How to take the stress out of Christmas: my top 7 tips

At this time of year, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed, caught up in the pressure to create the perfect Christmas. There are cards to write, presents to wrap, trees to decorate – so much to do and so little time. Sometimes we need to stop and remember that it’s just one day and Christmas can be magical without stressing about having to make it perfect. Here are some of the things I’ve learned over the years about how to take the stress out of Christmas.

How to take the stress out of Christmas: my top 7 tips

1) What is really important to you and your family?

Maybe the thing that you love most about Christmas is the amazing food, or finding the perfect gift, or just spending time with family. Whatever it is that you love, that’s the main thing to focus on. For me, it’s all about being with my family on Christmas Day. I want to be able to completely focus on time with them, and not spend half the day in the kitchen, and so my next tip makes a huge difference to my stress levels.

 

2) Buy pre-prepared food

Roast potatoes, roast parsnips, pre-chopped veg, ready-made gravy and a turkey crown. It might not be quite as nice as being prepared and cooked from scratch but it’s a lot quicker and easier and can just be popped into the oven with minimum fuss. It means that even hubby (who’s not exactly known for his culinary skills) is able to help with the dinner and frees me up to spend time with the children instead.

 

3) Don’t get bogged down by the to-do list

Write a to-do list but divide it into ‘essential’, ‘desirable’ and ‘if time’ – that way you can sort out what you actually need to focus on without getting feeling overwhelmed by a list of tasks that probably aren’t all necessary anyway.

 

4) Donate to charity instead of sending Christmas cards

Do you really need to send cards to everyone you’ve ever known? Whilst it is lovely to get lots of cards in the post, they all end up in the recycling come January. Cutting down your card list and donating the money you save to charity instead saves a lot of time and also means you’re doing something to help others and the planet.

 

5) Budget wisely and don’t overspend

Christmas might be magical but the huge credit card bill in January definitely is not. I try and put some money aside each month throughout the year to help spread the cost of Christmas, which makes a big difference come December. Making a list of what presents to buy also helps reduce the temptation to overspend. If you’re organised and manage to get it done early, you might also be able to get some items when they’re on offer.

 

6) Don’t try to do it all

There are so many events to attend at this time of year – parties, carol services, switching on of Christmas lights, visits to Santa, visits to family etc. It can feel like every moment of December is accounted for long before December actually starts! Do you really need to go to everything? Focus on the ones that you really need or want to do and free up some space in your diary. Which brings me to my final tip…

 

7) Make time to relax

If you’ve managed to clear some time in your calendar, make sure you earmark some of it for time out. Sit on the sofa and watch a film, snuggle up with the kids and read some stories together, or get an early night. It’s no good getting all those tasks ticked off if you just end up exhausted and frazzled on Christmas morning.

Hope these tips help make the festive season less stressful for you and if you have any others which you find help take the stress out of Christmas, please do share them in the comments below.

The List

29 thoughts on “How to take the stress out of Christmas: my top 7 tips

  1. I can tell by the way you’ve covered every stressful aspect of the Christmas build up that you’re going to have a wonderful relaxing day! Very comprehensive post and heaps of useful tips. I really wish I’d been organised enough to put some money away throughout the year but I’m definitely going to keep that in mind for next year because it’s normally one of my biggest stressors. #coolmumclub

    1. Thanks Robyn – I’m not quite immune to the pre-Christmas stress but I definitely find myself getting less caught up in it these days. Saving the money throughout the year makes such a big difference.

  2. Great tips. We are having a Christmas just the three of us this year so looking forward to having some time as a little family to ensure that we aren’t stressing out too much about one day! #coolmumclub

  3. I have learned to stop stressing at Christmas…..I think as long as the kids have their presents and we have some sort of Christmas dinner we’re happy! Great advice. I buy pre-prepared veg. Life is too short to be chopping and peeling vegetables. lol

    1. Sounds like you’ve got the most important things covered there Kim! Pre-prepared veg makes it all so much easier! 🙂

  4. These are great tips Louise. I always feel sad when I hear people say that they hate this time of year and can’t wait for it to be over. If they took some of your advice and made it less stressful for themselves, they would be able to enjoy some of the magic! #coolmumclub

  5. This is a great list. It is so easy to get stressed out at christmas, I love the idea of splitting the to do list into essential and desirable. Also, getting pre chopped veg/pots sounds quite appealing, more time playing with my toddler and less time in the kitchen!xx #coolmumclub

    1. Thanks Wendy – splitting the to-do list makes a huge difference when I’m feeling overwhelmed by it all. More time to play and less time in the kitchen is definitely the way forward! 🙂

  6. So much planning goes into Christmas, like Birthdays and any other big family event, it’s such a shame when you feel it is over and you didn;t enjoy it as you wanted to! Great advice…I would add…Accept invitations for dinners! And also, don’t go mad visiting others…ear mark at least 50% of each day for yourselves. Sounds simple but when you have a massive extended family everyone wants a piece of each other at Christmas! x Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub

    1. Oh I know that feeling of trying to split yourself across a big extended family! We have a weekend of visiting just before Christmas which helps. Definitely a good tip to earmark 50% of each day as time for yourselves too as well as accepting invitations to dinner 🙂

  7. Great tips Louise.
    It is so easy to get swallowed up with the stresses of Christmas.
    These tips ensure you get the most out of family time, thanks for sharing 🙂 x

  8. Fab tips 🙂 I tend to write lists of everything I have to do – once the things are on paper and not whirling through my head, I feel so much calmer! I have to disagree about pre cooked roasties though, they just aren’t the same lol! #TheList
    Debbie

    1. Pre-cooked roasties definitely aren’t the same and Christmas Day is generally the only time I have them – it just takes a little more pressure off with getting the dinner ready. I know what you mean about how writing down the to-do list helps – it can feel more stressful to have it all whirling about in your head.

  9. Great tips! I love Christmas, but trying to do it all and make it completly perfect can definitely be overwhelming. I do some of these already, but theres definitely some other things I can do that you’ve suggested to make December a little less busy and a little more easier :-). Great post! #CoolMumClub

  10. This is a lovely little list. I definitely need to pay more attention to number 7. I’m always so busy trying to make everything look and run perfect, I forget to just sit and relax! Thanks for the tips! #coolmumclub

    1. No. 7 seems to be the thing that slips off my list easily too! It does make a big difference though when I do manage to take that time out.

  11. Concentrating on what’s important and not trying to do it all are great advice, and often the latter is something the media goads us into. But if you remember what’s important that’s often a good guide for navigating Christmas. Wishing you and yours a good one x #TheList

    1. Thank you Stephanie – I think taking that step back and remembering what is most important does help with resisting the pressure to be perfect. Hope you have a lovely Christmas too 🙂

  12. Great tips. I love the try not to do it all one, this is something I try to do a lot and it stresses me out. I’m trying this year to go with the flow and try not to create what I think it should be. #coolmumclub xx

    1. Trying to do it all is definitely one I’ve struggled with in the past and I’m so much less stressed for letting things go. Hope that going with the flow makes things less stressful for you this year.

    1. Thanks Aby – I’ve left quite a lot to the last minute this year too! Hope the run-up to Christmas won’t be too stressful for you!

  13. Great list Louise! I’m a bit nervous about the precooked thing although that’s quite up my street because roast logistics are too much for me. I’m thinking if I ladle out enough Baileys no one will notice… #TheList

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