Tis the season!

I’m sitting here watching Simply Nigella Christmas Special and I realise it’s December already, the 7th to be precise. Christmas day is merely 18 days away! It might sound like a lot but with everyone thinking Christmas, the days leading up to the holidays might get hectic if not planned well.

The Christmas break brings time off from regular routines and work for most. It’s a time to relax, but I have found at times I am completely exhausted by the ‘festivities’.

If you are feeling like you’ve left planning too late for this season, no worries! It’s not too early to start planning for the 2018 December holiday. But here’s what you can do ahead of time and get the most out of this December holiday:

 

 

Plan your meals in advance and buy what you need now if you can, that way you avoid the inevitable rush. I plan on having Christmas dinner with my family on the 24th as I find church in the morning too busy and tiring if we do the cooking on Christmas day. I’m going to make it so big there’s enough left over for supper.

 

 

I love roasts and I plan on preparing a roast tossed in with potatoes, butternut, and carrots. The other side dishes will depend on who is around. I’ve planned a roast meal as this takes the least energy and I am free to enjoy time with my family.

 

 

The 25th of December will be a chilled time of braaiing with enough left overs for supper too (and maybe lunch the next day). Oh, and the side dishes will be prepared the day before. I am a dessert girl, but I have planned for only simple desserts this year!

 

 

Not only have I planned the Christmas meal, but I have planned meals and desserts leading up to so as to have a more relaxing break.

I’ve found the following meals to be stress free:

1. Braai with sadza and Tomato & Onion Gravy Recipe and coleslaw.

2. Any type of roast and I find that any cheap cuts work just as well, potatoes and green beans and a gravy go well with any roast.

3. Rice and simple chicken curry with vegetables.

4. Spaghetti Bolognese.

5. Sadza with beef stew and vegetables, separate or mixed.

6. Chicken casserole, started on the stove top and completed in the oven, this can be served with rice if required or desired.

7. Ice-cream and tinned peach slices.

8. Easy cupcakes.

9. My favourites are individual glasses layered desserts (use whatever you have from yoghurt to seasonal or preserved fruit, ice-cream, custard, crumbed biscuits, sweetened fresh cream, etc.).

Entertainment for yourself and the kids can end up being quite costly so invest in games or come up with games you can play with friends and family in the evenings, or better still everyone has a turn each day to come up with entertainment for the family.

Most people are rushing around to buy Christmas presents a day before Christmas. This can be strenuous! Buying a meaningful present for someone requires thought and thinking ahead. In future you can even plan your presents months before.

A clever idea in a family might be to toss names of family members in a hat and do a draw of who is buying for who so that you are not buying presents for each and every person. This works well in a big family like mine and it has been a tradition for a long time.

Create traditions. look forward to our cornflakes with hot, sugary milk on Christmas morning whilst we open our presents.

Please make sure you remember to take photos with your loved ones!

One thing to do is to get your clothes and accessories ready for going out, be it weddings, dinner with friends or work parties.

Kudos to you if you have planned a family getaway for this year. The best getaways are ones that are all inclusive and you don’t find yourself working a bit too much. A family getaway is possible even on a low budget if planned well in advance, or even off peak season so that by the time Christmas comes a staycation is welcome.

Watch your spending at this time! There are lots of weddings, plan for them, right down to your travelling arrangements. Plan for the season ahead too. Budget well so you know that the January season is taken care of. I’ve tried to pay most bills due in December and January, so I know how much is truly available to me for emergencies.

I hope I’ve managed to get you thinking about the season and the planning wheels are turning at this point and you plan enough to have a stress free festive season this year and the next.

If you have questions and you would like more tips, please email us or DM us on our Instagram account or leave a comment below.