Five Christmas cheats to keep you from losing your sanity.

Isn’t it sad that the thought of Christmas being just a sixteen days away fills us with a combination of panic and dread.

But I still have to finish Christmas shopping.

But my roots are showing.

But I haven’t organised all of the food.

But my seventh cousin twice removed just said they’ll be joining us and I don’t know where I’m going to put them.

But, but, but, wait, wait, wait.

Some people haven’t even started Christmas shopping yet (me), too busy frantically completing work before offices shut down over the festive period at the same time as attending end-of-year school assemblies and concerts and awards presentations.

Alcohol is not the answer. Alcohol is NEVER the answer.

Do everything on this list and you may even find yourself looking forward to Christmas.

All you have to do is get smart about every decision you make in the lead up to Christmas. Organise everything with military precision, and festive cheer will return. Do everything on this list and you may even find yourself looking forward to Christmas and I mean really looking forward to it, without any sense of dread or stress of panic.

Just pure, unadulterated, Christmas joy.

Okay you are looking forward to Christmas, but are still feeling a bit of PANIC!

This is the definitive list of Christmas cheats, our gift to you.

1. The Uber of cleaners

Cleaning, before and after Christmas, has to be one of the biggest drains of time, energy and joy. In the lead up to Christmas there is rarely time to properly clean and organise your home, not to mention your outdoor areas. Hire help. Farm it out. Get others to do the things you just don’t have time to do properly. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You can find help locally and more affordably through GumTree or use this awesome app at Whizz for fast and reliable cleaners. They cater too. Shhhh. Book them for a day or two before Christmas and then – and this is key – a day or two after. You don’t have to do it on your own.


2. Plan all the food

If you are anything like me, you are a list maker. I have lists on paper, in the Notes section of my phone and sometimes on my hand. When it comes to Christmas food I have multiple lists. I write out the menu, then write the shopping list, then amend the shopping list. It is endless and exhausting. Enter Food Planner, the app. This brilliant app will help you construct your Christmas menu and then create a corresponding shopping list for your convenience. Even if you aren’t hosting the main Christmas lunch and are relegated to hosting a subsidiary get-together (serving food and lots of leftovers to more distant friends and relatives later in the day like me) it will save you.

If you’re having trouble decorating your Christmas tree and you’re just not happy with the results, take a tip from Buddy the elf, courtesy of the movie Elf. Article continues after this video.

3. Parabo

There are always a few friends and family who are impossible to buy for. At this stage you have probably either purchased or planned gifts for those who are easier to buy for. Everyone else can get a gift courtesy of Parabo, as explained by our Chief of Staff Jamila Rizvi on this week’s episode of Mamamia Out Loud podcast. It turns your photos into presents that arrive at your door gift wrapped. Order them today. No, they don’t do coffee mugs and that’s okay because as those of us who have ordered children’s photos printed onto coffee mugs know, the photos fade if you actually use those coffee mugs, and that looks a bit sad. These are much better quality gift options.


4. You matter too

Find one of those day spas that does everything – hair, nails, waxing, tanning – and get it all done. You want a place that understands you are busy, so so busy. You want to get in, and you want to get out. The reason this is important is because you matter too, and you know that if you’ve tidied yourself up a bit you will feel better and enjoy Christmas more. It will also make returning to work shortly after New Year’s much easier because there’s no way you’ll have time to get your roots done before returning to the office. Getting it done before Christmas will definitely buy you some time. Style Seat is a great way to find someone close to you, as is My Local Salon.

5. Everyone gets a job

Friends, family, children, pets, everyone should be pitching in for Christmas. Even guests are not just guests and Christmas. They WANT to help. Some of the most interesting conversations happen in the kitchen as you prepare lunch or set up the outdoor area, even as you clean and pack up. Chore Monster will “inspire” your children to help. The rest just have to pitch in. If they want to eat, that is.