For me, the end of November starts the Christmas Countdown. Our family gets fully involved in all things festive and I am a fully pledged Christmas freak. I have been working hard over the last few weeks to get ahead with my writing, the housework and I have been getting crafty Christmas wise. Over the next few weeks we will be getting festive and having so much fun. I am very very excited, like always, for Christmas.
As soon as December strikes, we usually have something festive and fun to do each day- it's our Advent Activity Countdown. How do you get your Christmas freak on without the freaking out part? I am a super organised person and find myself getting rather stressed if I don't have things in order. Here are some of my tips on how to prepare for the festive season;
1. Get your mind de-cluttered. I find the worst thing that can happen in the weeks leading up to the festive period is that my head gets really foggy. I get bad brain fog and if I don't deal with it early on it just gets worse and I find myself unorganised, snapping and feeling quite stressed from it all. To de-clutter the brain just helps to free your mind so that you can actually focus on how to get ready for Christmas. I simply write lists or brain mind maps, (You know the ones we learnt at school- they have actually come in quite useful lately) So I write a list of everything; things I still need to buy, things I need to do around the house and anything that needs organising for school. Any appointments or social events are written on the calendar. Once everything is written down a little bit of weight is lifted off of me. If there is any stress left- I chuck it down as a mind map. Then I organise that so I can deal with each point on it- if its a practical problem I find solutions and add them onto my to do list. Once you have your lists and mind maps, your mind is clear and free to focus.
2. Deadlines. Throughout November, I try to set some loose declines; by the 2nd week I usually like to have wrapped up all of the books ready for their book advent calendar. I use the to do list and structure it so that things are in order of what needs doing. I also see some family before others so I like to make sure those are the presents I buy and wrap first.
3. Have a quick house de-clutter. I do a big spring clean 2-3 times a year, depending on how bad things have gotten. I try to time one of them for September- October time so that the house is cleared out for Christmas. We have been so busy this autumn so the spring clean actually lasted a few months. If you don't have time for a big one- just go through room by room and get rid of any unwanted or unused toys. Maybe donate them to charity? You will feel better for doing this now rather than when Santa has done his big delivery and you are struggling to find room to place the new toys.
4. Get the cards and wrap early. I find this the most useful; you can then write and wrap at leisure rather than rushing all in one go. We see some of the family right at the beginning of December so half of the presents need to be done, wrapped and ready to go by then. Although this means pushing myself early to get half completed, it does feel good to be organised. Lately, I have been wrapping a few items a night, or writing a few cards a night. When I leave it to do all in one go the wrapping and writing are usually quite messy and I feel too flustered.
5. Get some festive activities to do. Each year I like to buy a couple of new festive items; this year I have gotten a puzzle each for the boys and also I get a few different crafts in to do at the end of November/ beginning of December. This keeps them busy and gets us all into the festive mood.
6. Have a big tidy up and clean half way through December as the second half is always so busy and full of plans and festivities, it will be the last thing you want to do. Then throughout the rest of the month, you just have to top up as you go along.
7. I usually do the advent countdown to Christmas which is a fun version of a countdown. We do a fun activity every day; be it enjoying a festive drink or watching a Christmas movie with a cup of hot chocolate and marshmallows. For some fun ideas on what to do in December, look at my blog post from last year; Tiny Toes and Big Advent.
8. Check out Pinterest to see if there are any ideas you want to do in December. Usually I look too late and find I don't have the time to do whatever it is. This makes me a little sad as I know it'll be another year until I get a chance of doing it again. Get ideas early on so you have time to plan and complete them. Again, a list would come in really handy here if you need to buy anything in particular.
9. Ingredients. Same principle as above, make sure that you have the recipes for anything you want to bake and cook this festive season- perhaps write another little list of any ingredients you can pick up ready. If you have events to go to in December, figure out when any baking needs to be done and completed by.
10. In the weeks prior to Christmas, buy a few little treats for the family to store in the cupboards for the holidays. If you do it little by little, it won't dent the bank as much. I actually start buying an item or two each time I do my food shopping from September time. This usually means we have plenty to feast on when Christmas comes.
11. Go over your decorations, are any broken? Or were too many broken last year and you need to replace some baubles? It's best to replace all of this early on then popping up the tree and realise you forgot to replace the lights that broke last year.
12. Take time to relax and take it all in. If you're stressed, you will just rush around doing activities and shopping like a robot. This is such a magical time of year, just try to keep calm and enjoy every aspect of it. Even when you're boiling hot wearing the thickest coat in a shop whilst they're blasting the warm air, you're stood in a never ending queue
and you just know what's in the basket will break the bank. It is the most wonderful time of the year, after all!
I'm sure there are many more ways to stay calm and prepare for the festive season, what are your top tips? Pop a comment below, I would love to hear from you. I hope you have found my tips handy and helpful. Some may seem common sense, or ridiculous but they are what helps to keep me running smoothly up to the festive season. Also, please do check out the link on tip 7; my blog post from last year is full of some festive activities that you can do during the Advent countdown to Christmas.
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