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Tips for surviving the festive season!

That time of year has arrived again. It's easy to feel overwhelmed at Christmas; whether it's arranging family visits, buying presents or coming up with a catering plan. However, like most things assigned to you as a mum, forward-thinking can take you far.

Our friends at Tesco.com have given us a few suggestions to make sure your holiday isn't a hellish one.
Keeping the kids occupied

There's obviously more to this than buying them engaging presents – although a Baby Annabell doll for your toddler might give you a welcome break. Enlist your little ones as helpers; chances are they'll want to get involved anyway. Make your own decorations for the tree and not only will you save money but things like homemade paper-chains can become a fun family tradition. If you're planning some edible gifts this year, get your kids to help with the simpler tasks. Family members will love their decorated cookies or a gingerbread house.

Getting organised
Lists are the staple tool for planning ahead. Christmas cards, Christmas presents – who to buy for and ideas on what to get – and decorations needed.

Recycle as much as possible from year to year; if you don't have any reusable decorations or old cards to make gift tags from this year, then save some for the next one and thank yourself later. Online shopping is a labour-saving godsend, but remember to have it done several weeks in advance to make sure everything arrives in time. Buy presents for far-flung friends and family early and have them ready to go way before the mid-December last posting dates.

Family arrangements
Coping with the family at Christmas can be a chore. It's a good idea to enlist the help of a parent or sibling with accommodation, even if you're hosting this year. Make sure your expectations of what Christmas day will be like are realistic and accept relatives as they are – arguments often break out through wishes that things could be different. This is one aspect of the holidays you can't control but there are other things you can, like how much time you spend with family members and when to walk away from the table.

Support from family members and delegating tasks out as the days count down will really make a difference to your stress levels. Things like making decoration a team task or baking with the kids will keep the atmosphere light, while still getting useful things done, which is probably the best thing to aim for during the festive season.

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