Five steps to a stress-free Christmas

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Advent calendars have hit the shelves, Slade downloads have started, and the John Lewis advert is out. This can only mean one thing - the countdown to Christmas has begun. And, while this gets a big hurrah from us, we know that, for many, this can provoke a cold sweat and a familiar dread. With stockings to fill, crowds to beat, and family to entertain, the most wonderful time of the year can quickly turn sour. So, to keep to Andy William’s word, we have devised five steps to a stress-free Christmas.

 

1. Make a plan

Whatever three glasses of mulled wine might tell you, winging it is just not an option at Christmas. You need a plan, and you need that plan as early as possible. If you’re hosting this year, confirm numbers early, and stick to a traditional menu. Trust us, if pigs in blankets are a no-show, you’ll have an uprising on your hands. And, for those of you travelling elsewhere this Christmas, it will pay (literally) to book early. Doing so will help you to avoid those notoriously high transport costs, and ensure you get a seat. 

 

2. Ask for gift ideas

Remember that year you spent hours looking for the perfect gift for your Dad, just to find out he’s not that into golf anymore? Yep, we’ve all been there. And, years later, we’ve found that same gift stashed in a cupboard, unused and feeling sorry for itself. It’s enough to put you off buying presents altogether. But there is an easy solution. Become your own Santa and ask friends and family to send you a list this Christmas. And, for those who don’t, just give them a voucher.

 

3. Do a decorations check

We don’t mean two weeks before Christmas, we’re talking well in advance. That is, unless you want a half-lit tree and an unhappy angel for the top. Dedicate some time one weekend to brave the roofspace, locate your decorations and do a bit of an itinerary check. We’ve found this works best with a Christmas film on in the background and a mince pie by your side.

 

4. Get shopping 

 Once you’ve got those Christmas lists and you’ve done your decorations check, head to the shops and start buying. To help your financials, take a staggered approach with this – wrapping paper, cards and decorations one week, family gifts the next, friends the week after. If you’re hosting Christmas Day, factor in food too, and make the freezer your best pal. And, if you can’t face a crowded high street, don’t worry, you can also do your shopping online, while curled up on your sofa.

 

5. Ask for help

If, after reading the above, you’re still feeling panicky, we do have one more step up our sleeve. And it’s an easy one if you discard your British modesty – ask for some help. Turn the kids into Santa’s little helpers, ask your siblings to bring a dish along to Christmas dinner, or get your friends round to help you decorate. And, if none of that works, or you want Timpi's help anyway, we are here, ready and waiting, to take some of the load off you, so that you can sit back and enjoy your Christmas.

Dylan Winn-Brown