-Christmas-Turkey

3. Pre-Order Your Turkey

What is Christmas without a Turkey? Pre-order from your local farm or butchers to guarantee your Turkey.

Find out the earliest you can pre-order. You’ll probably be surprised how far in advance you can pre-order. Don’t wait until they’re sold out.

4. Book a Christmas Delivery Slot

Save the stressful shopping experience of running round your local supermarket. Instead, book a slot far in advance and add everything you need onto the order.

Preferably, choose a slot 3-4 days prior to Christmas to give you chance to get any last-minute bits if any items are not available.

5. Prep in Advance

Use your Christmas menu you’ve created, and find out what you can prep beforehand. The veg can all be chopped and ready to cook on Christmas day, start your gravy by chopping onions, prep your Turkey, make your batter mix for the Yorkshires.

Sauces can be made in advance. Is there anything you can prep and freeze? Anything to help save you time.

6. Create a Cooking Schedule for Christmas Day

Cooking for 14 guests on family day is stressful. Write the method and timings for the day to give yourself a plan to follow. And stick to it.

That way, you’ll be able to get everything ready on time without burning the roast potatoes and keep the sprouts from being over-boiled.

7. Set Your Table

Whether you do it on Christmas Eve, or you have it set up as part of your Christmas decorations make sure you set your table before the big day. This is one part of the Christmas dinner you can forget about on Christmas Day.

Have a Stress Free Christmas Day

By using your organiser and sticking to a schedule, you will have very little to do on Christmas Day. So, why not go the extra mile and get even more organised for the big day?

Use these 7 tips as a guide:

  1. Wrap all presents and get them ready under the Christmas tree
  2. Find out how guests are travelling to you, and what time they are arriving
  3. If any guests are staying over, make up beds and get towels out ready for them
  4. Fill the stockings and make any ‘Santa mess’ ready for the morning
  5. Plan your outfit to save time on Christmas morning
  6. Set the table with your best table wear, glasses, foliage and crackers. How about some place settings and a printed menu for an ever-bigger wow-factor?
  7. Prepare your Christmas playlist ready to have on repeat
  8. Put any drinks in the fridge and glasses out ready for guests to help themselves when they arrive, and throughout the day. Prepare any garnishes such as lemon and lime slices and pop into a Tupperware box in the fridge
  9. Get any games/activities/films ready to entertain whilst you are cooking dinner, and for later in the evening

Follow these tips, and the only thing left to do will be to prepare the Christmas dinner and, most importantly, enjoy the day!

Stress-Free-Christmas-Cocktail-Red

How to Start Preparing for Next Year’s Stress Free Christmas

You may call us crazy but, honestly, starting to prepare for next year’s Christmas as early as Boxing Day will not only save you time, but also money.

You won’t be thinking about shopping, but shopping for anything you need such as crackers, decorations and gifts will save you a lot of money in the Christmas sales. Again, only buy what you actually need or you’re not saving any money.

For example, if you’re looking to buy an artificial Christmas tree you can look to get one for half the price when shops are trying to get rid of stock ready for Spring and their next lines. Many items will be at least 50% off, if not more so take advantage of this.

What I suggest buying post-Christmas, for next Christmas:

  • Christmas crackers
  • Any gifts or stocking fillers
  • Christmas cards
  • Christmas decorations and décor
  • Stocking fillers
  • Christmas organiser

Our Final Thoughts on How to Have a Stress Free Christmas

There is a lot to take in but keep this guide and use it each year. Soon, it’ll become a habit and you’ll look forward to Christmas, rather than dread the thought of it.

Hopefully, this has shown you that Christmas can indeed be a stress-free time. Start your preparations as soon as you can, and have an organised Christmas that is completely under control. Well, mostly.

And, with all your organisation and hard-work, don’t forget to treat yourself to an extra glass of mulled wine on Christmas Eve. Whilst you wait for Santa to come down the chimney, of course.

Related Christmas Tips Articles:

How to Have a Stress Free Christmas

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