If your Christmas is more manic than magic, it’s time to re-think how you approach it.  Here are some top tips to help you to enjoy rather than endure the festive season.

1.  Look for inspiration

Whether you’re decorating your tree, baking some Christmas goodies, planning a party or preparing lunch for 15 people, look for inspiration and ideas so you don’t have to think of everything from scratch.  Magazines such as Good Housekeeping and Woman & Home do great Christmas special editions to inspire every aspect of the festive season. 

2.  Set aside an evening for wrapping presents

Presentation is so important to gift-giving.  If you’ve found the perfect present you don’t want to spoil the surprise with a scrappy piece of wrapping paper and a tonne of sticky tape.  Buy your gift wrap, bows and tags, put on your favourite music or a film and settle down for an evening of gift wrapping, taking your time to make each gift look super-special.

3.  Use your freezer

If you are entertaining at Christmas, or cooking the festive meal, try to cook some dishes in advance and freeze them until ready.  It’s surprising how much you can pre-prepare – fruits and vegetables, desserts, sauces, soups and meat dishes.  Take a look at the Love Food Hate Waste website for more information.

4.  Stock up on drink

Shop around at this time of year to find the best deals on your favourite tipple.  Lots of supermarkets and wine shops run promotions, especially on bulk orders.  Not only will this save you money if you’re entertaining this Christmas, it will also mean you’ve got something to offer guests who just pop in over the holiday period.

5.  Ask for help

Delegate some of the responsibility for running a smooth Christmas by enlisting the support of your children, your spouse and even your guests.

For example, if a guest offers to bring a pudding, take them up on the offer.  If your children are old enough to set and clear the table, ask them to do so.  If your spouse takes pride in cooking the perfect Christmas turkey or keeping everyone’s glasses filled, let them help you out.  Christmas is a team effort!

6.  Buy presents online

While you may enjoy shopping and a good browse round the Christmas markets, try to do most of your actual present buying online.  You’ll avoid the queues and the hustle at the shops as well as the traffic jams which seem to clog up every town at Christmas.  Wipe Easy Gift Vouchers are always popular at Christmas, enabling a friend or loved one to choose a new wipe clean tablecloth which will suit their home to perfection.

If you like going to the shops at Christmas you may enjoy your trip even more, knowing that most of your presents are ordered online and being delivered straight to your home, leaving you free to browse without the pressure of having to find everything on your gift list.

7.  Stop the guess work

Although it’s nice to give a surprise gift, sometimes it’s just too difficult to think of something a loved one needs.  Take the stress out of gift giving and ask people what they would like to receive.  At least you know your gift will then be appreciated. 

8.  Schedule down time

If all you can see is a season of busy-ness, it’s time to schedule some down-time. It may be that you reserve Christmas Eve for relaxing, or decide to do nothing more after the main Christmas Day lunch.  You may decide that Boxing Day is when you’re going to chill out, or the Bank Holiday Tuesday is an opportunity for a brisk family walk.  However, you work your schedule, by building in some down time, you’re more likely to make it happen.

9.  Write things down or use a reminder app

There’s so much going on Christmas-time it’s impossible to remember everything.  Whether you’re thinking of great gift ideas or trying to remember to stock up on tin foil, write it down and save your brain power!  Use a written list or find an app for your phone.  Remember to put things on your wall calendar or phone calendar too, so that you don’t have to remember important events.

10.  Don’t take it too seriously

Christmas is meant to be a time for fun and family.  If you take it too seriously you may have Christmas run with military precision, but will it be any fun?  Do your best but try not to lose your sense of humour when things don’t go to plan…