Christmas Survival Tips

Does it feel like Christmas is bearing down on you like a freight train? On top of the gift buying, party planning and house decorating, Christmas becomes that monumental deadline when all those odd jobs around the house need to be completed because there’s no way we’re carrying any items on that ‘To Do’ list forward to another calendar year.

To help take a little stress out of your Christmas prep, here’s my list of five (light-hearted) ‘must haves’:

Wire cutters, bolt cutters and angle grinder – with these three grades of cutting implements, you will be ready for every eventuality. Nothing just comes in a box any more. Everything from Barbie dolls to remote control cars, power tools to kitchen appliances all come with enough cable ties and fixing points so that the item can withstand a Category 5 cyclone. We all know that the kitchen scissors are never up to the task (ever tried to remove a new pair of kitchen scissors out of their secure packaging? You need a really good pair of scissors, but…).

Batteries – you can’t have too many. We’ve all been caught out Christmas morning with the toy or device that takes a few dozen batteries (plus some for the remote), and they are always the type you don’t have in the house. Stock up and buy several dozen of every battery size and you can’t go wrong. We’ve already stocked up, so if you are having trouble finding batteries in North Western Sydney…apologies.

Night vision goggles – the bags of rubbish at the end of Christmas Day are astounding; there is always more material that will actually fit in your bins. My tip is, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, casually start asking neighbours if they’ll be away over the Christmas/New Year period. If so, offer to put out and bring in their bins – any additional capacity in their bins is yours for the taking. If they say, ‘no need, they’ll be empty’, that’s a bonus. If you can’t find a neighbour with capacity, this is where the goggles come in – garbage night bin raids. While one of those strap-on head torches would also do an adequate job when you’re checking in bins for capacity while both hands are full, nothing trumps night vision goggles if you want to go completely undetected by the neighbours.

Carbon Offset credits – following on from the previous point, even the biggest environmental sceptic will inevitably get a twinge of guilt over all those bags of present packaging, plastic plates, cups, cutlery, tablecloths (not mention the leftover food) going to landfill. You’ll sleep much easier Christmas night if you’ve purchased some carbon offset credits in advance, or at the very least, a dozen trees from the local nursery. What could be more fun than gathering family and friends to plant trees on Boxing Day?

Smart Phone Translator App – have you noticed that the instruction booklet that comes with that latest toy/gadget has about 50 pages and only 2 of those pages are in English? What’s more, they usually tell you little more than where to find the on/off switch. My theory is that some other people group/s must be receiving significantly more information in their language. So, when you need something more complex than on/off, the translator app will be invaluable (it may also come in handy to understand what that guy a few doors down is yelling at you when he catches you looking through his bins on garbage night).

Follow these five simple tips, and I guarantee this year will be your least stressful Christmas ever.

(Lastly, if you haven’t bought that stocking stuffer yet, check out my latest book, ‘More Like the Father‘. A great gift for the Father’s in your world).