Tips for a smooth Christmas

Christmas is a merry, bustling and emotional time for people the world around. For the lucky ones, this festive season means time spent enjoying gifts and laughter with the ones we love.

In 2018, 61% of us planned to visit friends and family over Christmas and New Year. 2019 is bound to be no different, which means that many of us will have a house filled to bursting come Christmas Day. With all the enjoyment and goodwill that Christmas brings, comes the pressure and occasional family tensions that go with it. Here are our tips on how to plan a smooth ‘together’ Christmas.

Set a budget

In December 2018, we spent just under £446,000 every minute on Christmas gifts alone. Why not avoid awkward moments this year by setting a budget among your friends and family? There’s nothing worse than unwrapping a gift you know must have cost at least three times what you spent in return (overindulging on gifts for the grandchildren aside!).

Secret Santa

For large groups of friends, Secret Santa can not only help spread the cost, but also ensure that everyone gets a quality gift. Put your names in a hat and draw out one each, set a budget and a date to exchange gifts – simple and far less stressful than agonising over multiple gifts. Plus, it can be great entertainment watching the unwrapping of the surprise gifts as you try to unveil the secret shopper.

Alternative gifts

New fads and trends pop up every year at Christmas – some with more potential for injury than others (remember hoverboards?!) – but why not go down a slightly different path this year? Here are some gift ideas the grandchildren will love.

Create a rota

With lots of people in one house all expecting a Christmas feast, masterminding the festive meal can be a huge undertaking. To avoid arguments and help spread the work, why not give everyone a job for the day? Whether it’s setting the table, basting the turkey, chopping the veg or steaming a pudding, every little job shared will make Christmas Day much less stressful.

Draw up a cooking timetable

On a similar note, anyone who has cooked a roast dinner knows that one of the most difficult elements to manage is the timing.

“When did the turkey go in? What time should I put the potatoes on? Oh no, I’ve forgotten the carrots!”

Do away with all the stress by writing up a ‘running order’ for the cooking and stick it on the fridge. It will dramatically reduce the necessary brainpower and leave you free to enjoy a Bucks Fizz or two in the kitchen.

Go out for dinner

More and more local restaurants are open on Christmas Day and Boxing Day (Audley restaurants included). So, if you really can’t face the heat in the kitchen, take yourselves out and let someone else take care of the effort.

Some restaurants offer private dining, so you can still play host this Christmas.


A study found that over 80 million UK gifts opened on Christmas Day require batteries, but 52% of families are likely to forget to buy any. 1 in 4 households will even pop out on the day itself to save tantrums! Stock up on AA and AAAs in advance to avoid a Christmas Day panic.

Whatever your plans this Christmas, make them count and enjoy making new memories this festive season.