Your festive survival guide -

Joy to the world, the festivities are here. We are tearing out our hair in the frustration of it all,
and that’s not just having to see our mother in laws over Christmas.
(If you are a fan of your in-laws, more power to you. Also, please let us know how you do it.)
Families aside, we have a lot to do over the festive period. Food, drinks, gifts, finances and
that’s just the big day. It can get very overwhelming, especially if you are working full time or
when you own your own business.

This is also a shout out to my own mother who worked two jobs when I was growing up and still
made my Christmas look straight from those Hallmark movies every year. Thank you mum,
thank you.
So how do we do it? Well first off you are going to need to make yourself a plan. And this is no
ordinary plan, you need to split up your time into sections. This is only something I’ve learned in
the last year and trust me when I say it’s game changing. Plan your time well and plan it into
four sections; Must Do, Must Buy, Must Prepare and Miscellaneous.

Let’s start with Must Do:
Must Do’s are everything you HAVE to do during the festive season. Get a calendar and mark
everything on it. I’m talking about parties, birthday’s, Christmas markets, nativities (yes, they are
a must, even if your kid is the lobster at the birth of Jesus – which is a thing, who knew?), and
give a copy of this to everyone in your family that needs it and stick to it. If someone has to add
something, add it to everyones, that way everyone knows who is where and when on what day
and we won’t have any disagreements. (Apart from who thought little Billy was only good
enough to be the lobster)

Must Buys:
These are everything from gifts to food to decorations and all in between. Get a list, check it
twice. Mark when specific items go on sale, or when delivery slots for groceries open up. That
way you won’t have any scary surprises. And watch out for Black Friday, only buy what you
need and stay away if you don’t need anything.
Bonus Tip: I like to have alternatives for high ticket items that might be a headache to get. If
something is going to sell out, have a backup. It’s only Christmas. Don’t succumb to the

Must Prepare:
Two weeks before Christmas prepare your sides. Get your brussels washed and trimmed, peel
your spuds and prep all your annoying little time consuming items. Once they are prepped, dry

them off and place them in a freezer safe container and freeze for the big day. Trust me, no one
gets points for peeling tatties at 7am on Christmas Day, get it in the freezer, bang them in the
oven and relax with a smug Baileys knowing you have won Christmas.
Bonus Tip: this also goes for sauces and other jarred items. Prep them a few weeks in advance
and seal them in preserve jars for the big day to set.
I hate wrapping. I hate it. My mother is incredible at wrapping and puts Mrs. Claus to shame, but
me? Nope. I hate it.
So to avoid having a mammoth day of wrapping and paper cuts, I like to spend a week and split
them up into days for people. That way I’m not overwhelmed and I can do it little by little when I
buy them and I’m cutting down on the stress.

Have spare time for things that come up, because they will. Set aside a spare budget, spare time
and spare sanity because your kid will tell you on the 23rd that they need a costume for the
Christmas Eve Carol Singing or the like and you WILL be in your supermarket at 11pm at night
looking at a jumper with a Christmas pudding on it wondering how there wasn’t a parent bulletin
for this kind of thing. Even if there was, your kid still would forget to tell you anyway.
Do not panic. It is Christmas, we are all one more mulled wine away from passing out on the
sofa after the Queen’s Speech while Uncle Barry tells us about how he only got a lump of coal
in his stocking as a kid. It’s fine when the big day comes all the little things won’t matter.
Budget your time for events that will come up and save your sanity for another Eggnog.
Remember it’s one day that comes around every year, and last year we weren’t as lucky to see
our family, cherish your time with those you love and nothing else will matter. Apart from eating
the last purple Quality Street. That is unforgivable.

By Mollie Netwomen ambassador

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