How to Have an Amazing Christmas, Without Effort or Expense!
Here’s where you’ll get to know me a bit better – I am lazy when it comes to Christmas. I don’t host Christmas.
The only time I did was in 2015, 4 days after I moved to Melbourne from Canberra plus I had a birthday party to put on in between arriving in Melbourne and Christmas.
That’s right, in 5 days I moved 8 hours from my home to a new home, threw a birthday party and did Christmas.
I know Christmas is ages away, but every year I hear of people not being ready, not having the money and getting stressed out. It comes at the same time every year, yet more often than not it ends up a stressful and expensive time of year.
So here is my lazy guide to Christmas preparations!
Disclosure, there are a few affiliate links for things I use in this post.
1. Step AWAY from Pinterest!
Stop the comparison to the picture-perfect Pinterest Christmas. It’s probably fake, took hours upon hours to stage and the kids were nowhere to be seen when photos were being taken.
Get real, work out the Christmas you want, relax and have fun! Incorporate things you actually want to do or the kids would love such as decorating cookies or going to see the Christmas lights. Forget going over the top unless a Pinterest-perfect Christmas is your idea of fun. If it is, go for it and have a great time.
2. Get your Money Sorted!
I know money is tight in many households. Set a budget for Christmas and stick to it. How much do you want to or can you afford to spend on Christmas? Factor in gifts, food, travel and time off work (especially if you are casual).
Read how to easily get $2,000 in time for Christmas for ideas on how to make money as well as tips to save.
Set up a Christmas account and deposit regularly. I use Up because it’s easy, fee-free and you can get a $7 bonus within minutes of signing up. You can also create 2Ups where you have a joint account and lock any savings account by having someone else need to give you permission to transfer from it.
Next, work out how to make it work. Years ago I used to make gifts and buy presents throughout the year. Then people kept having babies and being one of 9 kids already, it means we have a gazillion nieces and nephews.
Can you imagine how big Christmas looks on my side of the family? Add to that my ex-husband was Polynesian, so he had a billion relatives on his side too.
Now, instead of everyone buying a gift for everyone, we limit gifts. Sometimes it’s a Kris Kringle style thing, but mostly, adults don’t buy for each other and nieces and nephews have their names selected out of a hat for one larger gift instead of 100 small gifts.
It’s cheaper, easier and the kids get something better that will last longer instead of 100 plastic things that break on Boxing Day.
If you don’t get the money side of Christmas worked out early, it can be difficult and you can easily overspend.
Lazy Christmas Planning
I have a note on my phone with who I am buying for and what I think I’ll get. When I can plan ahead, shopping in the sales or online early enough, I do. Many times, I have shopped the week of Christmas though which is stressful.
You could use an app or online organisational tool such as Evernote or Asana to create folders and lists for everything you need for Christmas, such as the following.
Write a list of who you need to buy for, what the budget is, ideas you might buy or make for them and a column for when you have made or bought their present. Read 17 cheap but thoughtful gift ideas.
Don’t host if you can avoid it. If you host, do a potluck and get everyone to bring something or look at ways to make multiple recipes from a few basics.
If you have to bring something and really can’t be bothered doing much, offer to do punch or non-alcoholic drinks. Punch is as easy as tipping bottles of liquid into a big bowl or container.
If you do alcoholic drinks, consider VINOMOFO for up to 70% off wines. Discounted wine sent to you is ideal.
Decorate with a kid theme. Get all the kids ‘art and craft’ from the years and use it to wrap gifts. You can also cut it into strips or decorations (if they will let you) to repurpose it as streamers, garlands or bunting.
Stop sending Christmas cards. Please. It is bad for the environment, clogs up the post and most people just throw them out. If you have to do them, be selective and maybe do an annual update instead.
Kids love crafts, especially Christmas crafts. Check out Pinterest for Christmas craft ideas such as a roll of butcher’s paper, stamps made from cut potatoes and paint for kids to make wrapping paper.
Are you at home for Christmas or do you need to travel? If you are travelling, what are your arrangements? The sooner you book, the cheaper and easier it is. Try Booking.com for great deals.
For starters, in our house we use fabric Santa sacks and stockings. These are reusable and mean I don’t have to wrap the gifts from Santa. For gifts to adults, use gift bags or reusable items such as tea towels and fabric bags.
Alternatively, if you want to wrap, use the kid’s artwork or do butcher’s paper as suggested.
Growing up we had a fabric advent calendar with pockets that could be reused each year. Lollies like M&M’s or wrapped Roses chocolates were put in the pockets (one each).
We would spend a Monday night in December writing notes to go in the calendar and it was a Christmas tradition we looked forward to each year. The notes had on them things we had to do that day such as a random act of kindness, smile at 3 people, sing a Christmas carol etc.
That’s not really a lazy tradition but it did make for a fun evening with the family organising it all plus created wonderful memories. Alternatively, buy the advent calendars online.
How do I do Christmas?
We are low-key. When my older kids were younger, I often had Christmas at my parents. Now, I have 4 biological kids (plus a stepdaughter overseas). My kids will be 10 months, almost 2, 13 and 15 at Christmas this year.
Justin is working so we can’t go far from our home which means another Christmas at home. For the past 3 years, this meant Christmas at the beach (Noosa then Jervis Bay before that in 2019). BBQ, gifts, their chosen breakfast etc. Fun, lazy and perfect for us.
Every year my kids choose a Christmas decoration and they will keep these when they move out of home. Some of the choices have been interesting but definitely show their personalities.
We see lights/Christmas decorations in big displays wherever they are. In Canberra we went to specific areas, in Melbourne we did the Myer Christmas display and walked around at night.
My kids decorate the tree. I do not need a Pinteres Perfect tree. I need my kids to enjoy Christmas and part of that is decorating it, even if it’s all lopsided.
Stockings have something to eat, something to read, something to do and something to drink.
Travel! We usually travel around this time of year. For 2022/2023 we are finally going back to Vanuatu to see our family. You want the ultimate lazy deal… go to the islands.
Naps after eating are encouraged always, life is at a slower pace and for me, our family do everything together so life is easier.
On the day we eat breakfast of pancakes, fruit, bacon, eggs and maple syrup is the norm plus chocolate milk (their request). Lunch is not always had because we are too full and usually we do a BBQ with salads and a chosen dessert.
I want Christmas to be as laid back, fun and enjoyable for all as it possibly can be. I don’t plan from 6 months out other than budgeting for it.
What do you do for Christmas?
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