8 genius hacks for a stress-free Christmas
Are you tired of feeling frazzled in the lead-up to the holidays with a never-ending to-do list looming over your head? These clever hacks will take the strain out of Christmas…
Hands up if you get naively excited at the thought of the holiday season around early October only to realize that you’ve morphed into a stressed-out basket case by the time Christmas dinner finally hits the table? (I’ve got two hands up right now). For a time of year that’s meant to bring tidings of comfort and joy, it sure brings a ton of pressure and anxiety as well.
But guess what? This year will be different because you’ll use these brilliant holiday hacks that will have you chillin’ by the fire on Christmas Day while your whole family whispers about how you turned into Martha Stewart overnight. Oh yeah.
Start buying gifts several months ahead
Rule number one: Don’t leave all your shopping until two days before Christmas. Not only will you find yourself fighting over the last pair of fluffy pink Isotoner slippers with another disgruntled last-minute shopper, you’ll probably end up spending a lot more money because you have limited options and you don’t have time to be picky.
So, it’s wise to start shopping immediately. May I suggest browsing through hundreds of beautifully crafted, non-toxic gifts right here on The Tot? You won’t even have to leave the comfort of your home and they’ll be delivered right to your doorstep. Brilliant.
Wrap as you go (or don’t wrap at all)
Given that you’re one super-organized mama who’s buying presents well ahead of time, why not wrap them right away and stash them in a secret hiding place in your house? Instead of frantically wrapping 247 presents on Christmas Eve, you’ll get to kick back with a glass of wine. Winning!
Make lists and take stock
As soon as your brain starts making Christmas to-do lists, write everything down in a notebook or in your phone to help ease that niggling feeling that you’ll forget something important. Plan all your recipes, cookware, dinnerware, place settings, decorations and anything else that comes to mind.
Take stock of what you already have and start buying any bits and pieces that you’re missing. You’ll still be sending Uncle Joe to the store 10 minutes before it closes on Christmas Eve, but at least he’ll only be scrambling to buy milk rather than 17 obscure items.
Pad out your Christmas tree with green tinsel
Did you pull your Christmas tree out of the box only to find it looking thinner and more forlorn than you remember? Avoid having the entire family compare it to Charlie Brown’s tree by padding it out with green tinsel.
Instead of hanging it on the outer branches like you would with colored tinsel, push it closer to the trunk to make your tree look nice and full. You can then decorate it with lights, colored tinsel and ornaments as you normally would.
Use condiment squeeze bottles to decorate cookies
You can find them at any dollar store and they’ll make cookie decorating so much easier and less messy. Simply fill them with icing and let the kids go to town on the gingerbread men!
Store your wrapping paper in a garment bag in the closet
Take a plastic garment bag, place all your rolls of wrapping paper upright inside it, zip it up and hang it in a closet. Voila! No more rolls of paper cluttering your living room from November through January and being ripped to shreds by the cat.
Prepare and freeze food ahead of time
There are plenty of classic Christmas recipes that can be prepared several weeks (or even months!) ahead and frozen until they’re ready to be cooked, including meatballs, lasagna, roasted green beans, Christmas cookies and ice cream cake.
The trick is to wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. On Christmas Eve, transfer them to the fridge so that they’re thawed and ready to cook the next day. Too easy!
Cook the turkey the day before
Gasp – surely that goes against the Christmas constitution?! Proving to your relatives that you can cook the turkey to perfection exactly in time for Christmas dinner might be a long-standing tradition in your family, but this year you’re going to buck that trend by roasting the bird the day before and warming it up on Christmas Day.
You heard me right – no more anxiously checking the clock and thermometer every four minutes. Grab another eggnog and relax, you clever thing, you.