There’s so much to think about at Christmas – from gifts, to decorations, food, relatives…the preparation can seem endless. Yet it’s not all bad, as despite the stress and seemingly impossible expectations to live up to, Christmas is actually a perfect opportunity to pick up some serious points…with bosses, family, friends…and of course your Instagram followers.
Here are our top steps for doing the whole of Christmas holiday like a boss, leaving you more time to go out and party afterwards.
1. Simplify the Shopping
Let’s face it, sometimes we make Christmas shopping way too hard on ourselves. When you strip it down, it basically comes down to the following:
- Make a list of everyone you need to buy for and ideas for what to get them. Make a note of their hobbies, favourite brands etc and things they might need.
- Ask your loved ones if they have wishlists, and if not, ask them if they’d like to make one. (This can make life considerably easier).
- Research when certain brands are running sales. As Christmas gets close, you’ll find many product and item prices get slashed.
- Do as much of your shopping online as possible for ease (being sure to check delivery times). When you need to visit the high street, group your presents by store so you can do as much as possible in less time.
Budgeting is often something that’s forgotten at Christmas but will make life so much easier later on. You’ll want to make sure you have enough spend left over for going out and enjoying yourself (the early payday definitely helps).
Here’s how to do it:
- Set a spend limit for each person on your gift list
- Keep an organised binder or folder on your desktop containing what gifts you have bought and how much
- Keep hold of your receipts so you can always check back later (and things maybe need to be returned)
- Don’t just think about gifts – plan how much you will spend on Christmas groceries if you’re entertaining, and a party outfit (or three).
- Remember, you don’t have to say ‘yes’ to everything. Saying ‘no’ sometimes will greatly reduce your spending…and avoid making yourself seem too available…
3. Make Your Gifts Flawless
Some may think that the gift wrap doesn’t matter, but gift giving is all about the work of a moment. Not everyone can be an artist, but with a few tips and tricks, you can greatly improve the look and presentation of your gifts, which significantly enhances the excitement factor.
Some of our favourite tips are:
- Use a hard surface – not the carpet
- Use ribbons and bobbles, and clearly mark who each gift is for using a festive tag
- If you want to stand out, why not try material tied up with string as an alternative to wrapping paper? Velvet, vinyl, and printed tote cotton are all great options.
- Cloth cut into strips and rough string make cool, rustic alternatives to ribbon. Brown paper is a brilliant budget option but looks artsy, especially if you add you own custom design.
- Adding in little extras will go a long way. Think a spritz of scent or a sprinkle of Christmas confetti.
- Seal your gift with festive patterned tape or a wax seal, as an alternative to sellotape. Wax seal kits can be bought for very little at stationary shops or on Amazon and will add an old century charm.
4. Plan Your Outfit In Advance
Some people might be picking out their office Christmas party dress in October; however for others, it’s usually a last-minute panic to go clothes shopping before the big day. To keep yourself calm, keep the following in mind:
- Any party outfit can be worn more than once. Opt for classic styles (such as a black dress) that can be worn with different shoes, purses or accessories. Many dresses or trousers can be dressed up or dressed down, making them ideal for both Christmas cocktails and visiting family.
- Online shopping is your friend! Spend an hour or so bookmarking your favourite outfits and get them delivered for ease.
- Get a fanciful apron so you can salvage your dress and still look glamorous in the kitchen. You’ll always look awesome cooking in heels.
- Plan your hair, makeup, jewellery and accessories beforehand (even if just mentally). This will save time when it comes to changing outfits and getting out the door.
- For Christmas Day. think comfy but stylish. Jeans, trousers and a cosy sweater should work, with a pair of small heels or boots. Add some jewellery and you’re good to go.
5. Leave Work On a High
As ecstatic as you may be to leave the workplace behind for a few days, it’s a good idea to leave behind a few treats so people will remember you with positive vibes. A few things to perhaps consider are:
- Stocking fillers – if you like your team, let them know. Boots do 3 for 2 on Christmas gifts this time of year, making it brilliantly easy to sort a few presents, fast.
- If you can’t afford to add to your gift pile, a small selection box or even a candy cane on each team-mate’s desk will do wonders.
- If you’re lucky enough to get along with your boss, be sure to get them a little something. This can put you to the top of their good books and set you off on the right foot for the new year.
6. Know How to Deal with Annoying Relatives or Friends
When it comes to social gatherings at Christmas, everyone is in the same boat. There’s always going to be certain friends, relatives or your partner’s relatives you dread spending time with. The truth is you needn’t let this ruin your enjoyment or zen. With a little planning on how to handle them, you can go out with your head held high.
- Remember that whatever situation you might find yourself in, it’s only temporary and will pass. Once you have that firmly in mind, you can start to slow down and relax.
- Understand what’s going on when you’re with stressful relatives. You’re actually dealing with acute stressors that can become draining over time. You’ll also most likely feel physical symptoms like an accelerated heartbeat and your body will flood with stress hormones etc. Once you recognise your response and realise what’s happening, you can see through your emotional response to deal with the situation.
- Rather than retort to annoying or rude comments with something that’ll make that person feel bad, say whatever you need to disengage and de-escalate the situation. The goal is to get out of it, so whether it’s saying you’ll “look into it”, making a joke, giving a shrug and a laugh, or turning around the question with some witty sarcasm, do what you need to to cut the tie of conversation or politely change the subject.
- Try to avoid spending time with annoying relatives all in one go; instead arrange your schedule so that you can spend time with those people in manageable proportions.
7. Prepare the Loungewear
Lazing about on the sofa, whether at someone else’s home or your own, is always going to be a classic part of Christmas Day. But if you’re going to be in company, you’ll need to make sure it’s at least somewhat glamorous.
- Ensure you’ve got a decent set of PJs or nightwear on your Christmas wishlist for that special someone to buy you on Christmas Day. If you’ve got a URL and colour picked out, even better.
- If you’re going to be around other people in your PJs, ensure they’re comfy yet family-friendly enough to see people to the door at least.
- Choosing something that’s flattering or cutesy is always a good idea – you’ll want to still feel glamorous even as you’re stuffing your face with chocolate.
- Slippers and a robe are also a must, so don’t forget those.
8. And Finally…Have a Switch Off Date
Schedule a date when you will switch off from all the Christmas prep and just relax and enjoy yourself (even if its Christmas Eve afternoon). Christmas is your holiday too, and you should make the most of it.
Some handy tips for switching off are:
- Stack your presents under the tree and get rid of all remnants of wrapping paper, packaging and envelopes
- Take a long bath whilst things cook/bake in the oven. You’ll feel so much better off by the time dinner is served
- Listen to relaxing Christmas music, carols or go for a good walk
- If you’re worried about getting all the housework done (and can afford it), hire a cleaner for an hour. It’ll take a huge weight off your mind.