For all the busy parents out there, I know how hard it is to get ready for Christmas when there is little free time in busy family life. Remember planning in advance is your friend and it is ok to say no to things. There is pressure to go to all the Christmas events, but slowing down and having some low key chilled days can be a good way to have quality time together and recharge the batteries.

Out With the Old, In With the New – Your Christmas Shopping Checklists

Early in the season, have a good declutter around the house. Think ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ what can go to charity? What can be repurposed? What can be reused? By decluttering, you are making space for your Christmas decorations and gifts that may be received.

Be mindful when writing your shopping list. What do you need and what do you want? You have just decluttered you don’t want to bring clutter back into your house, so what really brings you joy? Remember a gift doesn’t have to be materialistic, it can be an experience too. Experience gifts make  happy long-lasting memories. It can be a gift itself to give that special person more time with you. Another bonus is that experiences don’t need to be wrapped, so you can save yourself some time there.

I love a good list. Write a different shopping list for each person and each Christmas event you are hosting in December. Let family and friends know what you would like for Christmas and politely offer suggestions for your children too. You could share your gift lists with a helpful spreadsheet on Google Sheets or share your tick lists on Google Keep.

Wrap your presents as you buy them and have one bag per person to store the gifts. This makes handing out the presents easier on the day.

How to Keep Your Home Decorated in Style

Decorating your home for Christmas can be a lot of work. You need to find the time, find the energy, and find the money. However, you don’t need all three of these. All you really need is creativity and some strategic purchases to get the most out of your home decorating efforts.

The first step is to take a look at your existing decorations and see what you can reuse or repurpose. Build up your Christmas decoration collection over time. Choose a colour scheme that you love and don’t feel influenced to change your colour scheme every year. Classic Christmas colours of red, white, silver or gold will always work well.

Have a rough idea of where you would like the decorations to go before you put them up. Make the decorating fun, whack some Christmas songs on and put the decorations up as you have a Christmas boogie.

Children love to help with decorating, so get the whole family involved. We have made it one of our advent activities to make a Christmas tree decoration and to decorate the Christmas tree. We take turns each year to put the star on the top of the tree. Small things like this become family traditions and create lovely family memories.

A Feast Fit for a King – A Delicious Guide to Your Christmas Food Planning

As soon as the Christmas food delivery slots are released from your chosen supermarket, book one up.  Prep your Christmas food shopping list so you know exactly what to order. Utilise your freezer to keep food fresh for the big day. Always check the instructions to check when things need to be defrosted and how to cook them safely.

Make room in your fridge, freezer and cupboards for the extra items. Buying in advance helps you to spread the cost and gives you peace of mind knowing you have what you need.

This time of year is particularly exciting for anyone who enjoys cooking because there is inspiration everywhere for new twists on traditional recipes. From blogs to tv shows, to supermarket magazines there is plenty of new dishes to try if you fancy an alternative to the traditional Christmas dinner.

Try tips such as wrapping your baking trays in tin foil to help make the washing up that little bit easier. If you’re hosting dinner for others, food warmers can be a good idea on the table to keep the food nice and hot.

Overall enjoy the build-up and the day itself and take comfort in knowing you have everything prepared and organised. Merry Christmas everybody!