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 17, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Thanks for these great ideas – we are looking forward to fun together over the holidays and more fun mum activities in 2014! Merry Christmas

  • Reply
    December 17, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Remember the real reason for Christmas…it doesn’t matter if u haven’t got lots of $ to spend on gifts…focus on Family, Love, Joy n the Spirit of Christmas…( well that and don’t forget to buy batteries to go into toys that need them to save sad faces on the day)

  • Reply
    Jacqui Fenton
    December 17, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Chocolates and home baked goodies wrapped in
    Cellophane are a good last minute gift idea 🙂

  • Reply
    Michelle K
    December 17, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Spare batteries of a few different sizes and don’t leave the grocery shopping till Christmas Eve!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Look out for specials on blocks and gift pack of chocolate in the week before Christmas, these make great last minute or surprise gifts and getting them on sale makes it much more affordable. My son also enjoys giving gifts to his grandparents, so we usually make some homemade treats together ad wrap them in cellophane for an affordable and love filled gift.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Do a grocery order online and pre book it to be delivered Christmas Eve – this keeps you out of the crush at the shops and free to get more last minute jobs done at home

  • Reply
    Rachel A
    December 17, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    I’m a big believer in lists and I think they’re essential at this time of year. My tip is to make lots of lists or you will forget something important – like me last year when I forgot to buy the roast for Christmas lunch and had to run around late on Christmas Eve trying to find something we could eat and ended up finding a couple of tiny BBQ chickens at Woolies. Merry Christmas!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Breathe, smile, laugh and think of the kids and making memories. I tend to get myself all worked up and stressed out (who doesn’t!?) about stuff that doesn’t matter. The kids won’t remember if the sprouts were hot or the gravy was lumpy but they will remember playing, cuddling, chatting and quality time with their loved ones. Merry Christmas xx

  • Reply
    December 17, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Count our blessings and breathe 🙂 xo P

  • Reply
    Virginia Mason
    December 17, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    We are delegating different jobs at Christmas so this takes a lot of pressure off. My last minute tip then is just to stop and enjoy this wonderful season with my family – put on a Christmas DVD, eat some festive popcorn and have some laughs together on the couch.

  • Reply
    Benjamin Travia
    December 17, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Encourage all family members to be involved in the preparations. Not only does it lighten the load, it makes everyone get into Christmas spirit.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Before any busy time, I feel it’s really helpful to grocery shop for specific EASY meal plans including a few extra meals to stick in the cupboard/freezer if you need something extra in a crunch (if more people come, etc).

  • Reply
    Jacky Barker
    December 17, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    You may be away and opening presents always have batteries (for toys), scissors to get the toys out of the packet, chocolates as a thank you gift, extra sticky tape (as it always goes missing) and some blank cards that can be thank you cards or gift cards

  • Reply
    December 17, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Give everyone in the family a chore to do, and a dish to make. Share the work – don’t feel like you have to do it all by yourself.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Buy yourself a Christmas present 🙂 You deserve it. Last minute tip, go through that list you made earlier in the year(people to invite, presents to buy, any bookings) and I highly recommend digital reminders

  • Reply
    December 17, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    share the love of christmas with as many people as you can…

  • Reply
    Sarah T
    December 17, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Make sure you have everything you need and everything is organised saves a lot of stress on the big day!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Loving the fabric markers and plain white canvas shoes idea! I’m sure my kids would love to do his – might just put them in their santa sack! There are so many good and inexpensive things at BigW …

  • Reply
    December 17, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    I love to keep Christmas extremely simple. We focus on spending time together over food and gifts therefore, I am not stressed in the lead up as we have all we need already! Christmas lunch is fruit salad and ice cream and dinner is salad sandwiches … Simple, fresh and just what we need on a hot day!

  • Reply
    December 18, 2013 at 7:40 am

    Write yourself a list. Cross off as you go, preparation prior to the day is always beneficial and cuts down on the stress load. If going away pack that Panadol in case of exuberant merriment and hangovers the next day, and for the kids remember the antiseptic cream and bandaids. If kids are anything like mine they get over excited and accidents are bound to happen.

    Most of all try to chill out and enjoy the day!

  • Reply
    Janet @ Redland City Living
    December 18, 2013 at 8:54 am

    My last minute tip on the lead up to Christmas – take a couple of days off work immediately before, if you can. Then you can enjoy all the fun and build up of preparing for the Big Day!

  • Reply
    Karen Edwards
    December 18, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I always make a list other wise I forget some last minute shopping etc

  • Reply
    December 18, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Enjoy the day – such a lead up and it is over in the blink of an eye!

  • Reply
    Pauline Stewart
    December 18, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Breathe! Just breathe! Take 5 minutes for yourself & just BREATHE. Christmas will come & the kids won’t remember if you forgot the custard or napkins. Take 5 minutes to breathe then get out & enjoy the silly season!

  • Reply
    Amanda Gorham
    December 18, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Definitely don’t forget to take a mental image of everyone enjoying their day! Photos never do justice and only help beautiful memories especially if you have children who will enjoy the magic of Santa. Myself, I have a 6, 3 and 2 year old and I’m so excited for them!

    Thanks for the opportunity and I’ve enjoyed reading all the tips already xxx

  • Reply
    December 18, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Don’t forget to schedule in time for a pre-Christmas catch up or drinks with the girls, as in your mum friends. I think we can forget that we too deserve to enjoy Christmas as well as organise it : )

  • Reply
    December 18, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Take a deep breath, and relax. If it’s forgotten, too late now, what will be will be, disastrous or fun, it’s all memories in the making.

  • Reply
    December 18, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Keep crossing things off that list, until it’s all done. Without a list, I’d lose my mind during the lead up to Christmas, with a big family and so much to do, it does get a little overwhelming at times.

  • Reply
    Stephanie Veljanovska
    December 18, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    For me I am a massive list writer and checker it keeps me in check. Each day I try to cross off one task it just makes it so much less stressful at the end.

  • Reply
    Mary Preston
    December 18, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Make a list & check it twice.

  • Reply
    Deb K
    December 18, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Offer to babysit a friend’s kids for half a day
    So that they can get their last minute shopping done
    Most times the offer is generously accepted
    And lovingly returned!

  • Reply
    Marcia Coventry
    December 18, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Breathe and enjoy yourself. If you do forget something, it’s not the end of the world. Trust me, last year I forgot Christmas crackers!

  • Reply
    December 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Don’t leave buying cream and eggs until Christmas Eve, most places will have sold out.

  • Reply
    Catherine Pitt
    December 18, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Don’t forget the batteries.

  • Reply
    Rebekah Ballingall
    December 18, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Avoid Going to the Big Shopping Centers on Christmas Eve to do Your Shopping, Shop Local to Avoid Crowds and Hassle

  • Reply
    Kim m
    December 18, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Put things like bikes together a week before (they always take longer then you think!), arrange with a neighbour to store them at their place and try to relax!

  • Reply
    karina l
    December 18, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Don’t leave your shopping to the last minute! Doing it online is even better!

  • Reply
    laura butler
    December 18, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    such great ideas!

  • Reply
    December 18, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    My tip is to RELAX! It’s okay if things don’t go exactly as you planned. The things that go wrong are the things we laugh about in years to come.

  • Reply
    Jennifer B.
    December 18, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    I make LISTS, never fret and have a stock of these made up for unexpected small presents… http://theorganisedhousewife.com.au/printables/gift-idea-christmas-cookies-in-a-jar/
    (The added beauty is if there are any left after Christmas, we can eat them ourselves!)

  • Reply
    Jacky B
    December 18, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    For the last minute gifts & extras avoid the big shopping centres & shop locally, then you’ll have the opportunity to connect with your local retailers & avoid a huge amount of stress.

  • Reply
    December 18, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    My last minute tip is: Delegate when you can! Not everything needs to be done by yourself. Others can help!

  • Reply
    Kasey Evans
    December 18, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    If you don’t have time to make it from scratch it’s ok to just buy it!

  • Reply
    Lauren A
    December 18, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    Buy a few non-gender presents like a box of chocolates, or biscuits, or wine, to wrap and put under the tree, for those unexpected callers who arrive with a gift. This saves a lot of embarrassment on both sides.

  • Reply
    December 19, 2013 at 7:16 am


  • Reply
    Melissa Antolovic
    December 19, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Remembering to ask myself “whats the worst that could happen if I don’t do/get….” to avoid the last minute panic

  • Reply
    Cathy Stone
    December 19, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Feeling stressed as you are running out of money to buy your last christmas gifts, Give gifts of time, which show your love and are so practical, such as making up a babysitting voucher, cooking your friend a meal, offering to collect and look after their pets when they are away or giving them a massage. These gifts will be so appreciated by loved ones and friends as a lot of thought has gone into them.

  • Reply
    Mick G
    December 19, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Keep an emergency supply of 1/2 dozen small presents in the cupboard. Perfect for all emergency situations

  • Reply
    December 19, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Kid’s artwork can be turned into unique Christmas cards and tags if you run out of these – saves negotiating the crowds and gives a personal touch to the gift.

  • Reply
    December 19, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Take some time out (an hour, half-a-day, etc) to do something non-Christmas related, so that you can clear your mind and recharge your batteries.

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