Christmas: On the Home Stretch (plus giveaway)

Sponsored by BIG W

My mind felt like it was about to explode as I attempted to fit in all the little things to remember.  I like being organised, but when I don’t take the time to invest in strategies, I end up reactive, trying to keep one step ahead of myself, instead of being proactive.  So I stopped: I went to a play centre with the kids and let them run rampant; I sat with a cup of tea, my computer and iphone; I planned and organised.  Ah, the calm that came over me! Not because I had less to do, but because I felt like I could achieve it!

This is the last post in my #BIGW_HintSquad series together with Christie from Childhood101, Naomi from Seven Cherubs and Trae from Where’s My Glow?.  I’ve enjoyed putting these posts together and I hope it’s been useful to you too.  For this last one, I’m sharing some of the strategies I put in place on the home stretch to the wonderfulness that is Christmas Day.

BIGW_Hint Squad

BIGW_Hint Squad

Excerpt from Woman’s Day Magazine

1. Stop

When I feel overwhelmed, it’s a cue to stop and regroup.

2. Write lists

Lists, list and more lists!  It’s the only way I can keep track.  I keep different lists for different things, mainly for food, and then a separate one for gifts.

This year, I had a look at different free Christmas gift apps and decided on Santa’s Bag.  I set a budget for all my presents and I’m pretty happy with this app and how I can group recipients in family groups and keep track of where I’m at which each gift (that is purchased, wrapped and given).

santa bag christmas list iPhone app

3. Shop (or Window Shop) online

I do a mix of online and offline shopping. I usually look online for inspiration and to help me plan what gifts I need to look out for when I’m at the shops in person. BIG W have an online shop plus a Click & Collect service where you can shop online and pick up what your order.  I did this for my photo Christmas Cards.  **(Check your estimated delivery time to ensure your gift arrives in time for Christmas)**

4. Plan the trip

Plan where to go before you hit the shops. I make a rough mud map of where shops are and where to go first.  I find this helps save me time when I get there.

5. Extra gifts

For unexpected guests, it’s fabulous to have a few gifts up your sleeve.  I like nuts, chocolates and dried fruit.

6. Gift Ideas

I asked for fabulous, useful and fun gift ideas for children and families on my Facebook page recently.  I like this as a guide for gifts from Mum and Dad:

Something they want

Something they need

Something to wear and

Something to read

Gift Ideas

  • Monster kit: 3 containers, one with play dough, one with feathers and one with bits of pipe cleaner, google eyes.
  • Book and a floor cushion
  • PJs, Popcorn & a DVD Pack
  • Family portrait session
  • Gardening pack: Pot, seeds, watering can, spade
  • Box of pretty hair things
  • A journal, stickers and a set of sparkly pens
  • Personalised cap (with name or initial)
  • A bowl, topping and $5 to buy a tub of ice-cream
  • Packet of fabric markers & a white t-shirts or shoes
  • School Holiday Kit – bubbles, drawing pens, art pads, pavement chalk

I found items at BIG W and put this school holiday fun pack together for under $50

school holiday pack - christmas gift

 school holiday pack - christmas gift

A plain white T-Shirt or shoes and a pack of fabric pens is such a fun and unique gift idea for kids. (Design ideas here)

decorate shoes with sharpie fabric pens -- draw on shoes

Last minute party Christmas favour

tic tac snowman - on beafunmum.com

If you’re looking for a last minute party favour idea, these ‘snow’ packs are super cute and simple to put together. They are a fabulous stocking filler or table decoration.  Click for instruction and a free printable: Snowman Tic Tac printable.

What you need

Tic Tacs

Blank Sticky Labels (PDF Printable here)

Sprint to the end with a plan! That’s what I say! And Merry Christmas!


Congratulations to Rebecca, Gemma and Tiffany the winners of the last 3 giveaways.  I have another BIG W voucher on offer for those last minute purchases. Use the rafflecopter form below and leave a comment answering this question:

What is your best Last Minute Tip in the lead up to Christmas Day?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

T & Cs – Must be over 18 year of age, Australian residents only, judged on merit.  Please read full terms and condition in the link above

*Giveaway ended. Congratulations Christie*


This post is sponsored by BIG W.  All views and materials (including photographs) produced are my own.  You can read my disclosure policy here.

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  • Reply
    December 19, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Lists are essential to avoid any last minute dashes to the shops which are crazy even now. So is relaxation and taking time to enjoy the moments we our little ones, even wrapping presents and cooking together can actually be fun tasks if you let them. My almost two little boy ‘helped’ wrap his dads presents with me yesterday and got great joy just from using the tape (in very odd places)! Merry Christmas everyone.

  • Reply
    Nicole White
    December 19, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Prep, prep, prep!!! Prepare as much food as you can the night before…chop, dice, slice, and grate whatever you need for the next day and pop into Tupperware containers, boil salad eggs, lay out fresh seafood platters on a bed of rock salt to keep it fresh for the next day etc. Basically – just do as much as you can the day and night before (with helpers) to make less work for the big day! 🙂

  • Reply
    kerry santillo
    December 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Be organised and dont stress.. The day before , go through your present checklist and food checklist. Any food that can be prepared the day before, make it and refrigerate.

    thanks for the great giveaway, merry christmas 🙂

  • Reply
    Danelle Ehrke
    December 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    My last minute tip: Use your friend! Drop your kid(s) off at her place while you grab that last pressie. Then, do the same for her!

  • Reply
    Rebecca sampson
    December 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    My last minute tip is to relax. It will happen. Don’t get so caught up you forget to enjoy the magic of the season!!
    And maybe have a glass of wine.

  • Reply
    Anna M
    December 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Have fun! Christmas is meant to be about family and fun, so don’t stress. Enjoy the season and have fun.

  • Reply
    Lauren Alderton
    December 19, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Don’t get sucked into buying something just because it’s on sale! Make a list and stick to it, will save you time and money. Then enjoy the little things, the excitement on your children’s faces, sing Christmas carols together and eat chocolate for breakfast!

  • Reply
    T. Vidal
    December 19, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Write a carefully planned list and stick to it. Stop, take a breath and eat and drink before you go shopping and try not to take the kids.

  • Reply
    Katrina Corbett
    December 19, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    To remember that most shops close late and even at midnight which makes picking up layby’s so much easier.

  • Reply
    S Armstrong
    December 19, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    If you forget something, just go with flow, feign surprise. Forgiveness is in the Christmas spirit, they can’t stay mad at you for to long.

  • Reply
    December 19, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Great tips Kelly! My last minute tip is to be creative. If you find you’ve forgotten something or someone, think outside the box; a handmade voucher promising time or a task from you can be a great and unique gift and might just be the best present they receive this year! I wish you and yours all the very best of the season Kel xx

  • Reply
    Alisia Cameron
    December 19, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    It doesn’t matter if you arrive at Big W two minutes before closing time, do NOT, under any circumstance, buy those pre-wrapped chocolate or toiletries gift packages! Nothing screams “I FORGOT YOU!” or “I have no idea who you are or what you like!” like one of these gift packs!

    Also, wrapping presents will take a BAJILLION times longer than you think it will. Yes, a BAJILLION. And you will need 5 times more Christmas paper than you expect.

  • Reply
    Trish MLDB
    December 19, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    I am following this too –

    Something they want
    Something they need
    Something to wear and
    Something to read

    My last minute tip is to take 5-10mins to sit down and give thanks for a year filled with blessings. We have so much already, if one thing is missing – no matter – who will notice.

    Merry Christmas Kelly.

  • Reply
    December 19, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    My last minute Christmas tip is to make sure you get your rest, too often we burn ourselves out and end up a frazzled mess on Christmas day. Make lists and read them often. Give yourself a cut off time each day to just put yr feet up (maybe make even more lists lol) and take care of you! No good being a tired wreck on Christmas morning, your present to yourself is to enjoy the day 🙂 Merry Christmas to you all xoxo

  • Reply
    Naomi Slender
    December 20, 2013 at 7:10 am

    Pick one night in the week before Christmas to stay up and wrap presents so you can relax and get some sleep on Christmas eve, before your little jelly beans are jumping on you at 5 in the the morning!

  • Reply
    Lisa G
    December 20, 2013 at 7:25 am

    It’s all well and good making lists but when things start to feel overwhelming, make a cuppa and sit down and read/check off your list. Seeing what has already been done will make you feel like you have achieved something and everything left to do won’t seem so scary.

  • Reply
    Rebecca A
    December 20, 2013 at 7:50 am

    My last minute tip would be to make sure you grab a glass of wine (after the kids have gone to bed), sit down, relax and check your lists in peace. If you have forgotten something, don’t stress (it’s too late anyway), say “ah well” and grab another glass and enjoy.

  • Reply
    Melissa Jones
    December 20, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Play joyful carols and light up Christmas tree to wait for the moment with family.

  • Reply
    December 20, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Take advantage of online stores with same day delivery, call stores ahead to check stock and ask if they will express post items for you. You’ll be surprised how many stores offer this service.
    Also entertain the kids by getting them to help with food prep – decorating gingerbread men is a fun game.

  • Reply
    Jasmine Yuswak
    December 20, 2013 at 8:37 am

    The lead up to Christmas is like school exam time. All the planning and prep has been organised in my head. What can be done will be done and whatever I forgot wasn’t important any how. I just wanna enjoy and relax with my two little girls and not get caught in the hype. Keep it simple and a bit magical. Merry Christmas all

  • Reply
    December 20, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Planning and preparation. Lists, lists, lists. And in the last week when everyone is on a buying bender I try to remember 2 things!
    1. One thing they Want, one thing they need, one thing to wear and one thing to read! They don’t have to get hundreds of presents to enjoy Christmas!
    2. The one thing kids love more than presents is quality time with their family, if in doubt don’t buy it, go home and hang out with them instead!
    Have a Merry Christmas Everyone!

  • Reply
    Nicole kent
    December 20, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Divide up the food between your family members so that its not so overwhelming for you. Each person brings a plate and you decided what they bring so that you don’t have 6 desserts and no turkey.

  • Reply
    Ian Hawkins
    December 20, 2013 at 9:54 am

    eat and don’t stop until next christmas

  • Reply
    Zoe Lafferty
    December 20, 2013 at 10:34 am

    You can never buy too much stickytape!!

  • Reply
    December 20, 2013 at 11:28 am

    relax..what’s the point of being frantic? If it’s not done, it’s not done. The world will not end, enjoy and be resourceful.

  • Reply
    December 20, 2013 at 11:40 am

    If you run out of wrapping paper, newspaper and a bright coloured ribbon can look quite cute 🙂

  • Reply
    December 20, 2013 at 11:58 am

    SIt down and have a coffee and chill. Does it matter what isn’t already done. If it is still essential – sit and enjoy your coffee first, then prioritise. Don’t tell anyone what you were planning so no-one else will know what didn’t get done!!

  • Reply
    Susan daly
    December 20, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    I take 1 day off work while mr5 is still at daycare… That’s my day to wrap his gifts – but any extras and spend the afternoon pampering me!! Then u feel like I am ready for Christmas!!

  • Reply
    Anna Maree
    December 20, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Always make sure you have more wrapping paper, ribbon and tape then you think you will need but if you run out dont panic. Kitchen Tinfoil is great to wrap with looks amazing with bright ribbons tied around it.

  • Reply
    mellie jane
    December 20, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Get the kids out from under your feet and helping out by turning chores you want done into a game like a version of a treasure hunt with clues and tasks to complete leading to a treat at the end. They will have fun and you will keep your sanity.

  • Reply
    December 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    For a clean house on Christmas Eve, assign each family member a room of the house… first to finish their room (properly!) gets to choose one present from under the tree to open early 🙂 Works a charm in our household!

    Thanks for the chance, love Big W and this sure would come in handy! Merry Christmas 🙂

  • Reply
    Michelle Gray
    December 20, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Remember Big W is open late!!!

  • Reply
    December 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Online shopping is golden, and while it might cost a dollar or two, it’ll save your sanity if you get it giftwrapped!

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