It is that time of the year again!
A time where I’m already giddy all over the place, getting everyone and ready. I’m chaotic yet full of excitement.
Unfortunately, I live in a country where holidays are just..eh. Australia is not known for its festive atmosphere, at least when compared to other Western countries. We do have festivities yet it’s just dismal. Decorations are put up later, the sales deals are not too great and there just isn’t a lot going on. I guess, that’s what you get for being a young country ripped off of England (haha).
Though never fear! I don’t care how un-festive Australia can be – I am still going to the moon and back with how festive I am going to be. This means basically letting yourself be overwhelmed with Christmas holiday cheer while getting ready for it early and minimising any scuttling around during Christmas week. That’s what I do. As I’m typing this, I’ve already finished all my Christmas shopping – I make it a habit every year to finish before December, simply because it saves me hassle and money.
So let’s proceed, what else have I done this holiday season, things you can do, to make more space for cheer and less for stressing?
1. Plan To Cook Big, Easy Dishes
I will not counter or stop anyone from making that one big, elaborate Christmas dish that’s been passed down since your great great grandparents. Yet, there is also the option of making that and choosing big, easy dishes for the rest so you can worry less about the rest of the meal setup. Everyone has so much to eat and can even take some home with them. You don’t want to waste time with having all your dishes overly complex/fancy ones that would stress you out. What are some of these big, easy dishes? Here are my recommendations.
These dishes feed plenty and don’t require too many steps or complicated layers of instructions.
2. Get Cheap Christmas Card Packs
You may be the type to give Christmas cards, you may not. Most Christmas cards for individual sale are quite pricey and should be reserved for your closest friends and family. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t give everyone a sentimental little Christmas greetings. Look in your dollar stores and even general stores like Daiso and get a whole packet of at least 20 cards. Personalise them and distribute them amongst your friends, the rest of your family and work colleagues. You don’t have to break the bank to spread some Christmas cheer around to everyone.
3. Start Reusing Old Christmas Gift Bags
I don’t know if this is just an Asian thing, though I swear, within my extended family, the same ten gift bags have simply been rotating for a few years now! No need to throw away Christmas gift bags, the nice ones with the strap and simply put it away and use for another gift to give the next year. Non-Christmas gift bags can be used for birthdays too. I’ve used a couple of these gift bags for my friends’ gifts too, whenever I didn’t have to reuse them. It’s a real money saver as the gift bags can get pricey.
4. Stick To -1 +1 Decor A Year
Do you struggle from the temptation to get more decor every year? I know I do. Whenever I see some of the new sales and cheap Christmas decor, I can’t help myself, I want to redo the Christmas decor of our home. I’ve made a little system for myself to avoid over-accumulating items and maintain the space for them. I get rid of one type of decor a year (a set of Christmas baubles, a small statue, etc) and give it to charity or relatives then I get one new piece of decor. That would be the new feature for the year. This year, I got a new set of Christmas bell baubles for our tree and I’ll be giving away our old red baubles.
5. Have Christmas Candles
Have you started decorating and feel that something is still missing, despite your home being decked in green and red? It’s easy to completely convert your atmosphere to utter Christmas joy, above and beyond with Christmas candles. The Yankee candle line is specifically good at specialised scents, I have their All Is Bright melts though I used a whole Christmas Cookie jar last year just within December. The right Christmas scent can instantly invoke (sometimes too much) all the Christmas cheer a room can need once decorated. Our guests love it.
6. Use A Christmas Planner
What keeps me together during Christmastime is a special Christmas planner. It’s nothing big, just a thin notebook with sections that help me determine what my progress is in different areas. Sections include Gifts, Meal Planning, Christmas Cards (who am I giving to), Christmas Decor, Christmas Activities (for leading up to midnight, which we celebrate the Eve). It’s handy for when I need to get certain items and the right amount of cards, ribbons, wrapping, tags, food ingredients and everything else. All in one place.
7. Take Advantage Of Gift Packs
Do you have to give out gifts for Kris Kringle or the not-so-close family members (or friends of friends) you don’t really like though you have to give a gift to? Gift packs from good brands are the answer. Look out for promos in which when you buy an item for the shop, you can get heavily discounted gift bags. There are also deals where the bags are heavily discounted when you buy three or more. Here in Melbourne, The Body Shop and Typo have it, as well as many other stores. Just keep your eyes peeled for these discounted gift packs.
Give these ideas a try, hopefully they’ll make it easier for you to breathe throughout Christmastime and have you running around the place a little less! I know that, combined with an early start, they’ve made December a breeze for me. As I type this, I’m just about to start on fully decorating our place and we already have all the presents ready, with ribbons and tags. I’ll be setting up the Christmas scents and writing the Christmas cards now as well, to give out in a week or two.
Have more time enjoying the holiday and basking in all that Christmas Cheer. Cue Bing Crosby’s Christmas playlist.
That Stepford Gal