Only 23 days to Christmas, and hopefully your plans for a stress-free Christmas are well under way.
Here are some things to remember in the countdown to the big day:
1. SET A BUDGET
It's just one day, do you really want to be paying for it all next year?
* Stick to your budget, regardless of the temptation. Get creative rather than throwing money at problem presents.
* Make homemade gifts, decorations and gift tags: it's personal and shows you care.
2. SAVE, SAVE, SAVE
* A bit of time done on research can save £'s.
* Use comparison sites when shopping.
* Look for free Christmas events locally.
* Cash in your rewards to keep the price of Christmas down.
* Look for offers that you can fill the freezer with.
* Use coupon sites for extra discounts.
* Buy rechargeable batteries: it may be more expensive short term but it will save in the longer term.
3. DO THE DIRTY, BORING JOBS NOW
Clean the cooker and kitchen cupboards, declutter the house and garage, empty the fridge and freezer. Do a deep clean of the house now, then you just need to maintain it until the big day.
4. REMEMBER THE ESSENTIALS
Get your "must remember" list bought now, it will save you thinking about it later: batteries (all sizes and more than you think you need); check the camera/camcorder is working and has sufficient memory; extension cords; extra gifts just in case - anything you know you should have, get it now then you can forget all about it.
5. STAY HEALTHY
Look after yourself, or you'll be too tired and ill to enjoy the Festive Season. Get plenty of sleep, it's a marathon, not a sprint. Get outside in the fresh air and walk, you'll find that now only does it keep you healthy, it's a great de-stressor.
6. HAVE FUN
It doesn't need to be perfect, but it should be fun. That Christmas, when the giblets were still inside the turkey, or the frozen melon balls rattled around the plates, is the one you'll remember and laugh about in 20 years time, so keep your sense of humour. Christmas is a time for sharing - and that means sharing the work as well - get everyone involved. Remember what Christmas is all about and enjoy.
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