It’s not hard to feel stressed in the run-up to Christmas, especially if you are a full-time mum. There’s presents to buy, decorations to organise, food to prepare — and that’s just the half of it.
In fact, it’s been found that the average mum will have spent around 51 hours preparing for the festive season by the time Christmas Day rolls around, according to a study commissioned by Red Tractor. This time includes 13 hours spent researching, buying, and wrapping gifts, as well as 15 hours planning and making dinner.
Looking at these numbers, it’s easy to see why we mums might wish for a more low-key Christmas every once in a while. However, it is possible to plan some stress-free family festivities if you make some executive decisions in the run-up to the big day.
To help you out, we’ve put together some top tips for having an easier Christmas this year. Read on to find out more.
Get your decorations up earlier and plan ahead
Decorating your home is one job that has the potential to become stressful if you leave it too late. Should you leave buying and putting up your Christmas decorations until the last minute, you face a needless visit to the shops and a rush to transform your home into a winter wonderland. Don’t leave decorating until the last minute, when it can clash with other essential tasks.
It’s perfectly acceptable to get your decorations up in late November or early December. Take advantage of this fact and allow yourself some breathing space later on in the month. Also, by doing any essential shopping for trees, lights, and tinsel sooner, the shops will be quieter and less stressful.
You can reduce anxiety around decoration shopping further by knowing what you need to buy before you set out. You can use Wyevale Garden Centre’s tree decoration calculator to pin-point precisely how many baubles, lights, and tinsel you need to pick up, too.
Scale down your Christmas card list
Even if you are the most festive person, writing out Christmas cards can quickly become a chore when your wrist starts to cramp up and you realise you’re only halfway down your list. What’s more, over 1 million cards are thrown away after Christmas is over, according to these stats from Edie.net, making the whole task seem a little pointless.
Now, we aren’t saying you should stop sending cards completely but, by scaling your list down to your close friends and family, you can save a lot of stress and hassle (as well as the environment). Instead, you could try sending out an e-card to more distant loved ones, as they take less time to write and send — the Balance has a great round-up of the best ones available. Alternatively, you could arrange a family video call to your friends and family to let them know you’re thinking of them.
Ask for help!
While the best festive moment is seeing your kids’ excited faces on Christmas morning, mums often need a break from their endless enthusiasm in the run-up to the big day. Sometimes you need some time to unwind, or maybe you want a few hours to do some grown-up festive shopping — whatever your reason, a little time away can work wonders for your stress levels.
With this in mind, don’t be afraid to call in a few babysitting favours from your friends or family if you need some breathing space.
Grandparents, godparents, and aunts and uncles are often more than happy to take the kids for a few hours, especially if there is a festive film or fun activity they can enjoy together. Use the time to do whatever you need to do so you don’t overburden yourself.
Take the dog for a quick walk before the guests arrive
If you own a dog, you’ll know that they can get pretty excited when you have a few guests around. While most of your close friends and family are probably used to your furry friend, extended family or new additions to your friendship circle might not be so keen.
You can remove any of the stress on both you and your dog by tiring them out before people arrive
To make sure that you tire them out, take a nice, long walk before anyone is due at your home. Not only is this beneficial for the dog, but it’s a lovely, healthy way to spend some time together as a family before you see everyone else.
The National Trust has a list of their best winter walks that is well worth a look, as these routes are a bit more special than just a jaunt around the block.
Take our advice on board and you are sure to be much less stressed this Christmas time.
Then, all that’s left is to settle down and enjoy your festive season together as a family.