Regina Ocampo from Cleanipedia shares her guide and advice on how to get ready for Christmas avoiding the festive stress.
1. Dedicate time to decorating your home for Christmas
Decorating your home for Christmas is always fun and – despite what some people may say – you can start as early as you like.
After all, there’s lots to think about; from colour schemes to the size and material of your tree.
Consider whether the colour palette you choose for your decorations goes well with your home decor.
You don’t need to follow trends if you don’t want to; you can always opt for classic Christmas combinations like green with red and silver with gold.
On the other hand, if you like the idea of something bolder and more modern then a pastel colour scheme can work brilliantly to achieve a soft, playful style.
Popular ‘alternative’ colours this festive season include mint green and classic pinks.
Or if pastels are a bit much, you can always keep your Christmas tree minimalistic, helping to highlight the beautiful natural green of the tree and complementing more sleek, modern decors.
2. Fake tree or real: it’s completely up to you
What should you consider before choosing a real or fake Christmas tree?
If you’re on the fence about committing to a real one, recent studies have shown that cutting down trees is actually more environmentally sustainable than buying a plastic one.
In fact, the Carbon Trust says that by far the best option is to choose a potted tree which, with the proper care, can be replanted to be re-used year after year.
It’s also important to pick a seller who farms their trees responsibly. That means the grower should plant at least one new tree for every tree they chop down.
However, in many cases the local climate doesn’t accommodate for pine trees, leaving households with little other option than to go with a fake.
One positive of these is that you’re likely to only ever need to buy one, as it can be kept for years – even decades – if treated properly.
A fake tree might also be your pets’ preference. Pine needles can be a risk to dogs and cats if swallowed and can bring unwanted bugs and bacteria into your home.
If it sounds like fake suits your needs better, then fibre optic Christmas trees can be a really smart option.
As they contain their own lights, you can reduce the number of decorations and lights you need to buy (plus avoid the dreaded fairy lights untangling each year!).
Plus if you’re really missing that fresh pine smell, you can always buy a scented spray.
3. “I want a real Christmas tree, but how do I keep it alive?”
From the offset, avoid buying a Christmas tree that doesn’t look healthy. You want to choose a tree that looks lush and green in the field and avoid ones with brown, dry or stiff needles.
It’s likely that your chosen tree has been in the same spot for weeks so before taking it home, make sure the seller trims the trunk.
Cutting about 1/4 of an inch straight across the base of the trunk will help to make it easier for your tree to stay well hydrated.
Once you take it home, you don’t want to place your tree in direct sunlight or near radiators as these factors can cause a tree to dry out prematurely.
A normal, room-temperature environment will give it the best chances of surviving the holiday season.
4. Involve the kids in decorating
Bright and shiny decorations are always popular with kids, but there are some safety considerations you’ll need to account for.
When it comes to baubles, avoid glass or anything spiky that could break easily or catch little faces as they lean in to admire their tree.
You might like to get crafty and make your own decorations as a family.
Help your kids create and personalise a decoration for each member of the family. After all, kids love anything with their names on it!
5. Get your guests to pitch in when it comes to food
Tasty, seasonal comfort food is one of the most exciting parts of Christmas.
Lots of families might love keeping it traditional, but it can be fun to encourage everyone to try one or two new things on the big day.
If you are having lots of guests over to eat, talk to them beforehand to get a good idea of what they like and even how they could help prepare dishes to share.
As a bonus, that means you can delegate some of the cooking and preparation tasks to others, relieving some of that stress from yourself.
6. Use unique eco-friendly wrapping for your presents
Though bright and shiny wrapping paper looks pretty, most are actually not recyclable.
This includes foil paper or any wrapping decorated with glitter.
Fortunately, there are all sorts of eco-friendly materials you can use to wrap presents instead that also look great under the tree.
Why not experiment with using old maps, pages from catalogues, magazines and newspapers, or even parchment paper to wrap your gifts?
For awkwardly shaped presents, you could use an old shoebox you’ve decorated yourself.
If you want to get even more creative, you could also try to make your own gift bags from craft materials and print photos to create Christmas cards or personalised tags.
You can also get inspired by Japanese culture and get to know more about Furoshiki, the traditional Japanese clothes that are used to carry belongings and wrap gifts.
It’s not only easy to do and eco-friendly, but it’s also a unique and memorable way to present gifts.
7. Give back to the community at Christmas
The Christmas holidays are not just about eating and socialising – it’s also a time to give back to those who so often go without.
When making your meal plan for Christmas, include dishes to be donated to homeless shelters or extra food you can give to food banks.
Christmas is also the perfect time to sort through your closets and give any unwanted and unloved clothes, toys, and books to charity.