16 Top Tips for Preparing a Family Christmas
Christmas is coming whether we like it or not and preparing a family Christmas with 4 kids is no small undertaking. In fact it has become rather akin to a planning military exercise with seemingly endless research and coordination. This is unless I want to be frantically wrapping presents on Christmas Eve whilst clutching a glass of wine and praying to whomever will listen at 3am!! I have tried that option, it was no fun whatsoever and made me want to strangle my husband who was not helping. So now, to avoid divorce, I generally start preparing for Christmas in November ;).
I know that sounds bonkers, but it actually takes the stress out. No last-minute panic when looking for the latest toy fad and no concerns about missing the last postage date – well in theory!!
Preparing for a family Christmas can be stressful, but I hope my tips below will help busy mummies (and daddies) get everything ready without losing their minds. Let’s face it we want to have a good time too so lets try to take the stress out and create time for us to enjoy our family Christmas with the kids.
16 Ways to prepare for your stress free family Christmas
Start preparing Christmas early
I am not talking July or anything, but starting in November is a great idea so you have more time to plan and there will be less panic buying! Also get the gifts sorted quickly as this also helps spread the cost.
In our Family Christmas planner we have included budgeting plans and gift planners so that you can be more conscious of what you are spending and stay on track.
Decide on a budget per person
…and stick to it so that January isn’t totally miserable and try to be sensible. Of course there are always going to be big ticket items that a child may need like a bike, but we have found that not everyone needs a massive gift every year and so our budgets aren’t always equal. We try to roughly get the number of gifts roughly equal, but sometimes one child isn’t looking for such expensive things and we don’t just buy for the sake of spending their budget…
Think about space
When buying toys also think about where they will live after Christmas. If you don’t have room for an enormous Fairy Castle maybe spend time convincing your child that something else would be better
If you can spirit away some of the toys that are no longer played with then do so – make some space, but don’t get caught by the littles!
Forget about Christmas past
when you had only one or even no children. It won’t and can’t be the same and if you try to make it so you will drive yourself mad… Christmas with kids is fantastic, but also chaos and that is ok!
Don’t sweat the small stuff
If your nearest and dearest care that your lounge does not look like an episode of Kirstie’s Homemade Christmas then they are idiots. Idiots are not worth worrying about! The truth is those that love you don’t care what the place looks like as long as they are fed and watered
Do the things you enjoy
I love to bake and cook so I spend time on that. I hate putting up Christmas cards on those display strings so I don’t!
Outsource whatever you can
I mean I draw the line at ready prepared roast potatoes, but Marks and Spencer’s are very heavily involved in our Christmas dinner. That way I can spend my time enjoying being with the family and having a few glasses of bubbly. This is not necessarily the cheapest option, but it’s my present to myself after all it is my holiday too! A family Christmas shouldn’t mean that everyone has fun apart from you and as long as you are sticking to the budget that works for your family then why not…
Start wrapping early
I hide the gifts in our loft so they can’t be found and that also means that I can do a little bit each evening rather than panic wrapping
Shop around and look for discounts
Different toy shops can have really quite different prices. If you are UK based I recommend always checking the Entertainer and Smyths for those sought after toys as they do often have a lower price point.
Perhaps think about doing a secret Santa with the grown ups in the family… We all contribute a set amount for each person and then each write a list. This means we only have one grown up each to buy for which takes out a lot of head scratching over what to get and means that we aren’t being wasteful; purchasing something that will just gather dust
Get those potatoes and root veg peeled and in water the night before
You can do it once the kids are in bed if you have already wrapped the pressies and then come Christmas day there is no debate about who is doing it and there is actually very little left to be done except actually cooking them
Make a plan for Christmas day timings
You don’t have to stick to it rigidly, but if you know roughly when you need to cook that damn bird then everything will be less stressful
If your kids hate turkey don’t bother making them eat it
This year I think we may have beef. I just want a nice dinner so I don’t care if it isn’t traditional
Know that the littles will be beyond excited and plan some time for them just to be allowed to play with their new toys
If any relatives offer to bring something or help take the help!