How to avoid Christmas stress

Shopping, decorating, going home, wrapping and the thought of relatives are all things that can make the winter holidays stressful.  Here’s a rough Christmas countdown to help figure out how to get everything done in time.

5 Weeks to go…. (Tuesday 20th November)

Step 1: Figure out a budget
– Let’s be realistic girls, we’re students, and spending a fortune is not a good idea.  Work out how much you can afford to spend for the Christmas period, and don’t forget to include things like meals out and outfits for both Christmas and New Years Eve parties.

Step 2: Make a list
– Start thinking about who you need to buy for, and then brainstorm for ideas.  Start with the most important people, like close family, friends and partners, then on to friends you aren’t so close to and relatives you have no idea what to buy.  If you’ve run out of budget for the important people, you need to decide whether to buy less for each person, or for less people overall.
Tip: Start buying presents as soon as you’re feasibly able to, to save on stress later.

Step 3: Going home?
– If you’re going home for the holidays, book your train/plane/bus/lifts as early as possible.  You might also want to think about whether you’ll be celebrating with friends/flat mates before you go, by cooking a meal together, going out or organising a secret santa.

A month to go…. (Tuesday 27th November)

Step 1: Supplies
– Picking up things like wrapping paper, ribbon, gift tags and cards now will avoid the holiday rush and give you more choices.  It also means you can start wrapping as soon as you’ve bought stuff.

Step 2: Check your address book
– Think about how many people you’re giving cards to so you know how many to get.  If you’re posting any, check your address book is up to date.  One other important thing – check the spelling of people’s names, you never know who spells their Lily with one L or two, and who spells their Kayleigh with or without an E.

3 Weeks to go…. (Tuesday 4thDecember)

Step 1: Really hit the shops
– You’ve been picking up gifts as you go along, now it’s really time to get going on the shopping, especially if you need to order anything online.
Tip: If you’re ordering online, think about whether it might be easier to have things delivered to your home address rather than uni if you’ll struggle to carry things home via public transport.

Step 2: Wrap it up
– Whenever you can, wrap what you’ve bought as soon as possible as this will save you worrying later.
Step 3: Going Postal
– Send out any postal Christmas cards & gifts now if you can, although the last recommended date for Royal Mail gives you until the 13th.

2 weeks to go…. (Tuesday 11th December)

Step 1: Decorate
-Make your flat/room look festive to put you in a good mood

Step 2: Cookies?
– If like me, you love to bake (and more importantly, eat) but don’t want to worry about cooking in the few days before you leave for home/right before Christmas itself, why not try researching a few recipes for things you can freeze, such as these lemon glazed cookies, which could be done as soon as you get home and frozen until the day you want them.

1 week to go…. (Tuesday 18th December)

Step 1: Secret Santa
– If you’re doing a secret Santa within your group of friends/flat now would be a good time to swap gifts

Step 2: Festive Glitter
– If you haven’t already found something for yourself while present hunting (we all do it sometimes!) now is a good chance to have a look for outfits etc for Christmas Eve/Day/Boxing Day.  Whether it’s a glitzy dress for a big event, a cute pair of Christmas earrings for Christmas Day lunch or a hideous jumper for the Tacky Jumper party, get shopping!

The Weekend Before (Friday 21st December)

Step 1: For Stationery nerds only…
– If you’re after a new diary, calendar or filofax insert for 2013 and haven’t sorted something out yet, have a hunt now – after all, your Christmas prep is basically finished!  Do it online or in out of town stationery shops such as Staples to avoid everyone who’s doing last minute shopping.

Step 2: Get glam
– Everyone goes a little more glam with their make-up over Christmas, whether it’s with a sparkly nail varnish or a new lipstick.  Feel free to chill out over the weekend watching youtube tutorials or experimenting with looks for the upcoming events.

Step 3: Relax!
– Fill a bubble bath and enjoy with a book, chill out with some trashy tv or have a pamper evening.  Whatever it takes to relax you ready for a fun but hectic few days to come! (and if you happen to be organised enough to think of a few New Year’s Resolutions, good for you!)

Do you have any hints or tips for getting organised for Christmas? Are you miles ahead of this plan or someone who does their shopping on Christmas Eve? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

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