So here we are, January is upon us. There was no snow at Christmas and no peace on Earth globally. Too many people will have been sucked into a commercial Christmas and one they cannot afford. So perhaps now is a good time to take stock of last Christmas while taking notes to prevent a GroundHog Day Christmas December 2019.
Did you really need to spend as much as you did?
Could you really afford what you bought or have you racked up debt that will haunt you all year?
Have you been binning leftover food?
Did you really enjoy Christmas?
Were you stressed out at Christmas?
Were you exhausted post Christmas?
The list goes on and on.
Christmas should be about you and yours. You do not have to celebrate the same way as others. In fact you do not have to celebrate at all if you prefer not to!
Rows, frayed tempers, broken relationships, fists to the face and body, drunken binges, huge debts and more are sadly Christmas reality for many.
Why set yourself up for such a scenario?
Now is a good time to plan for a very different Christmas from now on.
New Year's resolutions are fine but by now most people will have broken them. You can take stock and plan a fresh start at any time of year.
Rather than making "how you do next Christmas" part of a New Year's resolution simply plan ahead.
Think about what you enjoyed, what you did not like and what you hated and commit to implement change for the better.
Obvious ways to limit the financial burden include:-
Stick to a shopping plan. Avoid spur of the moment purchases. All the glittering Christmas paraphernalia for sale looks grand but do you really need the latest baubles.
Put a little money aside for Christmas as and when you can.
Make a list, just like Santa, and stick to it, buying any bargains you come across during the year.
Identify problem areas over Christmas and consider how you can avoid negative situations.
In the end Christmas is just another day unless for you it has religious significance. Holiday time from work, along with the children on holiday from school, can add pressure on relationships, but only if you let it.
So you hated Christmas 2018? So what are you going to do to prevent Christmas 2019 following a similar path? After all whether or not your Christmas is stressful is down to YOU!
Have a peaceful Christmas, tips and ideas
A more peaceful Christmas
Avoid Black Friday spending pitfalls
Decorating your Christmas tree on the cheap
What to do with Christmas leftovers
I don’t know about you but I love putting up the Christmas tree, arranging all of the cards and decorating my home with lovely, twinkling Christmas lights, when the holiday season comes around again. Most readers may agree but how many of you feel the same about taking the tree and decorations down at the end of the season, and packing them away for another year?
Not very many probably although sometimes we are ready to move on and away from Christmas time.
Pre-Christmas most people, especially children, are excited and looking forward to the Holiday season but once it is over many of us are looking forward to January and perhaps a poor cash flow, a return to work, freezing cold weather, never ending sales of cheap and cheerful Christmas cards and paper, and not much else. Big deal!
No wonder some people get a little depressed post-Christmas.
In this frame of mind the dismantling of the Christmas decorations is just another chore and one that is tedious and time consuming. However it does not have to be like that.
If you decorate your Christmas tree with a few chocolates, some Christmas crackers and the odd surprise they will add to the fun when it is dismantling time again. If you do this perhaps you could easily persuade the whole family to join in with the task of dismantling the tree. A few crackers could be pulled, chocolates scoffed and surprises opened to make the job in hand more enjoyable.
Plan of action
It is best to plan the dismantling a little beforehand rather than just begrudgingly try to hide Christmas for another year. As with most chores the work will be easier if it is organised and planned well. Make sure that you know:-
• what you are going to store the decorations in
• where you will store them until next Christmas
• just who is responsible for what.
If there a few of you allocate jobs so that perhaps one person takes the decorations down, another dusts the decorations, one wraps them carefully in tissue paper and the other packs them away. A few glasses of the remaining Christmas sherry, plonk or stronger will help keep your spirits up whilst you work.
Decide also what you are going to do first
It may be the wisest choice to take down the lights before the tree or the other way around. A lot will depend on just how many decorations you have put up, the type of decoration and your circumstances.
Think about the best time of day to start removing your Christmas decorations. Perhaps it will be as well to do the indoor decorations after the little ones have gone to bed.
Obviously it will be wise to tackle outdoor lights and decorations before it gets dark and only in decent weather, if possible.
Many people choose to do this work on the weekend, nearest to Twelfth Night, as they have more free-time.
Do not vacuum until you have finished all of the dismantling and packing away as you will be wasting your time. Whatever you do you will still leave you finding small bits of tinsel and Christmas tree way into spring.
Do not be silly. Make sure that you follow safe working practices when you take down any decorations at home or work. If you have to reach up high or climb steps or ladders ensure that:-
• the steps or ladders are suitable and fit for purpose
• you do not overstretch
• you are not in the house or workplace alone
Take your time
Try not to rush. If you pick a free day you can take your time. This will ensure that you are safe, the decorations are undamaged and that they will be stored well for use next Christmas After all you do not want to have to buy new Christmas decorations just because you have been careless, do you?
Make sure that you have suitable storage space set aside before you start dismantling your decorations. Ensure that you have all the tools that you need out and to hand. These may be scissors, tape, packing boxes, dusters and tissue paper. Try to clean and wrap everything well ensuring that electricity leads and wires are tangle free.
If you pack well your life should be a little easier next year when you set about decorating your home again for Christmas.
Think how you will organise the storage space also. For example our decorations are stored in the loft of our home which has limited access. Because of this the heavier items are put in last, so that they are near to the trap door.
Finally label each box so that you know just where the lights are, for example. This will help if you want to change which decorations you put up each year and will also help you get items out in order.
Much as putting up the Christmas decorations each year can be enjoyable this is not usually the case if you have simply dragged all the decorations down as quickly as possible the previous year, thrown them totally disorganised into any old box and topped them off with a tangled and twisted mass of Christmas lights.
Of course you can do this if you want to but I for one prefer to keep the cheery Christmas spirit a little longer, take my time taking the decorations down and be well organised for next year. In the long run this saves time money and tempers from fraying.