Every year it seems Christmas sneaks up on us. But Christmas doesn’t have to be stressful, there are some very easy steps you can take to get ready early.

Imagine actually enjoying Christmas and leaving the stress behind! This is possible and not hard to accomplish if you plan ahead.

Christmas is a wonderful time of year. However, that Christmas joy can easily be replaced by stress. That definitely puts a damper on any festive mood, to say the least.

There is a better way and with some key planning tips you can ensure you will be ready for Christmas early. More importantly you can have an amazing, stress-free Christmas with some simple, practical tips and some smart planning. Focusing on some key areas that are likely to be sources of stress will definitely help reduce the chaos that seems ever-present during the holidays. The tips that follow will all but guarantee you will actually be able to enjoy Christmas.

Here are my best tips and tricks for not only surviving Christmas, but thriving:

  1. Organise a gift list for everyone you need to give a gift to.
  • Research online for ideas and the best prices. You can then buy online or head to the shops knowing what you are buying and where.
  • Stick to your budget
  • Check off as you buy so there are no double ups
  • Wrap and put in a “safe” place
  1. Decide on your colour scheme or theme.
  • Research online for ideas and best prices. You can then buy online or head to the shops armed with a plan.
  • Table décor can be expensive so think of how you can use what you have at home or if buying things make sure you can use them throughout the year.
  • Use real plants that can be planted in the garden.
  • Upcycle and get creative.
  • If you have children get them to be crafty and make decorations, cards and wrapping paper.
  1. Do a “Christmas” Calendar with dates of when you will be doing everything. Start in November so there is less to do on Christmas day.
  2. Start preparing Christmas dinner in advance.
  • Traditionally Christmas pudding was made on Stir Up Sunday, the Sunday before advent started. This year it falls on 22 November. 
  • Make your fruit mince at the beginning of December and store in the fridge so the flavours can develop. 
  • Make your own cranberry sauce and freeze ready for Christmas. Take it out of the freezer the day before and place in the fridge to defrost. Then warm through before serving. 
  • Make your Christmas cake. The earlier you make your cake the more the flavour can develop. Remember to feed your cake every two weeks with 2 tablespoons of alcohol, fruit juice or tea if you prefer.
  • Bake your Christmas treats. Gingerbread, shortbread and other baked items can be made ahead and placed in the freezer until required.
  • Make gravy ahead and freeze. When you reheat stir through the pan juices from the turkey. 
  • Make your stuffing and store in the freezer. Defrost in the fridge overnight.
  • Freeze your roast potatoes ahead and then roast to crisp up with the turkey.
  • Make relishes, marinades and dressings and store in the fridge. 

By starting as early as possible (when my kids were young I would buy all the gifts at the June/July sales and put on layby to be collected Christmas Eve) and ensuring you have planned ahead, Christmas day will be a day you can relax, mingle with your family and be festive.