With family visits, freezing temperatures, hyped up kids, not to mention all the scrumptious dishes you're expected to whip up, the Christmas holidays are often an exhausting time for parents.
So how do you keep your Christmas relaxed yet make your kids and everyone else happy? These are my top tips to minimise the stress this Christmas.
In the weeks before hand
The first thing you should do is adjust your children's expectations and make sure their expectations are within your budget. Children love getting involved and being creative so if you have time, be inventive and help them create something as a present or help them bake something.
Wrap your presents as you buy them - this will definitely save you time on Christmas Eve.
I always buy and wrap a couple of extra presents for Christmas - some sweet-smelling soap, chocolates, bath essence - then if someone drops in or gives you a gift unexpectedly, you'll be prepared with something for them.
A couple of days beforehand
If you haven't already, start cooking. Now's the time to make anything that can be done in advance. Sausages in bacon and cranberry sauce for example can be done well in advance and frozen. Peel all veg the day before and bag up and store in the fridge. Set the table the night before as well - you'll have more time to make it look really special and Christmassy.
I suggest putting batteries in the kids' presents before I wrap them. You can even test and assemble the toy beforehand before Christmas when they are in bed!
Don't forget to recharge the batteries on your camera or video recorder.
On the day - make it easier on yourself
Don't drink too much or it'll spoil the day - you can liven up (and water down) champagne or sparkling wine by mixing with a fruit puree (watermelon, strawberry, raspberry or pomegranate are nice). You can even make your older children feel grown up by giving them a grown-up glass of bucks fizz - just use orange juice and lemonade instead of your champagne, and don't muddle up the glasses!
The big feast
Make sure your kids don't fill up on chocolate gifts first thing in the morning by preparing them a quick but appetising breakfast but remember Christmas is about having fun with your family- if your children don't like sprouts for the rest of the year, they're not about to start now.
Delegate tasks for the Christmas lunch so you're not stressed getting everything ready on your own. In my family we have the kids on the potatoes and sprouts, the older ones laying the table, my brother carving the meatÃ¢¬¦there's plenty to go around!
After you've eaten
Sit back and relax - enjoy your family and friends and then, why not make a game of it? The classics are the best. Amongst the games consoles and paraphernalia under the tree this year, make room for a Monopoly or Cluedo, then sit down as a family to something you can all enjoy.
Have an activity planned for Christmas evening - whether it's a walk before it gets dark, a game or a film. It'll keep everyone in the Christmas spirit!
Boxing Day and beyond - get some fresh air
Days out in the festive period can be cheap or even free if you're clever about planning. Why not visit some of the local, free attractions such as Blaise Castle, Ashton Court or Leigh Woods. You'll blow away some of the cobwebs and walk away some of those calories! The fresh air will do you all the world of good and the physical activity will help ensure everyone gets a good night's sleep.
Keep Children Engaged this Summer
Tips for parents to ensure a happy, engaged child this summer who is prepared to go back to school..
5 Tips for Parents to Raise a Little Genius
Parents want their child to amount to something meaningful, but how much do we play a role in this?
Moving House Checklist
Sainsbury's Bank shares some great tried and tested tips for moving house so you're covered
Top Tips to Help Your Child Ride a Bike
Here are nine steps to help your child ride a bike without stabilisers.
20% OFF PERSONALISED SCHOOL LABELS
School is about your kids losing themselves in learning; not about losing their supplies.
With Stuck On You, you can ensure nothing ever goes missing again—from clothes and shoes through to drink bottles and lunchboxes. For a limited time, take 20% off the entire range of Stuck On You labels!
Since 2001, Explore Learning have helped over 200,000 children to excel academically, reach their potential and achieve the best possible results.
Mapped to the school curriculum, we ensure children progress academically and develop socially, changing their attitude towards learning.