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Family Christmas Tips

15 December 2018

With 10 days to go until Christmas we share with you some top tips each day to try and make the family festivities that bit more manageable.

Behind all the mince pies, tinsel and John Lewis adverts, Christmas can be a particular stressful time for some people and their families. Whether it is time or financial pressures or just the worry of interacting with particular people, for those few days in December things can often feel too much to handle. That is why we have decided with 10 days to go until Christmas to share with you some small things you can try to do, to make sure you enjoy the festivities. Check back here every day for a new tip added to the list.

10. Don’t forget you

Saying no or delaying a gathering or task is ok! Don’t feel obliged to rush yourself off your feet to make everyone happy apart from yourself. Schedule in some ‘me time’ too or space things out so you have a free day. Starting your Christmas prep early can help with this. Space your days out and if someone invites you to a party or an event, it is perfectly ok to say something like, “I’d love to come but it’s been a very busy week and I just need a bit of a rest. Maybe, we can arrange something another time?” That way you’re being honest with the person but looking after yourself too. Make sure you are taking a moment to relax and enjoy the festivities.

“Christmas with the family can be challenging”

9. Be prepared and manage expectations

For many people, Christmas with the family can be challenging. If you are worried about arguments or feeling frustrated and disappointed, prepare yourself as best you can and keep your expectations realistic. Make sure you have slept the night before and are feeling rested. If you have been out partying all night, you are going to feel a little sensitive the next day. Try to manage your expectations of people too, so you can avoid feeling let down. If you can, try and see things from others’ perspective to better understand where they are coming from.

8. Activities & things to do

Spending quality time and keeping the family entertained doesn’t have to cost a bomb! There are endless amounts of games and activities, just a few YouTube tutorials away. Simply search for free games or cheap activities (relate them to Christmas if you want) and you could have mountains of fun. From the Reindeer antler challenge, to crafts, to games and activities of all sorts. Most of them are free or very cheap, you’ll have tons of fun, a good laugh and make some great memories – all whilst relieving the festive frustration and de-stressing. So go get some ideas and have some fun!

7. Free cash or gifts

You can save money, earn extra money or receive free gifts by researching who you bank with and considering if they are the best option. Some banks offer monetary bonuses or gift giveaways – just for switching to banking with them. You could end up with a spare set of Bose earphones or extra £100 in your Christmas kitty or the bank by January, if you switch in time, with the right bank. Other smaller scale tips such as throwing your loose change in a jar to save, year-round, can make a world of difference come Christmas time.

6. Discount codes and free trials

Big companies know that if you’re going to order gifts online that they can charge you for the shipping/postage costs. But, you can often get round this by looking out for the free trials. For example, Amazon usually offer a free trial of Amazon Prime – even to existing customers who have already have had a trial. You can order all your Christmas shopping and avoid paying all those extra postage costs, for free! Just make sure you cancel your subscription before the trial is up and it’s all free. A similar idea often exists for entertainment sites. So, you can keep the family entertained on the day or throughout the run up, if you keep your eyes peeled. Other companies simply take advantage of displaying vouchers online so that those in store, miss out on the savings. So again, have a search and keep your eyes peeled! Don’t forget it is important to find out the conditions of each individual site and keep on top of the dates, when signing up to free trials.

5. Beat Black Friday

Not every Black Friday deal is actually a deal! So, don’t wait until late and buy everything in the Black Friday sales, as not only are you not guaranteed the best deal or that there will be enough in stock, during the demand. But you’re also causing yourself unnecessary stress when buying. If you know there’s only 1 or 2 payday’s left before Christmas, by the time Black Friday comes around, don’t hold out for the day and over stretch your pay check. Ditch the Black Friday rush and the pressured purchasing or be a lot more tactical. Researching and keeping an eye on prices, across different site during the run up or at the time or even using a price comparison site – can be fantastic help.

“Price matches, discount codes or free shipping – it’s worth shopping around!”

4. Shop around

Smiths might be down the road but is it actually worth it? Sometimes, when budgets are tight and time is short online is the way. Also, consider smaller high street stores too – you never know what gems you may find hiding. A lot of bigger stores will do price matches, so if you can find it cheaper online elsewhere then see whether your local store will match the cheaper price. If you’re shopping online create your account find your product and then leave the product in your basket. It’s not guaranteed but some retailers will see that you haven’t finished you purchase and email you a discount code or free shipping, to encourage you to go back and finish the purchase.

3. Early planning  

Ok so it isn’t always possible but where you can, plan! Get out the calendar and work out what you are doing and when, make a list of things you need to do so, you can check things off. Avoid the crowds in shopping malls and high streets, which can leave you feeling stressed and exhausted, as much as you can… Wherever possible try to start early or consider doing your Christmas shopping online. Saving time by buying online or in smaller stores or by planning ahead, is a great way to keep things feeling relaxed at Christmas time.

2. Swapping gifts for memories

If the pressure to buy a present for every member of your family and their dog is too much, why not try giving memories instead of gifts? Maybe you and a friend or your family can have fun instead of spending fortunes, on gifts that will do nothing but clutter wardrobes. Visit some Christmas lights, go for a wintery walk (all wrapped up) or invite each other round for a day/night in. Grab a movie make some hot chocolate or do some baking together. Have a laugh, make memories and save some pennies. Christmas isn’t a retail festival it’s about spending time with family and friends, whilst making great memories and having fun.

1. Your family

Family means different things to different people and can come in all shapes and sizes. Spending time with the people you care about is what Christmas is all about. It doesn’t matter if that is your friends, grandparents, next door neighbour or even Daisy the dog. Take a moment to appreciate the people close to you. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t blood relatives with the people you are spending Christmas with. Christmas is about embracing the people important to you, whoever they may be!

Thanks for reading today, we hope this gives you some useful things to think about this Christmas and don’t forget to check back tomorrow for another tip!

If you are a parent or carer and worried about Christmas or need some support you can get in touch with our National Parent Support Service free via telephone, text or email.

We hope you have an enjoyable time.

Merry Christmas from Family Action.