How to have a stress-free Christmas

Tis the season to be jolly, not stressed up to the eyeballs. Lidl asked Mumsnetters share their cunning, budget tips for festive food, gifts and traditions to make this Christmas more merry 

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1. Start with a massive clearout

"My biggest tip is to do a big pre-Christmas declutter. Clear out the kids' old clothes and toys, old decorations, and make room in the fridge, freezer and cupboards. It means there's a lot more order and less mess and cleaning to be done during the crazy build-up weeks of December."

2. Plot your present strategy

shopping with phone

"I write ideas down for presents all year round. If anyone mentions anything they need or like I have a note, so I at least have some inspiration by the time November/December comes."

3. Lists are your friends. Employ them for EVERYTHING

writing christmas list

"Make a spreadsheet! When you buy a gift, record the cost and the recipient."

"Years ago I typed my address labels for Christmas cards into a word document so they could be printed as labels every year. Maybe slightly more time consuming the first year but you save HOURS thereafter."

4. DIY can save time as well as money

Lidl gin

"Get your berries picked in autumn, ready to put into your Lidl gin ready for Christmas."

"I make homemade gifts for the grown-ups such as bathbombs/soap/candles. I work out what will be cheapest to make and take inspiration from Pinterest. And then I pair them with a nice bottle of wine or Prosecco."

5. Team up to bag bargains

"If you have friends with children who all like similar things club together for anything on a 3-for-2 offer. This maximises saving and stops you buying things you don't need just to get the saving."

6. Ask if it brings joy to the world (or at least your loved ones?)

christmas joy

"Buy little and often. Think about whether you really NEED or want it, whether it's good value, and whether it will really bring joy. Spend within your means, and you won't have to face any post-Christmas financial stress."

7. Balance spending with spreading goodwill

mother daughter christmas hug

"Do a 'Random Act of Kindness' Advent Calendar over the Christmas period - it will help keep you grounded and merry and it's a good counter balance for the kids and all the stuff they get."

8. Spread the pain cost

christmas shopping

"I always start shopping fairly early. The first few months I spread the cost of the gifts and then in December I pick up extra groceries each week when they are on special offer. This saves me from having a really expensive shop at the end."

9. It's called the party season for a reason

party food lidl

"I get big sharing packs of frozen party foods, such as spring rolls, mini pizzas, mozzarella sticks, chicken goujons etc. I can split these and leave some in the freezer for Boxing Day or New Year."

10. Shortcuts can be better in the long run

lidl christmas pudding

"I never make the pudding now - I used to, but it took such a lot of mixing, preparing and then six hours steaming that I gave up on it, and now buy one instead!"

11. Last minute isn't always a bad thing

christmas shopping crowds

"Don't buy kids' presents too far in advance. They could be 'absolutely desperate' for something a few weeks before Christmas that they haven't ever mentioned before and suddenly it's the only thing they want."

12. Little touches can make a big difference

christmas wrapping ideas

"For gift wrapping, I use rolls of plain paper and jazz them up with real ribbons that I buy cheaply in bulk. It makes my bargain presents look way more expensive."

13. Resist the urge to DIAY - Do It All Yourself

swedish chef

"If someone wants to bring the pudding, peel the vegetables or make cups of tea show them where things are and let them get on with it. Far better to accept help than become the Christmas martyr that does everything and has a miserable time."

14. Throw out the rule book

christmas breakfast

"We do a buffet style breakfast so everyone can have what they want, skip dinner then have our Christmas dinner in the evening. This takes away the time pressure and means I can enjoy the day with the children."

15. And... relax

"I've spent many a festive season too stressed to enjoy it as I was trying to create the perfect Christmas. I realise now that it doesn't matter if the wrapping paper doesn't match or if the bread sauce is homemade as long as the main elements are there."

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Last updated: almost 3 years ago