How to easily reduce the festive overwhelm

How to easily reduce the festive overwhelm

I don’t know about you, but I certainly feel a bit anxious about Christmas being around the corner. I love the month of December – and not just because it is my birthday month! 🙂 It gives me a fuzzy feeling, knowing that I can spend some time off with my nearest and dearest. Then anxiety kicks in that I must buy the presents, get the meals planned, food shopping sorted and of course the house cleaned from top to bottom.

Yesterday, I finally sat down and grabbed my diary and a notebook and got 3 pages labelled with FOOD – SHOPPING LIST – PRESENTS. If you like to be organised, you probably have your own lists already handy. If you are a last minute gal, my first tip would be to sit down for an hour and plan. This massively reduces the feeling of anxiety, at least for me. You can still be overwhelmed by the sheer number of items on your lists, but at least you know what needs to be done. This helps me before going on holiday also so save this link for later!

A few things to consider before you plan your Christmas:

  • What activities are already in the calendar?
  • When are you hosting a party? Who is coming? Any dietary requirements, fussy eaters to factor in?
  • Leave space for last minute trip to the cinema or eating out. Plus for using up leftovers.
  • What foods do you already have that could be used?
  • Have you got space in the freezer for 6 boxes of turkey meat to save? 🙂 – Three years ago when we moved into our new home, we wanted to cook a full on traditional Christmas meal. Ordered a “small” turkey from the nearby farm. We thought we would easily eat the 7 kg beast over Christmas. Well, we didn’t, but we had plenty of leftover to make curry and stew for at least 3 months. Luckily we had space in the freezer, but it is so easy to get caught out.

Once you have gone through this, it will probably already feel less overwhelming seeing you don’t necessarily need to plan 2 weeks worth of food and activities.

Going through your food cupboards, pantry, fridge and freezer is the next step. Firstly, you can clean everything out and check expiry dates. Even if you cook regularly, I bet you anything, you have old spices and pickles in your pantry. Organise the shelves so you can see if you run out of flour or any other staples that you will likely need.

Now you can pick up your notebook and write down a few dishes that you and your family like. A good idea to create a list to stick on your fridge as it can really help when planning the food for the week ahead.

Grab your planner and pop those dishes in. Now you just need to write a shopping list and schedule in time to get the groceries.

To summarise the top tips:

  1. Make time to get organised and write your lists!
  2. Schedule the tasks in.
  3. Get your family members involved (aka delegate), you don’t need to do it all!
  4. Make sure you cater for all if you host a party and check for allergies!
  5. Make note of shop festive opening hours.
  6. Pencil in time for getting your groceries and order in time if you are an online shopper.
  7. Clean out your pantry and freezer and write a list of foods that you can use up.
  8. Create a family favourite food list.
  9. Buy ahead anything that will last long enough to spread the cost. It will feel less daunting to get the shopping down nearer the time if you only need to get the fresh items.
  10. Leave some space for last minute dinner invitations, using leftovers or getting a cheeky McDonalds (the thing most people do but hate to admit, after eating too much rich xmas food and puddings).

What are your top tips that you could share with us? How do you prepare for the festive period? We would love to hear what works best for you and your family, please share in the comments!