We all dream of being super organised at Christmas time, but the reality is when you have little kids it’s usually a nightmare inducing stress-fest the week (or days) before. It is possible to avoid this though! Best to pay attention because here’s our four week Christmas plan to creating festive family fun without the chaos.
Santa lists and visit
The first tip is to get the jolly fat man out of the way, fast. If they haven’t already done so, get your kids to write their letters to Santa this week and send them off. To save time do your shopping mall North Pole photo this week too and they can drop their letters in Santa’s post box while they’re there.
Best sort your advent calendar this week so you don’t miss the first day of the month. For an easy option buy a simple chocolate one (all supermarkets and stores have them), or if you’re keen to splurge you can opt for something more expensive like a Lego calendar where they get a toy each day. Another fun option is to make your own calendar – simply buy small trinkets or edible treats, wrap them up and number each one, then tie to a tree branch and hang it up. We’ve found loads of other cool ideas for advent calendars too, so click through if you’re looking for inspiration!
The last thing you want to be doing is writing Christmas cards to distant friends and relatives that will arrive after the festivities have ended! Of course, cards aren’t essential but if you like to do them then knock them off the list early (and this way people can enjoy them for longer). To really save time you could send e-cards, or use an online site to create cards with personalised photos which also handles all the post for you – so no licking envelopes or trips to the post office. And if you’re into handmade, here are 10 easy Christmas cards the kids can make themselves.
You can put up decorations anytime you want, but traditionally the first day of December is the right day to do it. If you already have a fake tree then you’re good to go, a real tree of course requires a bit more effort so make sure you have help on hand to get it in the house. Get the kids involved with popping the ornaments on (no lower branches if you have a toddler!), and don’t forget a wreath for the door, fairy lights, candles, Santa signs for the garden, and any other festive items you like to place around the house. If you’re feeling crafty, you can even make some new decorations with the kids which is a fun and festive activity.
If you haven’t already bought your gifts then it’s time to get cracking! You already know what’s on your little ones’ wish lists after visiting Santa, so start with those presents. Then write a list of everyone in the family that needs gifts, jump online to source the best prices, and either buy then and there or allocate a few hours solo to head out get all the gifts in one go (late night shopping is always a winner – you do not want kids with you for this). And don’t forget to buy paper, gift tags and sticky tape!
Once you have all the gifts, don’t muck around and wrap them up straight away. You will thank yourself later. Hide the Santa ones up high away from little hands, and pop all of the others under the tree – unless you can’t trust your kids not to open them, in which case hide all the presents.
Class and teacher gifts
If you’re keen to get presents for the special people in your parenting village – think daycare teachers, office ladies, mother’s group friends, swim teachers or babysitters – from your little ones then this is the time to do it. There are heaps of easy gift ideas that don’t cost a lot – like these cute reindeer noses. And you might also want to teach the kids a thing or two about gratitude and those less fortunate, by donating gifts to children in need.
There are heaps of things you can buy and store for Christmas Day that aren’t perishable and will save you running around on Christmas Eve. Plan out what you’re going to cook and need and write a list. Start with the obvious items like Christmas crackers and serviettes, and work your way up to other items like biscuits, cranberry sauce, alcohol and tinned goods. It’s also a good idea to get your turkey now (if that’s what you plan on eating) as many places actually run out close to the day. Get as many of the items on your list as you can for Christmas Eve and Boxing Day too (especially if you have visitors at this time also).
Plan what you’re wearing on Christmas Day so that it’s bought, or washed, ironed and ready to go. The same goes for the rest of the family. If you’re planning on wearing funny t-shirts or popping the kids in cute festive outfits, then this is your last chance to get these organised.
Nothing gets people in a festive mood more than some good Christmas tunes! It’s a great way to reduce stress and encourage happy vibes too. So buy a few festive CDs or create a playlist on your phone and crank up the volume! Or simply download Kinderling Kids Radio’s free app and enjoy Christmassy tunes, games, stories and more right throughout the festive season.
Clean the house
Who wants to be washing sheets and vacuuming on Christmas Eve? Nobody! Clean your whole house at the beginning of this week, and maybe even do a bit of a toy cull for the charity shops to clear the decks and get ready for the new toys. And if you have visitors coming to stay get their rooms organised and make the beds – you won’t regret it!
Buy all your remaining perishable items this week. And if there’s anything you can make in advance then hop to it early – ideas include fun biscuits and other treats, Christmas pudding, egg nog, gravy (simply freeze or put in the fridge), pre-cutting veggies the day before and making the stuffing or pavlova. Now things are REALLY beginning to look (and smell!) like Christmas.
The big day
Of course you might be one of those nifty mamas who bought all your gifts on sale back in June and organised your cards in September, but let’s face it most of us don’t have the time so this four week plan is the best you’re going to get. But stick to it and you’re guaranteed to be relaxing while sipping a glass of egg nog and singing carols faster than you can shout ho, ho, ho (just don’t forget to put out some milk and cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve and stuff the stockings). The kids will love the fact that you’re not stressed too, so for once you can ALL enjoy this special festive family holiday. Winner winner, turkey dinner.
What are your tips for creating a stress-free, organised Christmas?