Test cricket has ramped up, the air-conditioner is on, you’re strategically planning seafood purchases and find yourself in conversations about “who’s buying for whom”. Merry Christmas, friends.
Because we’ve still got a few weeks up our sleeves, we thought we’d take a moment to share some things we’ve learned about surviving Christmas this year.
Before we begin, repeat after me: less is more.
We take a look at the tips on surviving Christmas this year
1. Avoid stuff
Ridiculous things creep their way into shopping trolleys at this time of year and there’s one term that summarises them all – stocking stuffers. If we take a step back, what we’re really talking about is junk. Christmas brings enough costs, we don’t need to buy trinkets and knick knacks designed purely to fill a space in a stocking. Gifts, notes and half-eaten cookies do a great job at keeping the Santa dream alive. If you drop the stocking ritual this year, it’s gone forever and you’ve saved yourself some money and some space in the junk draw or toy box. You’ve also avoided having to make the inevitable decision to throw it out.
Decorations are obviously a yes but be strategic. Your lunch table can look beautiful with some simple adornments. There’s no need to buy anything new.
- Steal a few baubles from the tree and scatter them across the table
- Got a sizable rosemary bush? Cut some long stems and pop them in a glass. It makes for a beautiful and fragrant centrepiece
- No-one really likes using napkin holders or those things you hang on wine glasses – skip them
- Save up a few jars or cute-looking cans over the next few weeks to stand cutlery in
- Ride the rustic style wave. Serve things in the pans and trays you cook them in, place them on mismatched tea towels, channel Jamie Oliver and minimise the cleanup
- Crackers/bon bons are essential because … fun.
The key thing here is to take a really good look at what you’ve already got and to think twice before you chunk those few extra things into your trolley. It all adds up.
2. Minimise meals
Families are great at catering. Food is how we celebrate and so it should be but it’s pretty easy to go overboard. Don’t buy that extra loaf of bread or packet of chips. You don’t need to restock your entire suite of condiments just for one day and if someone is bringing a salad, don’t buy the ingredients anyway – just in case. Plan your main meals, plan for what you’ll do with the leftovers and stick to the plan.
Remember, Christmas lunch usually lasts several hours and is usually followed by a lazy afternoon. You don’t need to plan for a full day of feasting. And most supermarkets only close for one day. If you really need more, you’ll be able to get it come Boxing Day.
3. Outsource. Seriously, outsource
If you live in a city, you might want to investigate outsourcing things like:
- Roast chickens for Christmas lunch
- Cakes, sweet pies and desserts from popular local bakeries can solve a problem for you. Remember to pre-order!
- The pre-family influx clean. Casual cleaners usually got about $35-40 an hour and can give your place a thorough once over before the relatives arrive. You can buy yourself time!
- Also … online shopping. Never is it more appropriate than at Christmas. If you can’t be home when your delivery rolls in, check out AusPost’s parcel lockers or check their Christmas delivery information.
4. Plan gift buying. Stick to the plan
The main lesson here really is planning. Yes, you’ll save money and time but also you’ll save yourself a lot of stress. Don’t step inside a shopping centre without knowing what you’re there to buy. Sure, be open to new things but chances are having a plan will help you avoid that feeling of wandering around with names not yet crossed off the list as the minutes until closing time quickly tick by. And to bring us back to an earlier point, keep the gift buying simple. It really is the thought that counts – really. Sometimes a bottle of wine or small batch chocolate will be perfectly enough.