It’s the most wonderful time of the year – well, it’s supposed to be anyway.

But for many of us, Christmas can be a stressful time too. There’s just so much to organise. And every year it seems expectations get higher and higher – which is no wonder when phrases such as “be the perfect host”, “the ultimate Christmas” and “best ever yet” get thrown around so readily.

The pressure is officially on – and I’m not just talking about the cooking.

That’s not to say Christmas shouldn’t be a celebration – of course it should be! But I do think it should be just as exciting, special and wonderful for the person hosting Christmas, as it is for everyone else.

And that means cutting back – not on the tins of chocolates (I would never suggest such a thing) – but just on the amount we give ourselves to do.

The endless cleaning, sorting and decorating – it all takes its toll. If you have the time and enjoy it – brilliant! But what if you don’t? Well, you can still enjoy a fantastic Christmas without all the added stress.

Here are my top 10 tips for a stress-free Christmas. Perfect if you have kids, a large family, or simply want to spend some time actually relaxing during the holidays.

How to have a stress-free Christmas

1) Lose the trimmings

Trimmings – a necessity at Christmas and a source of stress for many. Whether it’s extra pigs in blankets or the brandy and vanilla butter. Trimmings take up money, time and energy.

So, it’s going to really help cut down your workload if you narrow down exactly what’s needed – and what isn’t. Prioritise and do away with anything that isn’t actually necessary.

2) Get a little elbow room

Squeezing 10 family members around a four-person dinner table isn’t going to help you feel relaxed. Not having enough room just makes everything feel cramped and cluttered and it can cause extra stress trying to find places to put everything!

Make sure everyone has room to enjoy their Christmas dinner by getting a folding table. They’re easy to set up, decorate and keep clean and more to the point, having one means you can actually fit everyone in! And when you’re done, they can be just as quickly folded flat, ready to store away.

3) Bin bags at the ready

Christmas Day is inevitably filled with discarded wrapping paper, popped party poppers and torn party hats. And although it’s fun to enjoy the festivities – and all the coloured paper that comes with it – clearing up can be time-consuming and put a real downer on things.

Make sure that everyone does their bit by keeping some bin bags on hand. That way, the mess is minimised and clearing up doesn’t have to be a big part of your day.

4) Set up an adults-only area

If you’ve ever spent Christmas Day with young children then you’ll know that having a place where you can get a little time out from all the chaos, is definitely a must-have.

And if you’re going to be hosting kids as well as adults this Christmas, make sure you set aside a room that is for the grown-ups only. That way, everyone can take some time out to catch their breath and have a quiet glass of wine. It could be in the kitchen or simply a little space outside.

These Bistro Table and Stool Sets are perfect for creating an area that’s just for adults. They also help to keep glasses of wine and beer out of reach from the kids!

5) Kids’ storage at the ready!

Speaking of children, if you have some of your own, then it’s most likely that an influx of toys and gadgets is coming your way this December 25th. And that means having to find a place to put them all!

Get ahead of the game with a colourful 3 Tier Storage Unit. They’re perfect for storing everything from stationery sets to toys, gadgets and dolls. They also help to keep everything tidy and organised after the kids have gone to bed.

red yellow and blue kids storage unit with colourful boxes for the toys and stationary

6) Dinnertime made easy

Christmas dinner is rarely a small affair. And when you have piles of plates, dishes, cutlery and sides to bring through to the dining area, transporting everything is no mean feat!

Give yourself a helping hand with a Serving Trolley. They not only make setting the table and clearing up a stress-free experience, but they also give you extra space at the dinner table, so that you can spread out and relax.

black and silver serving trolley with lots of crockery and wine glasses on being used by a woman

7) Schedule in breaks

Families – you’ve got to love them, haven’t you? But as much as it’s wonderful all getting together, it’s also wonderful to have a little break from each other now and again!

To help Christmas Day run smoothly – and to avoid any unwanted tantrums – make sure you schedule in breaks throughout the day. That way, you don’t all spend the day cooped up in the living room!

Walks, movies and games are all great ways to focus the attention so that everyone stays in the festive mood.

8) Get a little me time

And speaking of breaks, if you’re the one who’s in charge of making sure Christmas Day runs smoothly – or simply runs at all – make sure you get to enjoy the day as well.

Put all those new face creams, bath bombs and hair oils to good use and sneak off for a little pampering after lunch. The perfect remedy to manning the oven all day, it’s a great chance to get some time out and relax.

9) Buy don’t bake

While the preparations are in full-swing and you realise you have a little too much to do, it’s always a great help if you haven’t already promised to put on a spread of homemade baked goods beforehand. This will certainly help tick a few things off the list and cut down the amount of time you need to spend in the kitchen.

10) Be kind to yourself

Every year, the expectations of Christmas seem to get bigger and bigger. So, make life a little easier for yourself and put the expectations aside. Everything doesn’t need to be perfect and not polishing the skirting boards isn’t going to stop anyone from having a good time.

Relax and give yourself a break. After all, it’s only Christmas!

For more festive ideas and inspiration, head over to our Instagram and Facebook pages @HartleysDirect.