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Planning now for a stress-free December break

What?! How am I talking about summer holiday and Christmas plans already? Part of me feels “where did this year go?” and the other side of me feels “how on earth did we make it to December?” Now the time comes for holidays, celebrations, trips, family times, and gifts. And while it is all so exciting and fun, it can also be stressful and overwhelming, especially for us women who hold it all together and ultimately make it happen - yes, my husband packs the car but all the behind the scenes has been us, right ladies?


My way to make the holiday season exactly what it is supposed to be: fun and enjoyable, is to plan and get organised now so that come December I’m ready to throw on some self tan and celebrate with a cocktail in hand. 


1. Budget 


Although you may have done this earlier in the quarter, it’s essential to go into the holiday season with a clearly worked out budget. This is something really worth spending time on with your partner, so that everyone is on the same page for the next month (that end of January pay check feels ridiculously far away!) 


2. Christmas cards and shoots


I love doing an end of year photoshoot with my husband and girls - framed pics make excellent gifts for grannies and grandpas, and I always use one of the images on our family Christmas card. This is one thing that can really be done months in advance - book the shoot for early November, and then frame you favourite, and get your Christmas cards designed, printed and sent out before month end. This is really a big tick that can happen in early November and then one thing that you don’t have think about again. 


3. Present list 


You won’t believe it but at the back of my Edit I have a December gift list that sort of runs all year round, but really picks up pace in the last half. I jot down any good ideas or must-buys as I think of them, and I aim to have completed all Christmas gift shopping by 1 Dec. I am a huge believer in supporting small businesses during the holiday period - after all, when you shop from a small business an actual person does a happy dance (and I love the thought of all these hustling entrepreneurs doing an actual happy dance). 


Also gift wrapping: it’s one of my happy joys of Christmas so I like to wait until all my gifts are bought and then dedicate a night of wrapping. I do this early on and not the night before we go away when a simple joy of mine would turn into a rushed stress. This goes for Santa stockings too: I allocate a bag for each twin, and the little Father Christmas pressies are repacked and ready to go early on! 


4. Finalise travel plans


Yes, I know by now most of us have booked our trips and confirmations have been received. It is during November that I print anything out that I need to. I get my travel folder together and print out confirmations, itineraries and tickets. I label the folder and it sits on my desk. The night before we leave, of course the OCD in me double checks everything but I actually know I have everything printed and in order already. 


I also start a list of “need before we go” in my Edit - thank goodness for all those note pages! The list includes things like “new costumes for the girls” “a tog bag for the flight” etc. As I get these things, which I aim to do in November too, I tick them off and by the time I am packing and getting ready to go there isn’t a mad rush to find a pair of slip slops that fit! 


5. Guest room ready


When having guests over the holiday period I like to give the guest room a proper spring clean, and prep. Often the cupboards have become a bit full since last guests. I always empty shelf space for guests, put in a kettle with tea, and tidy up anything that is out of place. Of course the day before they arrive I add fresh flowers and a scented candle but by then the vast majority of work is done and the room is ready to impress. 


6. Meals and pre ordering 


This may sound like a crazy one but here are two things I do in advance regarding catering:

  1. I order our Christmas turkey and ham well in advance
  2. I always get a few prepared, large meals packed into the freezer - our long summer lunches with friends and family often turn into dinner and bath for the kids, so I love to have a delish lasagne or something ready to pop into the oven to feed those hungry tummies. 


7. Christmas traditions made easy 


If you are anything like me, Christmas traditions play a big roll in this time of year. I’m all about the decorations, advent calendars for the girls, tree decorating, Christmas light visiting, carol singing etc. What I find helps making this time of year and all events joyful instead of stressful is to schedule the dates in advance. I create the girls’ advent calendar way in advance so that’s ready to go come 1 Dec. Christmas light visiting is scheduled in as are all the family commitments and friends’ parties and celebrations. Our family calendar’s busiest month is December, that’s for sure!


I hope that this helps you prepare for the holiday season ahead and brings you more joy around this time year. Look out for a few posts on December where I’ll get into holiday specifics and packing and other tips for holidays made easy. 


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