I will say this is the most unlikely post I’ll ever wrote. I’m definitely NOT a naturally organised person. But this is the tale of how I went from Christmas Mess to Organised Success. COMPLETE WITH HORRIFICALLY CLICHED PHRASES. YA WELCOME!
So, two years ago I got served at Woolies by a checkout chick named Sally. It was a week or two before Christmas, and she asked if we were all organised for Christmas. And I straight out barked with laughter and said “NO! THAT IS WHAT THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS IS FOR!”
And then I said: “Well… what about YOU? Are YOU organised for Christmas yet?”
She replied: “Of course. I’m done with my Christmas prep by the end of November every year. All the gifts are bought and wrapped, and I’ve stocked my pantry, and I’ve meal planned and prepped. I just like doing it this way so I can just enjoy the season instead of feeling stressed about what needs to be done.”
That blew my fucking mind, clearly. Because it stayed with me. And come the next November, I thought of Sally, and I decided to try having A Very Sally Christmas, just to see what this Uber Organised Malarkey was all about. I set up a spreadsheet of everything I needed to organise, and a list of what to buy for who. And then I got started and finished up by end November.
And what do you know! I was WAY less stressed. I was perfectly SMUG with my organisational supremacy. We spent less money and were more thoughtful with what we bought. There was no rushing. Just… enjoying. Crazy, right?
So I repeated it again this year, and basically nailed it again. I reckon I’ll always do November Christmas Prep now – it’s that fulfilling and much less stressful.
Here’s the sneak peek into my spreadsheet
First up, my organisational to do list. I’ve still got a couple of things to do that I needed to wait on the timing for, but they’ll get done this week.
I’ll take you through the details of the list incase you’re interested:
- Food: This is my second year ordering a HelloFresh Christmas box – I loved cooking with it last year. We have 3 adults + 2 kids for Christmas. We get the 4-6 person box and it gives us a crap tonne of leftovers. If we don’t order HelloFresh, we usually keep it super simple. Pancakes for breakfast. A roast meat and roast vegetables for lunch. Leftovers for dinner.
- Gingerbread house: We’ve tried out a bunch of different gingerbread house kits before. Gingerbread Folk do the yummiest by far – and they also offer dietary sensitivity ones. I like they aren’t overly huge so we don’t have to throw any out. Just a heads up – the kits don’t come with lollies to decorate with. I just got a little cylinder of mini M&Ms to decorate ours with.
- Advent traditions: My kids share a LEGO Friends advent calendar every year, and take it in turns to do the build for the day. The pieces get added to their LEGO collection afterwards. We also give them new Christmas pyjamas and a Christmas book.
- Christmas cards: I order personalised Christmas cards with a family photo on it from Vistaprint each year. I have a Google Drive spreadsheet with the names & addresses of the 50 odd family + friends I send to each year.
- Christmas letter: YES, I am ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. I write a 2-4 page Christmas letter every year and send them to 50+ friends and family. And I’ve been doing that since I was 19! Ha! I blame it on the fact I grew up in the country. A Christmas letter was often the only time we heard from long-distance relatives! I bloody LOVE getting Christmas letters. Mine are artsy & illustrated. This year I drew it all using Procreate app on my iPad with Apple Pen.
- Santa photo: Ever since Starry was a baby, we get a family photo with Santa. I’ve got them all in white frames that I bring out and display every December. It thrills me to end to line up all 10 years of photos and watch as our family grows over the years. This year’s one will likely look different – Santa photos this year are either socially distanced or greenscreened.
- Print album for the year: I started this family tradition as well when Starry was a baby. I use Blurb to print my favourite digital photos for the year. I use their free software that pulls from your social media or phone (or both). I also like that the books are stored digitally on Blurb incase I ever need to reprint the books!
And then of course, the presents-to-buy list.
With kids, we usually do something like:
- Large toy (i.e. a LEGO set)
- Craft kit
- Something to wear
As I get things, I colour them in green so I know at a glance what I need to buy and what’s already sorted.
All in all, we’re coasting in to Christmas stress-free and without overspending or overbuying. It feels bloody glorious.
All because of Sally the checkout chick.
And one more thing, that’s arguably the most important: fuck having a perfect Christmas. Let it be ordinary. Let it be gentle. Lower your expectations and allow yourself (and the others around you) to be human.
May you have a super Sally Christmas this year.
I’m rootin’ for you!