Welcome to the silly season. Does this time of year fill you with excitement or dread? Do you find yourself worrying about exactly the same things as last Christmas, and the Christmas before that?
In this blog post, we want to help you to plan for the holiday season, especially if Christmas is a stressful time for you - We even include some great inexpensive gift ideas that suit every budget!
Why Christmas planning is essential
Christmas is arguably the biggest holiday of the year for most; it can also be one of the most stressful and uncertain - This is because there is so much to do in so little time.
Your basic Christmas checklist might look a little something like this:
- Buy gifts
- Set up tree
- Finalise travel plans
- Decide on menu for Christmas Day
- Get kids to send ‘Santa Letters’
The list can go on and on and soon you’ve got a list of 101 things to do with only a month to complete them, in between your already busy lifestyle.
This is where planning becomes essential. When you’re organised and plan ahead, you can join in on the festive celebrations too!
The truth is, we spend far too many hours obsessing and losing sleep over things that can be easily fixed - food and gift expenses, expectations of others, even wrapping paper and gift tags can become a stressful ordeal!
A good place to start is getting out your budget planner and using this as a starting point, as the majority of the stress can stem from worrying about money! If you don’t have one, treat yourself to an early Christmas gift. Writing down and seeing your budget on paper really does help.
Where to start
- Give yourself enough time to plan ahead - If Christmas is an especially busy time for you, begin planning 6 or 12 months ahead - things such as gifts and guest lists can be prepared far in advance!
Keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings during the season - it’s important to recognise how you feel now so that next year you can revisit these journal entries, acknowledge the areas that are going to affect you, and then brainstorm ways you can avoid repeating the situation.
Set aside time to work through and agree on a budget [and then stick to it!] - Christmas only comes around one day a year, but you shouldn’t feel like you need to dip into your hard earned savings to enjoy Christmas - Ensure you’re still going to be able to afford the cost of living come the new year! If you know you struggle to plan out and stick to a budget - get yourself a budget planner. (Tip: These also make wonderful Christmas gifts!)
Prioritise your to-do list - As much as we all wish we could put our feet up on December 24th and enjoy time with our loved ones, the reality is that some of us are racing around shopping centres - Prioritise what’s important and leave the things that you can do without down the bottom of the list, so that if you don’t get to it, it’s not the end of the world.
- Find bargains for Christmas in plain sight - in the lead up to Christmas there are some amazing sales available, from Black Friday to Cyber Monday to AfterPay sales, these are the best time to take advantage of discounts for gifts.
In addition, from December 26th most Christmas items [think gifts for next year, decorations, lights, cards, wrapping paper] go on sale in many stores and there are also specialty Christmas stores that operate all year round - do your research and know what it is that you’re after, then you can shop around and hunt for the best deal!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed this year, remember that there’s always next year - Christmas is not defined by the gifts under the tree or how extravagant your Christmas lunch is, it is defined by the people you spend it with.
But if you’re unsure of where to start, here are some thoughtful gift ideas:
- Hand-made artwork
- Words of affirmation - Anything from a handwritten letter, to a ‘reasons why I love you’ themed book
- Personalised stationery
- Photo frame or collage
- A family heirloom or a sentimental item, such as an old book, recipe or clothing garment
- A wellness bundle - coffee sachets, a pair of slippers, a bath bomb etc
- Environmentally friendly items, such as a keep cup, metal drinking straws or bamboo cutlery takeaway set
- Practical items such as socks, underwear, kitchen utensils or a voucher for groceries
- Indoor plant