Start getting ready for Christmas

Enjoy a stress-free pre-Christmas season

Yes, you’ve read that right! Christmas! It’s still October and I’m speaking about Christmas?! No, I haven’t lost the plot. I want you to enjoy the last 2 months of the year and not experience the mad rush like in previous years. So what am I proposing?

A number of activities are on my list to make this pre-Christmas season the most enjoyable for you!

Decide whether you’ll be celebrating and where. Speak with your family, whether here or abroad, and discuss how you’ll celebrate this year’s Christmas. Perhaps you have to work and it can’t be the traditional celebration. Maybe flights for you and your family are exorbitant and you chose to stay at home.

If you’re going to travel, book your flights. But also, if you are staying here and you are planning to eat out on Christmas day, make reservations before the venue is booked out. Give them a call to find out their current availability.

Establish a budget. Now, this budget should ideally be based on your regular monthly budget. I recognise that not everyone does this (yet). Start by looking at your available funds. I struggle with the concept of taking on an extra job or putting gifts on a credit card. There are other (free) ways you can gift someone.

A budget is not only for presents. You may need to save for that flight home and also book hotel accommodation. Even if you’re staying at home, you may have other family members visit or entertain friends. You may opt to dine out at a special restaurant and wear a new outfit. All these items (e.g. flights, hotel, rental car, new clothes, food, dining out) need to be included and be listed in your budget.

In my family, we’ve removed the craziness about gifts when we decided to not spend more than 30 Euros (about AED 130 or USD 35) per person. While it was a challenge in the first year, we’ve loved having simplified our giving and nowadays, we’re giving mostly time or joint activities as a present. It’s fantastic!

Start collecting your presents now. You may want to gift everyone in your circle of friends, but your finances may tell you to select the most important friends. Create a list of family members and friends for whom you’ll have a present.

Some suggestions for your gifts The Emirates Literature Festival is offering early bird tickets. Meeting their author and being involved in kid friendly reading sessions may encourage that bookworm to read even more.

As the weather is becoming so wonderful, why not buy a new swim outfit to your little ones and spend the weekends with them on the beach? There are plenty of options to swim, paddle board or for the more adventurous kite surf.

For the foodie in your family, prepare some homemade dishes. There are fantastic recipes where you can get the ingredients and create a little food basket for them. Alternatively, you can put all ingredients into a jar, they just open and mix it all according to the recipe attached to the container.

A plant can transform a room. If your friend has been talking for weeks about wanting to make a change in her home, select a plant with a cachepot. In Europe, poinsettia is a typical plant given around Christmas.

Take control of your calendar. Just like you’re managing your money, be conscious about Christmas parties or other Christmas activities. If it’ll mean you’re running from one appointment to another, is that stress really letting you enjoy the meeting? In our busy city, you may also want to consider the commute time before accepting invites.

These days, I only accept one invite per day. I’ve noticed that saying “no” allows me to fully enjoy the events I do go to and we’re spending quality fun time together. One event I’m already looking forward to is at the end of November when one of my friends and I will be making traditional German Christmas cookies together.

It’s only 56 days till Christmas and like this year, they’ll fly. This year, start the festive season in a relaxed way and enjoy it to the max. What are you tips to stay cool as we’re counting down the days till Christmas? I can’t wait to read your tips!

Until next time,

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