Credits: Bauble, Cheryl Rawlings | Marble notepad, next season collection at Sainsburys | Pencil, from a selection at Kate Spade | Wooden calendar, Rockett St George | Table (sold out, similar here) and rug, La Redoute
It’s one of the most stressful times of the year. Joyful, yes. Gorgeous, absolutely. But it can definitely take its toll on your nerves and stress levels.
Along with the more obvious peace, love and understanding, for me the key message when it comes to preparing for Christmas is to take your time to get organised.
Staying positive, upbeat and strong (along with a glass of wine and some online shopping) will mean you’ll stay sane and be fine.
Here are five of my top tips, in association with Actimel’s Santa campaign, to #StayStrong this Christmas. Check out their campaign video here.
1: BY FAILING TO PREPARE, YOU ARE PREPARING TO FAIL
Do your research. Read every gift guide going. I get really inspired by magazine gift guides – especially those in the Sunday supplements and Red magazine. Check out what the cool folk on Instagram are buying. What are your friends planning on buying THEIR kids? Don’t try and remember them all, move on to tip number 2…
2: PAPER IS LESS PERISHABLE THAN GREY MATTER
Write every single present down. When I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. I forget what I have already bought people, go panic shopping and repeat buy purchases. This is also the case if you did you Christmas shopping and wrapped everything last March. You may be smug, but can you tell me what’s in every package? No. No you can’t. Lists are a complete godsend. We may live in a technological age, but seriously if I haven’t written down an hour-by-hour list of jobs to do then I am completely screwed. Be kind to yourself by writing really obvious things down so you don’t kick yourself later when you’ve forgotten to ‘buy batteries.’ Tick them off as you go. Feel you have accomplished. Go you. Write down lists of everything you have bought next to the name of the person you have bought it for. If necessary, buy yourself a swanky new notepad.
3: HAPPINESS IS … SHOPPING FROM THE WARMTH OF YOUR SOFA
The kids have gone to bed, you have multiple tablet devices by your side, you have a cup of tea, you have lit a candle, you can do this. Arm yourself with your credit card, the aforementioned lists of gift ideas and shop from the safety and warmth of your sofa. Don’t head straight to the mega stores either, take time to check out cool online destinations such as Etsy, Notonthehighstreet and The Mamahood Marketplace for unique, homemade pieces. If it’s getting nearer Christmas Eve, replace the tea with a glass of wine.
4: LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE
Light a candle and take five. I get it, it’s stressful. The reality is you are probably – not in every case, I appreciate – but you are PROBABLY the person responsible for thinking about, shopping for and purchasing all of Christmas. Then you’ve got to get down to the post office because the relatives in Australia need their cards posting. Oh and then you have to fit in some kind of standing-up lunch scenario (cheese and crackers for me please) at 2.45pm before racing to pick the kids up from school. When you get chance, stop. Breathe. Light a really, really nice candle and sit down. Don’t check your phone, don’t read the online gossip columns. Just breathe, sip your tea and take five.
5: TREAT YOURSELF WELL
Treat yourself while you’re treating everyone else. So what if those M&S velvet bow heels slipped into your trolley while you were debating which merino wool crew neck to buy your dad. They were less than £30 and they will make you happy every time you wear them. Replace ‘M&S velvet bow shoes’ with whichever item you’d like. It could be a book, it could be a new lipstick. It doesn’t matter, the principle remains the same – stay strong and treat yourself with kindness in every way. We’re all doing the best job we can.
How do you #staystrong in the run-up to Christmas? Would love to know how you all ditch the stress.
This post was written in association with Actimel, but all words, thoughts and photography is my own.
Disclaimer: Actimel contains Vitamin B6 that contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. It also contains Vitamins B6 & D that contribute to the normal function of the immune system.