Do you get caught up in the Christmas overwhelm each year, regardless of how well prepared you are?
Not this year mumma, because we’re bringing you the step by step guide to planning a budget- and eco-friendly Christmas without the overwhelm. Print or save it to your favourites so you can come back to it later.
Did you know, the secret ingredient to creating a magical Christmas for everyone is... YOU? Yes you mumma!
So if you're feeling well prepared and take some time to fill your cup throughout the season, I promise you everything else will fall into place.
Note: Adapt and change this guide to suit your circumstances and desired holiday feels. This is what works for me, but for you it may look different.
The idea is to follow this guide as a framework for your planning. Remember, as with any good advice, use what serves you and let go of everything else.
With this in mind, if you follow the below Christmas Guide, we’ll both be sipping our Salted Caramel Espresso Martinis (recipe included at the end) in bliss this season.
But for now, make yourself a delicious cup of coffee, take a deep breath, and let's get ready for a calm and peaceful holiday:
Step 1: Early November - Set the Foundation
1.1 Start a Christmas Journal
You can use a pretty paper notebook or a digital planner (I created a ‘project’ in the ToDoIst App, which has a free version, yay). This will be your holiday hub, containing to-do lists, gift ideas and meal inspo.
Consider everyone you want to buy gifts for this year and set a budget. I’ve created a gift tracker to capture gift ideas, tick them off once they are bought and again when they are wrapped. So simple but it’s been a life changer for me. If you’d like a copy, just message the word ‘gift tracker’ here and I’ll send you a copy to download/print.
Don’t forget to set a reasonable budget for decorations, special holiday meals, treats and festivity activities as well, it all adds up.
I find having written down what I’ll spend is really key to a stress-free Christmas for me, especially this year when it feels like everything has just exploded in price. It also makes me more savvy going after deals and avoid buying things I don’t need just because they’re discounted.
Getting started early with your budget planning also avoids having to splash out for last minute purchases – winning!
1.3 Eco-Friendly Decorations
Consider sustainable and eco-friendly decorations like reusable fabric bunting and natural materials. Make DIY decorations a family activity while listening to your fav spotify play list for Christmas – it’s budget friendly and can be a fun way to get into the holiday spirit together.
If you need more, visit local op-shops or try Facebook marketplace. And for new decorations, have a look on Etsy for beautifully unique and handmade decorations, I bought a couple of Macrame Muma collection last Christmas and will likely add more this year. There are a lot of small businesses out there making beautiful decorations and you’re not only getting something unique, you’ll also know a real person will be making a happy dance because of your support.
Step 2: Mid-November - Plan the Details
2.1 Tick off your Gift List
Finalise gift list for family and friends. If your kids write letters to Santa, send them now, so you can complete your gift tracker and keep on top of your budget.
Consider experiences or homemade gifts (for no fail delicious goodies check out the Christmas collection from Bake it by Giovannellis) to reduce clutter and avoid wasteful giving. Time is probably the most precious currency we have these days, so gifting spending time together or something you’ve spent time making can even work for kids if we explain why we choose giving this way over buying lots of things at the shops.
Buying local and from small business is also great because you know your money will directly support an Aussie family and profits will likely stay here in Australia. For adult gifting, I love buying local boutique food or drink gifts (our Australian grown coffee is always a welcome gift for coffee lovers), which have a higher chance of being used and not end up in the back of the cupboard.
To get notified on discounts and promotions for Black Friday weekend, sign up to email lists of your fav brands. Mark it in your calendar as a reoccurring event, it’s always the last weekend in November so you can schedule once and forget (this year it’s Nov 24-26 Nov)
2.2 Meal Planning
Not sure which meals you’ll want to make? Get the ball rolling to organise dates and meals with the family. If your family is like mine, this might take a while, but you can already start adding to your meal inspo list from magazines or pinterest.
If you’ll be hosting this Christmas, create a menu or allocate Starters, Mains, Desserts and Drinks so guests can start their planning, too.
Once you know the meals you’ll be making, see if you can organise meat from a local farm at your butchers, or put an order in for extra veggies in your veggie box?
Do you want to serve a uniquely delicious coffee for Christmas brunch, or create a holiday inspired cocktail? Remember, keeping it simple with high quality local and seasonal produce is better than an overload of food that just gets thrown out in the end.
2.3 Advent Calendar and Santa Photos
If you have capacity, prepare an eco-friendly advent calendar with your family which includes daily notes with small activities, such as nature walks, crafting ornaments, writing Christmas cards or a 5 min meditation practice.
Love the annual santa photo for the kiddies? Think about where you’ll get them, at the local shopping centre or with a photographer and schedule a date and time now.
Check in with yourself. Are you feeling overwhelmed already? If you are, let this one go mumma. If you really want an advent calendar for your kids, you can always get one from the shops. Bonus, you can take photos of your kids in front of the Christmas decorations at the same time, rather than waiting in line for Santa or getting organised for an actual photo shoot.
Remember, it's okay to say No and not tick all the options.
Step 3: Early December - Get into the Spirit
3.1 Self-Care Rituals
As the holiday bustle turns up a notch, it’s a sign for you to prioritise selfcare. Take 5 min in the morning to sit with your favourite cup of coffee (or tea), savouring each sip. Consciously incorporate small breaks throughout the day to breathe, step away from the busyness and into calm.
Schedule time to recharge if it helps you to follow through. You could even spell out exactly what you’ll do, like putting on a rose quartz eye mask and chill for 15 min before bed, writing in your journal or getting your partner to do a scalp massage with a delicious hair oil.
3.2 Mindful Gifting and Wrapping
If you’ve shopped Black Friday Deals, you’ll now have a number of presents you can wrap and tick of your gift tracker. Choose eco-conscious options like reusable cloth wraps or recycled paper where possible.
I decorate paper shopping bags with bits of left over Christmas wrapping paper. They look great under the tree and can be reused for many years.
3.3 Christmas Carols
If Christmas Carols are your thing, schedule them in and combine it with catching up with your local family and friends. They’re perfect for a low-key picnic with people you may not see over the holidays but want to catch up with before.
Step 4: Mid-December - Keep the Peace
4.1 Mental Health Check-In
Check in with yourself regularly. If stress creeps in, take a break, a breather and re-assess: What can you let go off, delegate, postpone?
Plan small islands of peace and calm that fill your cup during this crazy time, a bath, a 5min stretch in bed before getting up, an aromatherapy coffee scrub in the shower.
4.2 Have you Got What you Need?
Check your gift tracker to see who you still need a gift for. If you’re feeling to overwhelmed to think much about ideas and just want to tick off your list, consider vouchers at local restaurants or day spa/massage places, or for kids, visa gift cards or movie/fun park/adventure tickets always work.
Finalise your Meal Plan, make a grocery list and either order home delivery or do a shop buying everything that will keep now.
4.2 Quality Family Time
Enjoy making memories with your loved ones. The best ones can be free, like snuggling up watching a Christmas movie together, making Christmas decorations or cookies, walk or drive around the neighbourhood to check out Christmas lights and decorations.
Christmas is not only one day, follow the joy of the festive season in little moments every day.
4.3 Embrace Imperfection
Remember, done is better than perfect. Embrace the chaos and magic of this special time. Be kind to yourself. Carry an energising roller with you with the smell reminding you of your chosen mantra, like ‘I’ve got This’ and think of it every time you apply it.
The greatest gift for your family is if YOU are in a calm and happy place mumma, it’s more precious than anything you could buy with money.
Step 5: Christmas Week – Get Swept Up in the Magic
5.1 Final Preparations
Finish up last-minute details like getting table settings ready and wrapping any remaining gifts.
If you're going to a Christmas mass or Carols, select outfits and plan your trip, e.g., will it be difficult to get parking, how much time will you need to allow for? Have snacks and water ready.
If you're hosting and can’t face a big wash up, opt for recycled paper/timber or compostable plates and cutlery. Encourage guests to bring reusable containers for leftovers.
5.2 Unplug and Connect
Try and go as technology-free as you can this Christmas to fully connect with your loved ones. Once you’ve got your happy snaps for the family album, capture memories in your heart, not just on your phone.
5.3 Tune into your Emotions
Feel into what brings you joy and lights up your heart this Christmas. If it’s a time that also brings up sadness, allow yourself to honour those emotions, too. Be gentle and kind to yourself and find moments of quiet to process what you’re feeling.
Step 6: Post-Christmas - Reflect and Recharge
6.1 Gratitude Journaling
Take a few moments with your family to reflect on the holiday together. Share your fav moments of this season that brought you joy and sparked thankfulness. Pick a few and put them in a jar to store away with your Christmas decoration, so you can start the next season reflecting on the good times and add to the jar each year.
6.2 Reuse and Recycle
As you pack up decorations, make a plan for eco-friendly storage. Reuse, recycle, or donate items you no longer need.
6.3 Me Time
Set aside time for selfcare post-holiday. Try to keep your schedule light to have some flexibility in your day and just allow yourself to be.
Pamper yourself with a massage, a good book, a face mask followed by your fav serum or whatever fills your cup. Recharge and reflect on the beautiful memories created.
Make yourself a cuppa and reflect on the holiday season. How did you feel leading up to it? What stressed you out, what made it fun? What worked better than other years, what didn’t?
Capture the key points on post it notes and put them in another jar. Again, when you start preparing for the next holiday season, you can go back to these notes as a gentle reminder on what you’d want to focus on or avoid doing.
You did it mumma! You’ve created a magical Christmas and hopefully still have some juice left in your batteries to start the new year feeling loved, nurtured and energised to make 2024 your best year yet!
Want to share how this worked for you or what you did differently? Send me a message, I’d love to hear from you.
As promised, here's your simple caramel espresso martini recipe:
- 60ml (double shot) of Mumma's Beans Espresso cooled down
- 70ml quality vodka
- 50ml coffee liquor, we like 50 Mile Coffee Liqueur made with Australian grown coffee
- 30ml salted caramel syrup