Christmas is just around the corner, although for some it seems ages away! The truth is it will be here before you know it and you’ll suddenly be left with a week to do everything. It leads to a very stressful time and you just can’t enjoy the holiday season. There are things that you can do to avoid all of that stress.

Here are 5 steps to a stress free Christmas.

Santa with a Headache
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Step One: There's No Time Like the Present!

Start right now. Plan for the day and create that dream Christmas in your head. Do you want the beautiful decorations, Christmas tree and the perfect Christmas dinner? It takes work and preparation. Avoid doing it in the week before. Start now and you will feel like it costs you less and is much easier to do.

Most stores have the Christmas items out now and there are plenty of deals to help you keep the costs down. Buying the food right now is a bit of a stretch but you can get the decorations, the wrapping paper and the presents right now. By the time Christmas Eve comes, you’ll wonder why you ever stressed about it.

Planning for a Stress-Free Christmas
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This guide takes you through all the events that surround this time of year to help you with the planning. Have a stress free Christmas every year.

Step Two: What Activities Do You Do?

Do you get involved with groups during the holiday season? Maybe you like to host Christmas Day dinner for the whole family. There is nothing wrong with doing all this but you need to plan for them beforehand. You need to find time to do them all. Take a few minutes to list everything that you like to do or find that you regularly do at this time of year.

Now it’s time to decide whether you want to do them all again. Just because Christmas dinner is usually cooked by you and hosted at your home doesn’t mean that it has to be now. Your family will expect it though so make sure you let them know well in advance if you’re not planning on doing it this year. You could decide that this is the last year you will do it and make that announcement at the end of the dinner; then they have 12 months to plan ahead for next year.

If there is anything you don’t want to do, take it off your list. If people count on you, though, make sure they are aware that you’re not going to be available. Once you have all the things that you want to do, it’s time to move onto step three.

Dream Christmas Shopping
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Step Three: Set Up Your Christmas Calendar

You need to plan out the run up to Christmas Day. You may have nativity rehearsals, choir practise and all that shopping to fit in. How do you know if you have time for it all and how can you keep it stress free? The best way is with a Christmas calendar.

This doesn’t need to be anything you’ve specially bought—although you can do this to help you get into the Christmas season. It could be something on your computer, your phone or anything that you carry around with you during the day. Use it to add all events that you have coming up. You will not only plan your time but make sure you don’t forget something and avoid any conflicts in your schedule.

This is much easier for fitting in a few extra activities. An ice-skating arena may open near you just for this time of year that you want to go to. You can check your diary quickly to find a gap and write it down. That way, it doesn’t get forgotten, your children know that they get to have some fun with you and you avoid conflicts.

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Step Four: Make a List and Check It Twice

Santa Clause makes a list of all the good and naughty children and checks it twice—you need to do the same but with your gift list. Make a list of the gift ideas that you have for everyone. You could even list where you’ll be able to find them. You can then get in and out of the shops in no time.

Picking gifts is often the most stressful time for people. They just have no idea what to get someone, especially their loved ones. Spend some time browsing online for some ideas and write them down. If you don’t write them down, you’ll just forget them and you’ll be back on the first rung of the ladder. Don’t let this part of Christmas stress you out!

Keep the Christmas Shopping Stress Free

Step Five: Delegate Your Tasks

Finally, it’s time to get everything ready for the season. You’ve done the planning and the preparation; it’s time to get the house set up and do everything you need to. Worried about how much you have to do in such a short space of time? Remember that there are others around you. Why not delegate some tasks to them?

You may find this hard if you’re a micromanager and like to get everything completed yourself but you will find some benefits in letting others do it for you. It’s much less to worry about if someone else if taking care of it. If you’re worried that it won’t get done, then only delegate to the people you trust and delegate the less important tasks. As they prove they can handle their duties, you can give them more and more important tasks. The next Christmas, you can give them important tasks from the start to ease the stress further.

Don’t let the stress of Christmas ruin the season. It doesn’t have to be stressful. The trick is to plan ahead and decide what you really need to do. You’ll be surprised by the amount of worry and stress that is eased just by following the above five steps.