I have to be honest Christmas has never been my favourite season (well, obviously as a child I loved it) but not so much now that it seems to be mostly organising, buying, cleaning and preparing. This is certainly no easier when your house is upside-down with building works or DIY. However, in recent years I have created a strategy that has changed this big-time, and has made Christmas rewarding and enjoyable once more.

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I can’t tell you how many years I have left everything to the last minute, got hyper-stressed and arrived at “The Day” feeling frustrated, grumpy and disappointed with myself.

If you are feeling less than excited at the prospect of the upcoming festivities, let me help you with some super-easy ideas to get you prepped and ready to face it all stress-free and serene.

So, obviously preparation is key and, if you haven’t already, it’s time to get your skates on. December 25th waits for no-one, sadly, or I would happily be just about ready to do it all on about March 4th!

Firstly, let’s make a plan. When is your “Festive Season” going to start? Are you going to kick it off with a little party for friends? If you’ve read my post, 19 Reasons to Dress Up and Take a Break, you will know that we are not allowed to become sad hermits! Therefore, I propose a super-easy party formula that you can try.

So often we want the house to be perfect and all our ducks in a row before we put ourselves on show and entertain. But in reality, when will this ever be? Will it ever be perfect enough? And at the end of the day how often do you go to a get-together at a friend’s house and come away thinking, “It was a good party, but it would have been so much better if their house was better decorated, or the food was more professional”. Well, never…it just doesn’t happen. Basically, no-one really cares. It’s so much more important to have a laugh, and a bit of fun, with your friends, than sit at home alone in your chaos and do nothing.

Having said this, however, time and energy is precious, so we have to get this party lark down to a fine art, or it will only ever happen once and you’ll put yourself off for life.

I have found that it is very empowering if you can plan your “do”, buy and prep anything that can be done in advance, and THEN invite your guests. With bits and pieces ready in the freezer and your main larder items bought, the pressure is off. (Quick tip: you might have to consider hiding away any goodies if you don’t want to find them mysteriously absent on party day!)

If your house is going to be a complete bombsite (or near to it), I recommend we go for an evening-do and invest in a whole shed-load of candles and fairy lights. Low lighting can work wonders, is atmospheric and hides a multitude of sins! Also a few tea lights or lanterns lighting the way from parking to door, sets the scene before your friends arrive and gives the impression that you’ve made loads of effort!

Kitchen not going to be up to much? No-one ever died from eating from paper plates or drinking from disposable cups. Ok, they are not super-fab, but washing up is minimal… yay!

I find that many people these days will ask if you would like them to bring a contribution, so why not say yes, and make a list of suggestions that they could provide. I’ve always tried to do everything myself, but generally friends do really want to help out.

If you are short of seating, go for finger food. This also saves washing up cutlery or going for those annoyingly useless plastic knives.

I really do suggest keeping it very simple and not to get too wound up about the state of the place. People love to come and see a work in progress and it spurs you on and motivates you for your next stage.

And if all else fails and you don’t manage to get your act together before Christmas, there is always the opportunity for a Turkey Curry Buffet à la Bridget Jones’ mother!

I do hope you will give it a try and would love to hear how you got on x

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