‘Tis the season to be jolly… fa la la la la la la la la.

Or maybe you feel less jolly and more overwhelmed and stressed this Christmas. Awkward family reunions, higher than expected credit card bills, health concerns or stress over finances are all things can increase stress in December.

I don’t have advice for difficult family get-togethers, but what I do have are some simple and practical tips that will take the pressure off this year and free your time, energy and money up so you can enjoy and celebrate this special season.

In this blog I’m specifically going to give you tips and tricks around gift giving. Other tips and tricks will follow in the weeks to come.

Giving and receiving gifts is a great joy at Christmas. Seeing the joy on a child’s face or finding that perfect gift for a family member is such a great blessing. It can become expensive if you’re not careful, and if I had a dollar for every time a client or friend said to me, “I always spend more than I intend” I’d be able to buy my kids everything on their wish list. You see, I’m assuming you quite like the people you purchase for (especially your own kids) and you want to make them happy and show your love for them, so it’s easy to overspend. My bet is that 99% of you don’t keep a gift list of who you’re purchasing for and what you’ve bought for them; and here is how I can offer you help to reign in the budget and keep the gift purchasing organised.  You can download and print a copy of the Christmas Gift List I use.

Write down all the people you’re wanting to buy for. As you purchase presents for them, write down what the gift is and how much you’ve spent. Keeping this list handy during December means you’re less likely to double up on gifts and more likely to stay in budget and keep the stress under control. No surprise credit card bills at the end either! I find that especially when it comes to buying for our own children, the extra bits and pieces we buy can add up to hundreds. Keeping them written down helps you see the reality of what you’re spending. It won’t make you spend less… that’s up to you… but you’ll at least know the accurate figures in real time.

Another trick I have around gifts is to wrap your presents for each side of the family or each group of friends in different themed paper so it’s easy to identify which gifts are for who. For example; I’m one of 5 kids and my husband is one of 4. So we wrap my side of the families presents in say red and his in silver. Then when it comes to Christmas Day and we’re heading to an event it’s easy to grab all the right presents by grabbing all of the silver or red gifts. It’s a simple trick, but it saves going through every single present before you head out the door and saves leaving a gift at home by mistake.

As many of you know, I’m a bit of a minimalist and I’m not hugely into gifts (physical possessions) personally. So I enjoy the challenge of coming up with unique gifts for my family and friends. I love gifts of time spent together (a round of golf, movie night, pedicure together). I also love experience gifts (theme parks, musicals/ shows, red balloon vouchers). Gifts don’t always need to be possessions – if you have family with kids, a gift of a night of babysitting or a family movie ticket is always well received.

So whatever gifts you’re giving and receiving this year I hope that you’ll be able to use my Christmas Gift List to keep yourself organised and that you’ll be able to reduce the stress so you can embrace the joy of Christmas.

Enjoy the Freedom!

Amy x