‘Tis the season of overdone roasts and over-crowded shopping centres, but the first sight of Christmas decorations doesn’t have to strike fear into your humbug heart. While there may not be enough mulled wine in the world to make your family get along come Christmas time – there are still steps you can take to guarantee an (almost) stress-free holiday season.
So long Scrooge – our fool-proof guide to the festive season will have you decking the halls in no time.
Make a List, Check it Twice
While we all tend to roll our eyes when the local department stores dust off their decorations in mid-September, it turns out these over-eager storefronts might be on to something. Even with the big day a few months away, now is the time to put pen to paper about what needs to purchased, booked and planned before old St. Nick makes an appearance.
Expect the Unexpected
Having a list that would put Martha Stewart to shame is a good safeguard against holiday stress, but it’s easy to be blindsided by Christmas surprises (like the unannounced invitation of your cousin’s nephew’s girlfriend to your annual family gathering). Save yourself the last-minute dash to the supermarket and keep a stockpile of one-size-fits-all gifts like chocolate and wine on hand. Even if you manage to steer clear of unexpected guests all season long, you’ll have a nice stash of goodies to last you into the New Year.
Turn ‘To-Dos’ into Entertainment
If a day’s worth of baking, wrapping and decorating sounds like a ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’, include your friends and make it a festive affair. Not only will you tick the box on some of the season’s social obligations, tackling the more monotonous tasks in good company – with added food and drink for good measure – is sure to have you feeling the Christmas cheer.
Make a Miniature Army
Looking for an even more hands-off approach to seasonal to-dos? Make the most of school holiday time and enlist your little ones as helpers. The closest thing you’ll find to Christmas elves, kids are usually more than happy to take part in all of the pre-Christmas tasks, whether it’s rolling out cookie dough in the kitchen or adding the finishing touches to the tree.
Save Space in your Social Calendar
While doubling up on catch ups and must-do items is a good way to make room in your diary, seasonal work functions and family gatherings still tend to take up what little time is leftover in the pre-holiday dash. Avoid the annual overflow and block out time for your daily routine. Your sanity – and those who’ll suffer the consequences of your not-so-festive meltdown – will thank you for it.
Skip Christmas Tree Clean Up
If you don’t want to find yourself sifting pine needles from between your seat cushions come March, plan to pick up a van or ute rental before picking out that perfect tree. A simple way to take the stress out of tree shopping, you’ll be able to snag a Christmas centrepiece as tall as you’d like.
Be a Savvier Santa
While it may not feel like Christmas if you haven’t braved the local shopping mall at the eleventh hour, there’s an easier way to cross gift giving off your list. Make the most of 21st century technology and opt to do your buying online this year. Not only will you beat the queues and the all too familiar car park faceoff, there’s a good chance you’ll be fa-la-la-ing all the way to the bank thanks to the magic of digital coupons and instant price comparisons.
Get Out of Town
Still not sold on a holiday at home? If all you want for Christmas is to get away from it all, there are plenty of deals on car and van hire in Australia to help get you on your way. Simply set your sights on the open road and leave the stresses of the festive season in your rear view.