04 December 2018 Seven simple steps for a stress free festive season As the festive season rolls around and we prepare our homes for friends, family, food and festivities, it’s easy to get caught up in it all. This year, we’ve got some simple steps to help you enjoy a healthy, happy festive season. Step #1: Make lists A wise person once said: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Create a bunch of lists to help Christmas day run smoothly this year. Gifts lists are essential; they will help you stick to a budget and avoid the inevitable stress that comes with Christmas shopping with the crowds. If you plan to host lunch or dinner, a guest list is a must. Lock in guest numbers early, then move on to your food and beverage lists! Step #2: Embrace Secret Santa Shopping for the little ones at Christmas is always fun, but it can become costly when there are lots of big people to consider too. Why not get together with your loved ones and agree to do a Secret Santa for the adults. Simply pop everyone’s names into a hat, and pick one out to choose a gift for. When you only have one adult to buy for, you can really put the time and effort in to choosing the perfect gift for that special person. Step #3: Jump online Christmas is a busy time of the year and it can be tricky to set aside time to shop, meaning we often get caught up in the last minute rush. If this is the case for you, try shopping online – choose gifts from the comfort of your own home or office and have them shipped direct to your door. Make sure you get in early, leaving plenty of time for parcels to arrive. Step #4: Create e-cards Why not save on paper, money and time this year by creating a cool e-card to send to family and friends. Personalise your electronic card by including a festive photo of your family and a special message for each of your loved ones. You won’t have to worry about your mail arriving on time – an e-card can be sent instantly! Step #5: Share the load If you’re hosting Christmas lunch or dinner this year, plan a wonderful menu and ask family and friends to bring something along. This could be something as simple as a cheese platter, salad or dessert; guests are usually more than happy to pitch in, and a little bit of help can go a long way in making your day run smoothly. Step #6: Get wrapped Some stores offer free gift wrapping at Christmas time, so be sure to take them up on the offer and save yourself some time. Charity gift-wrapping services at shopping centres and malls will also wrap presents for a small fee. Take advantage of their services while contributing to a worthy cause. Step #7: Stay healthy Although ‘tis the season to be jolly, limiting those Christmas indulgences will make for a healthier, happier holiday season. Enjoy festive food and alcohol in moderation, try to get enough sleep, and keep moving! Also try to maintain the daily rituals that keep you sane for the rest of the year; this might be a morning walk with your dog, a 10-minute meditation or a cup of tea and a good book before bed. All of these things will help provide the stamina you need to make it through the festive season in one piece!