Make Christmas more manageable with 88 most brilliant Christmas tips and tricks that will lessen your stress, avoid unwanted crisis and help you organize your busy festive season this year. From kitchen tips all the way to managing your well being and finances, we’ve got you covered!
Source via @asarye.creates
#1. Plan early, the best way is to plan for things to do. Try planning 6 weeks prior to Christmas so you have enough time to come up with Plan B if things don’t go your way.
#2. Through your planning, review your to-do lists a few times. See if there are ways to delegate/outsource some of these tasks. You can start by delegating tasks to other family members, to your kids, your spouse or even to others for a small fee.
#3 Prioritize your list. The most magical Christmas ,ideally will be one where everything goes as well as what’s planned. Make sure your list allows for plan B. There should be things that are a ‘non-negotiable must have ‘ and things that are ‘great to have, but not the end of the world if it doesn’t happen’
#4. Utilize free event/party planning apps to help you with Christmas planning. Apps such as Event Planner, and EventAssist are great at helping you plan and organize Christmas seamlessly. These apps plan the budget and the list of guests, send invitations, plan seating arrangements, make to-do lists and shopping lists, delegate individual tasks to others, track progress and much more. It’s literally like having a PA at your finger tips!
#5. Feeling overwhelmed, lack creativity or just too busy to envision your Christmas this year ? Pinterest is your friend. Millions of recipes, decorating ideas and inspirations you can simply pin and save for references. Download the app on your phone and whenever you get time to browse on your phone, just scroll through the pins and keep the ones that tickle your fancy!
#6. Once your plan is ready, get your girlfriend to read it. This way they might be able to point out things you may have forgotten, or better ways to do things. I find then I get my girlfriends to read it, they always comes with pure gold tips and hacks to make the tasks easier.
#7. Create a menu; especially if you are responsible Christmas events that goes from Christmas Eve, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Also, it helps if you also plan on what you can do with the leftovers. Yes! this way you can actually spend the days after Christmas resting and doing as little cooking as possible.
#8. Start organizing your refrigerator/freezer by tossing out old items and unwanted items, this will help make room for every ingredients and dish you need to store for your parties. To remove unwanted odor in your fridge leading up to Christmas, keep an open box of baking soda in the fridge.
#9. Before you shop for decorations, wrapping stationery and what not, take some time to go through those piles of wrapping paper, decorations, lights and cards to see what you have on hand. Test the lights. This way you can make a list of things that you need to buy or replace.
#10. Live in a cold or snowy climate? Start arranging and putting up outdoor lights in early November. So all you have to do is turn them on in December.
#11. Keep things neat and organised . Coil strings of lights around empty paper towel tube, wrapping paper tubes or an A4 sized cardboard. This way you won’t need to wrestle with tangled rigid strings when you need to use it next.
Source via Martha Stewart
#12. So the holiday season is over and you are gearing towards putting everything away. Before you pack everything away, go through your things and reconsider whether you going to continue using it for next year or if it is best to donate so they don’t build up over time. (also, less stuff to go through the next year)
#13. Are you planning to go away this Christmas? Bought tickets and sorted out hotels all good? Great, now the next important thing to do is to make sure you make boarding arrangement for your pets and to cancel any subscriptions to your home during the time you are away. Oh yes, make sure your security system works too!
#14. By all means, let your kids help you! imagine them as cute little elves helping you with the decorations and DIY projects
#15You’ve heard this before thousands of times – work out a rough budget of expected Christmas costs as early as possible. But remember, this doesn’t just mean presents – include expenses such as food, gifts, little getaway, eating out, entertainment, decorations and other daily essentials.
#16 Alcohol is a must this holiday season but can easily bump up your Christmas budget. Plan ahead and look for discounted cases and specials. Look online for deals, there’s some unbelievable bargains out there.
#17 Have lots of people to give gifts to ? if secret Santa is not your thing, set dollar limits on all your gifts.
#18 Avoid wasting money by doubling up on grocery. Before you even begin planning your Christmas meal, do an audit of what you have available in your pantry. Work out what you already have that can be put to good use for your meal plan.
#19 If cheese boards are part of your Christmas menu, consider buying your cheese from the deli counter or from the farmers market. Pre-wrapped cheese can be much more expensive
Source via @dailyprism
#20 One of the main reasons for a budget blowout at Christmas is panic buying. Remember, the supermarkets are only actually closed for a couple of days. Try not to fall into the trap of massively over-spending on things you don’t really need. The trick is to utilize your left over prepared foods and ingredients into something different , that can be eaten for days after Christmas.
#21 Spend less on meat by utilising your slow cooker / pressure cooker. Use budget cut meat as they turn into a fantastic meal when cooked using the slow/pressure cooker.
#22 Have a pre-Christmas cleanup, things you may no longer need you can either sell online or swap for other things. This way, not only you can earn some extra cash, you might also find Christmas presents for your loved ones
#23 Start thinking of gift ideas now. The sooner you know what you want to buy for everyone, the sooner you can start looking for the best deal!
#24 You can’t stick to a budget if you don’t know where all the money that’s magically disappearing out of your wallet is going. Use app such as Mint as your finance tracking tool this holiday season.
#25. Resist the urge to treat yourself – there’s a good chance the item you want will still be available in the New Year when your finances are better able to handle the purchase.
#26. While budgeting and spending within your means are ideal, but sometimes it does not work out that way and some will borrow, for this holiday season. If you do, make sure to shop for credit card with 0% interest rates, low card fees and longer repayment period.
#27. Buying pressies online is great, prices are cheap and competitive. But make sure you have enough time put aside for them to arrive via standard post. Last minute shipping could incur hefty express shipping fees.
Source via @cakes&co
#28. One of the best ways to save money is by making or baking gifts. You cannot go wrong with giving out buttery shortbread nice wrapped in a jar or beautiful box – everybody loves them! I am not very good at DIY crafts but baking remains to be one of my favorite gifts to give. It only takes me a few hours to yield Christmas gifts for 85% people in my gift list! Plus, I get to buy the packaging /ingredients items in bulk which saves me heaps of money.
#29. Spend some time to find recipes that are easy to make and using ssimpleingredients. Simplify recipes if possible; this is especially if you insist on making everything from scratch.
#30. Buy non-perishable food items in advance as the supermarkets are very busy on Christmas Eve. This way you can spend less time with the crowd and more time at home with the family. Even better, do all your shopping online to avoid the hassle and the crowd.
#31. Figure out your cooking strategy, based on the amount of crowd you are expecting. If you are cooking for a large crowd, you may want to consider a buffet style menu. Also, you may want to outsource several dishes to catering companies such as cold meat platter or desserts.
#32. Don’t over complicate your cooking; Choose 1 or 2 types of main dish with 2 to 3 sides. No one really has the stomach to eat any more than that. Focus your energy on perfecting these few dishes – rather than making many mediocre tasting/looking dishes that no one would enjoy.
#33. Create cute snow and pine trees by dusting cakes, pies, puddings and desserts with icing sugar for instant snow and add straight sprigs of rosemary to resemble pine trees.
#34. Make your stuffing ahead of time and freeze it until you need it on the big day.
#35. Would you like nice, moist juicy Turkey for Christmas without freaking out or checking on the meat every 10 minutes ? Wrapping your turkey with bacon protects the meat from drying out; plus you get plenty of nice crispy bacon.
#36. Don’t freak out about finding the perfect X-mas desserts. The main thing is this, make any desserts you heart desire, make them Christmasie by garnishing it with crushed candy cane and raspberries. Nothing spells Christmas like minty candy canes and raspberries!
#37. The slow cooker is truly your friend in these situations make foods like gravy, roast potatoes, and mash potatoes a few days in advance. A few hours before serving, store them in a slow cooker set at a low heat, which will keep them warm and ready to serve, while freeing up the stove top for all the other things you’ll have on the go.
#38. The same can also be done for drinks. Use the slow cooker to keep drinks such as hot chocolate and mulled wine warm. This would be handful especially when entertaining a large crowd.
#39. Save time this Christmas when serving dishes using attractive oven-to-table cookware, like stoneware, enamelware or vintage Pyrex. Not only will this save you a few steps when serving, but there will also be fewer dishes to clean up!
#40. If you are cooking 3 to 4 meals in a span of one to two days, make most of the meals a day or a few days in advance. For instance, make breakfast and lunch a day in advance so on that day you only worry about sorting out dinner.
#41. Get everyone involved! Christmas is about family, so delegate different components of the festive feast to different family members. Not only does it bring everyone together, more often than not it means more people showing off their culinary prowess.
#42. Measure your oven and your biggest roasting dish before going shopping/ordering your meat. The last thing you want to happen is having too big a meat and too small an oven.
#43. Try not to truss the turkey; keep the legs loose and hanging free. The leg bones conduct the heat through the thighs, which take more cooking than the breast meat. If you truss it, by the time the legs are cooked, the breast meat will be dry.
#44. Don’t feel that everything has to be homemade. Running up to Christmas, keep an eye on your supermarket best buys. Purchase items you’re not confident making or anything that is going to lighten your workload. This way, you can give the main offering your undivided attention. Some of the things I tend to buy from the shops to make my workload lighter are; sponge cakes/butter cakes, custard, mince fruit, soups and condiments
#45. The key to making these store-bought items ‘yours’ is how its pimped up! Add croutons, a sprinkling of fresh herbs or a dash or cream or beautiful buttercream. Even something as simple as a squeeze of lemon or lime juice in the dish will really lift the flavor.
#46. Jazz up the sprouts! Boiled brussels sprouts are boring. Saute them with some lardons or chorizo or a spoonful of cranberry relish for extra flavor. Other variations include; toss the sprouts in butter with chopped herbs, such as chives and parsley or roasted with crispy bacon, fried walnuts, and tangy balsamic vinegar. Don’t overcook sprouts. If serving the brussels sprout whole, slash an ‘X’ onto the crown of the sprout to ensure they are cooked through.
#47. Your butcher is your mate! When buying meat, ask your butcher to do all the meat prep work with your bird/meat for you so all you need to do is roll it out, marinate and chuck it in the oven.
#48. Do not leave until the last minute to defrost your food. Make sure you have ample time. A larger bird may take up to 3 days to defrost.
#49. If you are struggling with oven space, consider barbecuing your meat. Have your barbecue shoulder chops, pork cutlets and pork loin. Beef cuts such as rib fillet, porterhouse rump and t-bone are also great on a barbecue grill.
#50. Never worry about having everything ready at the same time, the meat can come out and happily rest on the side whilst the vegetables are cooking.
#51. Use cake mix to make Christmas cookies! Not only do they taste amazing, but they are also super simple to make and don’t require many ingredients! Making them is essentially a no-fuss, fantastic treat. To keep with the Christmas theme, add dried fruits, allspice, choc chips and decorate with crushed candy cane and icing powder.
#52. Also make what you have go further with mixed drinks such as summery punches and sangria or mulled wine.
Source via @icelandfoods
#53. Buy a cheap jar of mincemeat and spruce it up with some freshly grated orange zest, some chopped almonds and an optional dash of brandy. You can stir in a few extra spices such as ground cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger, or a handful of dried cranberries or prunes, or whatever else you might have lurking in your cupboards. Use to fill your own mince pies, which will be much cheaper and far better than shop-bought.
#54. Choose cookies and baked goods you can make ahead of time and freeze before Christmas day. Gingerbread cookies is a good one for this exercise. All you need to do is take them out a day or two before to thaw saving you the stress of rushed last-minute baking.
#55. Is your place the ‘goes without saying’ place for Christmas parties every year ? Mine does – for every.single.damn.event! and that one word that has saved me from many many Christmas meltdown ? POTLUCK…
#56. Save time by requesting for free gift wrapping service (for the products you have purchased). If this is not possible, be on the lookout for any small business or charity organisation that would take on gift wrapping services for a small fees. This would certainly take the stress away from having to make them look perfect.
#57. If the above is not an option , why not host a gift wrapping party ? Divvy up responsibility for supplies—ribbon, paper, decorative bags, bows, tags, scissors, and tape evenly. This way no one is shelling out for everything. Participants bring their own unwrapped presents. Set out the supplies, cue the festive music, and have everyone work together to get the job done! Such fun!
#58. If you insist on doing it yourself, be sure to stock up on gift wrapping supplies. The best time to actually buy these items are after Christmas when it cost next to nothing.
#59. If you have the money to spare but not the time, just go for the gold old gift bag.
#60. Spend some time with your kids this holiday season by making DIY gift tags. Use utensils you already have at home such as cookie cutters and ribbons to make cute personalized holiday gift tags
Source via @halfbakedharvest
#61. If you are hosting a lot of people several times over the course of holidays, I avoid the gift giving head-mess by giving everybody one type of gift only. A goodie bag! I would get 3 to 5 best and merriest Christmas goodies and treats and place them in a paper bag, pretty box or cute little basket. I would then buy these items in bulk and customize it . These goodie bags are given to the guest (I do one goodie bag per family, saves money this way!) as a thank you/parting gifts.
#62. Okay, so the concept of re-gifting might be a little taboo to some. But it is a great way to save money. minimize junk and give these items you don’t use to someone who might. Of course, when re-gifting, you have to be a little tactful. Make sure you know who you got the gifts from and not to re-gift it back to that person who gifted you with the item to start off with! Also, avoid re-gifting to the same crowd. For example, if you receive a bottle of wine from work and you are more of a beer person, it is OK to re-gift that gift to, let say, your wine – loving – I – wont-say- NO – to- any -booze – cousin.
#63. If the idea of re-gifting freaks you out too much. How about organizing these unused gifts 6 to 10 weeks before Christmas and start selling them on Craigslist, Gumtree or hold a garage sale every weekend leading up to Christmas ? No only you get rid of the mess in preparation for Christmas, you also make a little bit of that extra money that will certainly help at this time of the year!
#64. Instead of wrecking your brain guessing whether you are getting the right gift, why not ask your gift recipients to send you a wish list that you can buy from. It saves time, effort, and avoid returns, yet still preserves an element of surprise.
#65. Presents don’t always have to cost money – you can also give of your time or experience. Whatever matches your skill set and the time you have available. For example, offer to baby sit / give massages / service a car .
#66. How about those unexpected gifts you sometimes get ? If you are anything like me, I have to reciprocate. Gratitude is simply not good enough. So, to accommodate this when it does occur, I always buy extra gifts. But the rule of thumb is, the gifts should also be quite generic – something I can use if I don’t give all of it away. Some of great generic style gifts I have had in the past includes, nice bottles of wine, gift cards and beautiful scented candles. This also works well when you forgot someone!
#67. How about skipping the bulk of home decor this year and use that beautifully wrapped presents as your home decor ? Why let that go to waste right ? Line your staircase, fireplace and living room with presents in various fun patterns for a simple but chic decor idea.
#68. Have a plain napkin ring and don’t really want to spend money and time buying a new one ? That’s fine – decorate your napkin ring with a simple sprig of pine, clementine, cloves and pretty ribbons for a natural /green noel theme
#69. You cannot go wrong with lights to give your home a bit of magical touch. Wrap it around your staircase, the middle of your dining room, mantle pieces and bookshelves to give it the ‘floaty’ effect.
#70. Speaking of lights, for warm Christmas decorations, line up beautiful paper luminaries along your front walkway, driveway, or scatter them on your porch for a bright, twinkling Christmas display. This is such a simple and affordable way to pull off Christmas decor.
#71. If you are into DIY decorations, why not turn pine cones into pretty Christmas decorations? dip them in gold paint and glitter for a sparkling effect. Place on side tables or use to fill baskets and bowls.
Source via @margriethoekstra_photography
#72. Live in a small apartment? Just because you live in a small space, it doesn’t mean you could not have amazing, glorious Christmas decorations. Utilize your walls and your ceiling to add strokes of merriment. Hang gorgeous lights around your doorway and create a suspended Christmas tree on the wall or on top of your coffee table. We promise you Christmas will still be nothing short of magical
#73. Another decorating ideas without taking up too many spaces is by decorating your dining chairs. Use leftover fabrics, feathers, and ribbons to turn an everyday furniture into Christmas wow!
#74. Don’t put away the Christmas cards you get, simply hang them on a wall using gold, silver or colored miniature clothes pegs and a matching line.
#75. Don’t forget about your outdoor areas in your Christmas decorating. Decorate your outdoor spaces with wreaths, candles, large cozy cushions, and large glowing orbs to draw your guests outside. This understated yet festive outdoor space is perfect to create your own mini outdoor wonderland. Nothing makes your guests go ‘ooh! ahhh!” like great romantic – flowing lights and candles.
#76. With summer producing amazing produce in Australia, it is a great time to incorporate fruits as part of your Christmas decor! Simply use a glass vase to create a festive, fruity arrangement by filling the jar with layers of limes, mangoes, grapes, apricots, pineapples, peaches and beautiful cherries and top off your arrangement with stems of seasonal greenery.
Emotions & Relationships
#77. Group gatherings that are involved in after-meal activities are less likely to get into arguments. Plan for activities to do after eating to keep the holiday spirit up.
#78. Relax and breathe to release any stress and tension. Focus on what needs to be done.
#79. Easier said than done, but be kind to your body. Try to drink and get as much sleep as possible so you are well rested and hydrated
#80. Give the group shit-stirrer/trouble maker a task. That will keep them busy and out of everyone’s hair.
#81. Stay in the moment, don’t let your need to control everything overwhelms you. Accept that things could go wrong and if it does, it’s okay.
#82. Christmas this year for you might be away from the family or loved ones this year for various reasons. Please remember that it’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings.Plus, you can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.
#83. Christmas can be a lonely time for some people ; seek out community, religious or other social events so you can surround yourself with a community. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
#84. Don’t be afraid to ask for, or accept, help from people who are most supportive and caring toward you.
#85. Christmas pressure could sometime get to you to the stage where you start to abandon your healthy habits and over indulge. This will only make you more stress and guilty — vicious cycle isn’t it? Don’t forget to put sometime away to exercise and where possible, stick to healthy choices.
#86. Put some time away to yourself – even just a few minutes. Away from the hustle and bustle so you can refocus and regroup. Take a few moment to breathe, clear your mind , look at something that makes you laugh or reassure yourself that you can do this. Its the best prep you could have before going back and joining the rest of the world
#87. Remember, it is not a competition. Look, sometime you can help but to compare yourself with others. If that lady in your mom group has her home decorated like one of those posh homes you see on Pinterest, be happy for her! But you don’t have to compete with that. Do what you can and do it well. If you try to put too much pressure on yourself, you will crash and burn.
#88. Keep your expectations real and achievable. Tone down your perfectionist. Instead of putting pressure on yourself to create the perfect Christmas, ultimately, people remember having a great time with each other rather than how the napkin ring matches the table cover. Spend your time making a connection with people and create actual memories rather than a ‘blur’ – after all, it is your Christmas too!