Ten Tips for a Stress-Free Christmas

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Be a savvy shopper

Look out for bargains at this time of year. Find discount codes on the internet, keep an eye out for pre-Christmas sales, and check your supermarket loyalty card for special offers or freebies. Keep receipts in case you need to return something that's the wrong size. If you have a credit card, use one that gives you reward points or cashback.

Don't spend too much

It's very tempting at Christmas to buy extra 'just in case', when there are so many goodies in the shop. Particularly when it comes to food, don't buy too much, or you may end up throwing items away.

Homemade is easy

There are loads of easy things that can be made at Christmas if you're on a budget, like cards, decorations and presents. Any homemade food is always a welcome present.

Don't stress over your home

Sometimes people get very anxious about making their home look perfect for guests at Christmas time. Relax, have a tidy up, and remember that your guests are coming to see you not your home! Don't splash out on a new sofa or curtains now, wait until the sales.

Take time out

If things get too much for you, give yourself permission to have time out. Take a big breath, and walk away into another room or even better round the block.

Look after yourself

It can be difficult not to over-indulge at this time of year, but know your limits and try to keep your usual exercise routine going. Otherwise you risk ending up exhausted and unwell by the time January comes round. It's important to get plenty of sleep too.

Be organised and plan in advance

Last-minute shopping and cooking adds to the stress. Get organised and write a list now so you don't buy things in a panic that you don't need. But do stock up on wrapping paper and other essentials you may run out of. If you are responsible for cooking on Christmas Day, have a plan with rough timings and allocate tasks to different people.

Cook ahead

Lots of cooking for Christmas can be done ahead. It's surprising what can be made in advance and frozen. It may sound obvious, but do check that the turkey will fit on a roasting tray and the whole thing will fit in the oven!

Don't feel everything has to be perfect

Some people have massive expectations of how Christmas should be. Perhaps you remember holidays as a child, or imagine how things are in the movies. Let go of the idea of the perfect Christmas and enjoy what you have.

Learn to say no

At Christmas you can end up with so much to do, and so many different things to organise, that you feel exhausted and don't enjoy yourself at all. Look at the positives and learn how to say no.

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