“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
Admit it, you can’t say that without hearing the tune in your head.
I love Christmas, but I feel like the last few Christmases have really crept up on me without a lot of warning. January… July… Oh hello Christmas!
Each year I swear I’m going to be an adult and have all my Christmas shopping done early so that I don’t have to brave the shopping centres. Each year I am that blonde blur running through the shops on the 23rd and 24th.
One day I’ll get it right.
I do have some Christmas tips for you and I thought I’d share them with you.
- Take an uber taxi to the shops. Finding parking is an absolute nightmare, so last year, Sox and I called an uber who dropped us right at the very entrance. Cape Town gets really busy during December, so this has worked really well for us. We get all our shopping done, have a meal and when we are ready to go, there is no queueing to pay for parking, we simply call an uber and have them fetch us right from the entrance. It’s such a pleasure.
- Don’t scoff at Christmas lists. Shopping malls do everything they can to entice you to buy more and more, so make that list and stick to it. Create Holiday To Do lists too… My holidays seem to whizz by, especially if I have a stay-cation. I tend to mill around the house and not really take time out for myself. When I have a to-do list of things like:
Wine Farm lunch, Beach day, Breakfast with the girls somewhere new etc, I tend to do more and act like more of a tourist in my city.
- Do online shopping, but check when they’re able to deliver… you want your items to arrive before Christmas.
- Keep your children’s artworks over the year and use those as wrapping paper. It’s sentimental and personal. I think this is such a cute, original idea.
- Get a paper recycle bag and have it right next to the Christmas tree in the morning, when you unwrap your gifts pop the wrapping paper straight into the bag – it’s an easy clean up and a reminder to recycle.
- Get everyone who is coming for Christmas lunch to come a little earlier and assign them with a task. One person peels potatoes, one person sets the table, one person brings and prepares the pudding and so on. It turns it into a festive affair and saves time and money for the person hosting. Don’t forget to put all the Christmas music on to really get the festivities going.
- Make a Christmas Music playlist and play it all day and all night long… It really sets the festive mood.
- Open that bottle of bubbly you’ve been saving for a special occasion. There is no better time.
- I know a few families who hand out everyones presents and then they all start opening at the same time. There’s a frenzy of ripping wrapping paper and then it’s all over in minutes.
I don’t know about you, but the thing I love the most is watching the reaction of the person when they open their gifts. Rather take it in turns to open a gift, that way everyone gets to see the gift, the reaction and it prolongs the magic under the Christmas tree.
- Probably the most importantpoint. It’s not about what’s under the Christmas tree, but rather who’s around it. Never forget that.
- Speaking of… Don’t forget to wish Jesus a “Happy Birthday!” and remember what the Holiday is all about.
- Unless you really love to gift wrap, make use of the gift wrapping services at the shops, either in store or some malls have gift wrapping kiosks, which ask for donations for charities. Tis the season to be giving!
- Family traditions are important and it’s up to you to continue them. It’s also important to be flexible. When new families join, merge traditions or create new ones and add to the existing ones.
- Light candles – it just makes everything so festive. Try to find Christmas scented candles like cinnamon, pine and gingerbread. Here is another Christmas trick:
- Buy extra sticky tape so that you never run out.
- Make time to bake. There is something special about baking at this time of the year and it makes your home smell delicious too. Bake together – get your partner involved or your children. Make it fun.
- Decide on your colour palette and stick to that. Having too many colours can give you a headache after a while.
- Buy some cheap baubles and use them as place settings for the table. Write each person’s name in glue, cover with glitter and add a pretty ribbon. Your guests can take them home and use them on their tree.
- Host a Christmas party before Christmas time and ask everyone to bring a gift that can be donated to charity. You can choose an animal charity, an old age home, an orphanage and so on for each year.
- Keep a few extra items like body butters, boxes of chocolates etc for gifts. You never know when you might have an unexpected guest drop in.
- To keep curious little children from finding where the presents are hidden keep them locked in a suitcase until they are ready to be wrapped!
- When it’s time for the Christmas tree to be stored away, keep your Christmas ornaments in egg cartons – less breakage and easy to store.
- Wrap Christmas lights around a clothes hanger to keep them from being tangled.
- Focus your efforts on family fun, food, laughter, love. Remember you’re helping shape your child’s idea of what Christmas means! Make gifts meaningful but don’t make presents the biggest theme.
- Forget about perfection. I know it can be stressful if things don’t go according to plan, but in the greater scheme of things, nothing can be that bad. Enjoy the day and don’t worry about all the little things – it’s your Christmas, too!