Yes, it’s almost upon us – ruddy Christmas with its
accompanying horror of a ‘to do’ list. Grumpily facing the prospect of the
usual chaos, it’s mighty tempting to take to the sofa with a glass of wine for
a good procrastinate. Yet if we take a leaf out the book of more sensible folk
and put in just a little pre-planning, we really can create an altogether
greener, cheaper and more relaxed Christmas.
Think simplicity, think delegation! If we can pare back our responsibilities
and turn the festive grind into a shared family project, we’ll have more time
to spend with the ones we love. And as they say, that’s what it’s all about.
Round up the troops, make a pot of tea, get out those
special biscuits and let’s get cracking…
Designate your family
Decide which days of Christmas will be ‘family only’ and add
them to the calendar. These days will be for peaceful times together with your
inner circle, however that’s composed. Attendance mandatory, you teenagers!
You may want to combine the above with a ‘no screen’ day –
no TV, no laptops, no tablets, no phones, just good food, carols on the radio, a
pile of silly board games and perhaps a stroll.
Make any travel and guest
If you’re visiting family for Christmas, nail down those
dates asap! Same goes for anyone invited to stay with you.
The sooner you can buy your travel tickets the better,
price-wise. Use cashback sites such as Top Cash Back and Quidco for extra savings on train and coach
journeys. When public transport isn’t going to work, think about lift sharing,
either with family and friends heading in the same direction or via the Liftshare car sharing community website.
Make sure the epic task of producing the ‘perfect’ Christmas
doesn’t fall on the shoulders of one hapless soul this year, if you know what I
Delegation usually works best if you play to people’s
strengths: foodies planning the meals
and the grocery list, artistic types working on the
decorations, people person liaising with Aunt Judith and Uncle Brian. Yes,
kids can take charge of jobs too – in fact, Christmas is far lovelier if
everyone has played a part.
Present buying and
Again, it’s no fun if one person has to rack their brains
every year to come up with appropriate gifts for dozens of relatives, assorted
friends, work colleagues and acquaintances. A family brainstorming session
solves this issue in a couple of hours. Ask the following questions:
>> Do we really,
truly need to buy presents for all of these people? Gift giving for politeness’
sake only creates an obligation to return the gesture and, yes, it is possible
to have too many bath sets and scented candles. Would a nice card and heartfelt
>> How much are
we able to spend? Maybe the answer is ‘very little’ in which case, head on
over to our article on homemade
edible gifts. Either way, set a budget and stick to it.
>> For groups
of grownups, can we start a Secret Santa tradition? Each person then gives
one gift rather than several, hopefully leading to more carefully chosen
presents for all (and more money in the bank post-Crimbo.)
>> Can we give
fun experiences rather than potential clutter? An experience is far more
memorable for the recipient of the gift. If you have points to spend in your
Greenredeem account, take a look at the discounts we’ve swung for you on Red Letter Day
gift experiences and English Heritage
membership. Few clicks of the mouse and that’s your presents sorted.
>> When can we
get together and do the cards? Make Christmas card writing a family affair.
Many hands make light work, so you might even be able to fit in making
your own cards this year!
How do you get a head start when planning for Christmas? Share
your tips and comments with us here or via Twitter and Facebook!
Easy Christmas DIYs
Join us for the 12 Days of Christmas Recycling!