It’s Christmas time again, and I am beyond excited! Yes I am one of those insane Christmas people (even before I had kids) who start planning and celebrating way before other normal people do. I love changing my decoration themes, I love wrapping presents in interesting ways and I beyond looooovvvee opening presents… I am essentially the biggest kid in the room when it comes to this right here!
Needless to say things changed once I had my own children, and I was thrown into the wonderful world of keeping up with the latest toys, protecting the Christmas tree from the little ones, dealing with the avalanche of ‘stuff’ that would be generously given to my kids at Christmas time, and of course the magic of making the Christmas Budget work. Oh and the absolute REDUCTION in time available to devote to Christmas preparations…..oh yes I have stayed up past midnight frantically wrapping presents in the early days.
Let’s be honest…..Christmas for Moms can turn out to be very tiring, stressful and overwhelming to say the least…. Pretty much the joy of it all tends of slip away and that my friends is what we need to avoid at all costs!
Surviving Christmas takes organization and planning however, if we had the luxury of planning long in advance for the Christmas season we wouldn’t need a survival guide…..am I right?
So here are the secrets I have discovered to making it through Christmas when you’ve got limited time and money:
Survival Tip #1: Purge Your Kids Toys in November
By carving out one block of time (max 3hrs) to purge the kids toys you can achieve two key wins:
1) You figure out gift ideas for Christmas with enough time to search and save for the best deals. The purge allows you to clearly see what they already have and what they don’t.
2) You clear up space to accommodate the new things that will enter your lives come Christmas day so you are not more overwhelmed by clutter.
This exercise goes much more efficiently if the kids aren’t around. So organize a playdate or grandparent visit, and trust your mommy gut with what goes or stays.
Survival Tip #2: Use the rule of Four when selecting gifts for your kids
This is my favourite tip ever that I always use when shopping for my kids' Christmas and birthdays presents.
Thing they Want. Thing they Need. Thing to Wear. Thing they Read.
By following this guide, I feel like my kids get a ‘balanced’ Christmas and we don’t venture into the zone of over-doing it by just buying things we come across while shopping.
This approach also helps prevent over-spending and puts you on the path to curbing the issue of excess and materialism nowadays.
Survival Tip #3: Gift Bags are time-savers!
I resisted this tip for a long time because I adore wrapping presents and decorating them and I certainly enjoy UN-wrapping a present. But wrapping presents is time consuming, so in the interest of being most efficient (and even economical because reusing gift bags is the way to go) I have switched to giving all my adult presents in gift bags, while continuing to wrap most of the presents I give to children in paper so they still get to have fun. It’s pretty much the best of both worlds!
Survival Tip #4: Gift List with Details!
When I make my Christmas List I always include gift ideas for each person and right next to that I decide where I intend to go shopping for the item. This way you are able to group presents by store location and use your shopping time most effectively.
Survival Tip #5: Decorating….the Event
While decorating is a ton of fun, it is yet another time-consuming task. My best tip for making your life easier is to make it into an event. Invite a few friends or family members over and enjoy the company (and extra hands) while you transform your home into a Christmas wonderland!
Survival Tip #6: The Budget
And now one of the biggest challenges at Christmas time….. staying within an affordable budget.
Like I said before, I really love Christmas, so my gift list is normally quite long. So over the years I have developed several ways to spread the joy without destroying my bank account.
Set a strict budget per gift and hit up the value stores and sales because thoughtful and useful doesn’t have to be super expensive. For many years I’ve managed to find really nice presents for less than $100, so don’t get discouraged… and remember Christmas giving is really about showing your loved ones that you care for them…not how much you’re willing to spend on them. So think THOUGHTFUL versus VALUABLE!
Choose a gift theme such as books or clothes or even plants and find something for everyone in that one category. It’ll keep the budget less erratic.
Do a Secret Santa amongst your close friends or within your family so the fun factor is amped up but you end up saving money.
A Toy Exchange….. kids can get bored of toys at an alarmingly fast rate, leaving you with toys in great condition that don’t get a lot of use. So why not get together with your friends with kids and do an exchange! The key to this is that the kids can’t be present….FOMO is real when they see toys leaving their lives.
So there you have it Moms, my tried and tested guide to saving time, money and energy during the Christmas season.
I wish each and every one of you all the best as you go into the Christmas season, and as an early present from me you all get a beautiful Christmas List (from the Mom4Real blog) and my own Toy Purging Checklist!
And for any of you Moms out there who want to give yourself the gift of peace and joy and time with your loved ones, why not let me help you? As a professional organizer I can help you take your TO DO list to DONE! Just imagine it….that toy purge completed or the Christmas decorations sorted and put up, or even your own closets organized and lightened… and just in time for Christmas and the new year!
Email me at email@example.com to set up a free Discovery Call, and we can work out how to make this Christmas truly merry & bright!
Sarahna Fernandes is the mother of a 4-year-old and (an almost) 4 month old. She runs her own company Simply Organized where she helps people organize their homes, events and small businesses. She has about 15 pretty notebooks at any given time. Making lists, a cold glass of prosecco and a dozen wontons can fix any bad day. The Container Store is her idea of a rocking time. And learning to meditate is one of her top 5 achievements in life (because her brain likes to buzz!)
Email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Facebook at: Simply Organized