First of all don't get too stressed. Christmas is meant to be quality family time together (yes I know some of you will be going WHAT!!!) others will agree with me.
So what are my top tips for not getting into a tiz over Christmas.
1) Buy a couple of presents each month. This year I was lucky and had all mine bought by middle of October and wrapped them together with labels (unlike last year, so had to undo the lot to work out each lucky recipient's name). By buying a present each month you don't notice a huge wad of money disappearing in one go and it makes it so much easier to cope with.
2)Stick to a budget, there are some wonderful gift ideas either on the internet or discount stores that don't look cheap but are very reasonably priced.
3) No matter how much you spend on someone it is the thought that really counts and if like me you put a lot of thought into who gets what most people are really happy with your choices. If they aren't they can always recycle them or give them to charity. I know someone who recycles presents and by mistake returned the gift to the same person who gave it to them a few years before.
4) Home made is nice but if you don't have the time, inclination or energy shop bought is fine most people don't know the difference and so long as there is food for them to eat they are happy. There is no need to stress about not doing things and putting pressure on what you think someone expects is just not going to ease the tension.
5) To really make Christmas special and less work for yourself and family you could always book a meal out that way no one is left with the chore of washing up. It depends on what everyone else wishes to do but if you each pay for yourselves then the bill gets shared too.
6) Don't build yourself up as to what gifts you will receive. If you don't receive something you wish for you can always try and obtain it in the January sales.
7) Spare a thought for those spending Christmas alone and if you know someone in this position try and send them something small to cheer them up.
8) Don't worry about what to wear at a party the main thing is you were invited for you to turn up not the dress you wear.
9) If you are going away to spend time with family or in-laws take things to keep you occupied like something to read, puzzle books or some games.
10) To prevent the feeling of guilt over how much you eat or drink from your hosts while you are away take some of your favourite food or tipple with you that way the family know you are contributing to having a good time too
I hope these tips help and that everyone has a Merry (HIC) Christmas and Happy New Year.