Preparation ... Prepperaytion ... Peppertigon ... Erm
If you felt overwhelmed, overtired or overspent this Christmas, NOW is the time to plan for next year.
If you really don't want to travel to your husband's uncle's sister's house again next year - you can say "thanks, but no thanks" in plenty of time by saying it now.
You have time to say you are planning a different Christmas.
You have time to plan a trip away alone to the Isle of Mull (if that is your dream vacation) or simply to choose how many folk you want to feed and when - and how!
First take a stocktake of this year.
What went well? What do you have too much of leftover? What do you wish you'd done differently?
Write it down. Now.
For me - even though I do think I'm a dab hand at this - I'm writing down who gifted to me surprised me, as well as any ideas for gifts for next Christmas. From feedback I've received already, all the homemade items were well received this year; this makes me glad I took the time and trouble. Another thing that folk said they really liked was the themed mini-hampers I put together.
Our food shopping was superb this year. We bought not one thing that was 'Christmassy'. Instead, as I wrote about before, we saved all year then took advantage of shop offers and have filled our store cupboards.
I made GF DF (gluten and dairy free) fruit cake that we called our Christmas cake, and we've chosen our favourite home-made meals to repeat over the festive season so we feel like we are being treated!
One thing I do every year is make gift tags from Christmas cards - you can buy red and white string on eBay very cheaply all year round: why not choose to do this one this week!
Despite all my good planning, I was still wrapping up gifts on Christmas eve.
My plan this year is to gather (buy or make) gifts, and wrap them as I get them.
My memory is as good as a rusty bucket, so I plan to also have a blinking good list or I'll be unwrapping to check as fast as I am wrapping up!!
I've said it before and I'll say it again: we save a little everyday and it works!
Whatever method you wish to use - shop coupons, cumulative savings (1p day one, 2p day two, 3p day three..), or even a Christmas club: decide what to do and just do it. I promise you the difference will be worth it.
If you can't afford to do something: don't! We have a couple of rich relatives and we don't play along with their idea of a fun Christmas. If you want to make and give something because you can or because that's all you can afford: both are fine. Never be brow-beaten into fulfilling someone else's expensive play-date when to do so would put you into trouble financially.
Any more ideas for a stress-free celebration this time next year? Add them in my comments and I'll publish your ideas too xx