Tips for keep­ing calm at Christmas

The Horowhenua Mail - - CONVERSATIONS -

It’s De­cem­ber 24 and you’ve for­got­ten a present? Try the su­per­mar­ket, says a Neigh­bourly mem­ber. You’ll be sur­prised at what’s there.

Christmas is meant to be the most won­der­ful time of the year, but some­times it’s the most stress­ful. Neigh­bourly asked mem­bers to share their top Christmas sur­vival tips; here are some of our favourites.

‘‘Don’t panic if the shops are shut and it’s Christmas Eve and you’re sure you’ve for­got­ten some­one,’’ says Jess from Beck­en­ham. ‘‘The su­per­mar­ket is a sur­pris­ingly good place for emer­gency gifts – and it doesn’t have to be a plain box of choco­lates ei­ther. My favourites are fancy Mex­i­can hot choco­late in the tea and cof­fee aisle, and a posh jar of peanut but­ter.’’

‘‘Al­ways have a cou­ple of ex­tra gift-wrapped presents on hand, just in case a vis­i­tor calls by,’’ says Ter­rie from Kens­ing­ton. ‘‘Boxed choco­lates, bis­cuits or lol­lies are per­fect as ex­tra gifts – if they’re not given away they can be used later.’’

Keen to avoid wrap­ping loads of gifts on Christmas Eve? ‘‘Ask for free present-wrap­ping at shops,’’ says Ch­eryl from Kai­waka. ‘‘A lot of shops do this but just don’t ad­ver­tise it.’’

Look­ing for ways to save money? ‘‘Agree with your fam­ily to buy each other sec­ond­hand presents,’’ sug­gests Ab­bie from Gate Pa. ‘‘Ei­ther find a gen­uine present that you hope they will like, or I of­ten go for some­thing silly that we can have fun with and then re-do­nate to an op shop when we’re done with it.’’

‘‘After liv­ing in the UK and hav­ing the full English Christmas din­ners, we now keep it sim­ple,’’ says Edith from Maraenui. ‘‘We pack fresh sal­ads, cold meats cooked over a cou­ple of days

‘‘Al­ways have a cou­ple of ex­tra giftwrapped presents on hand, just in case a vis­i­tor calls by.’’

be­fore­hand, a cheese­board and crack­ers, and Christmas cake and pud­ding, then head to the beach or park and set up for the day.’’

‘‘If peo­ple are com­ing over for Christmas lunch or din­ner, ask ev­ery­one to bring a plate of food to share,’’ says Annette from Park­lands-Marsh­lands. ‘‘It’s stress-free and cheaper on the pocket if ev­ery­one pitches in, and there is al­ways enough food to go around.’’

Wendy from Have­lock North likes to make Christmas Day fun. ‘‘One year we made a treasure hunt with a series of clues lead­ing to a present,’’ she say. ‘‘We also have a tra­di­tion of tak­ing a group photo with masks, hats or what­ever’s avail­able.’’

‘‘For some, Christmas can be a very lonely time of the year,’’ Ann from Motueka says.

‘‘Call on your neigh­bour, take a wee gift, share your Christmas cake or large ham, and in­vite them over for a drink.’’

If you’d like to make Christmas 2018 eas­ier, start your plan­ning now.

Mary from Nel­son ‘‘shops all year for gifts and has a spe­cial ‘gift shelf’ which is es­pe­cially use­ful when I sud­denly, un­ex­pect­edly, need an ex­tra present for some­one,’’ while Anna from Nel­son South ‘‘buys Christmas club vouch­ers each week start­ing in Jan­uary, and by Christmas I have a good amount avail­able to spend at the su­per­mar­ket.’’

Keen to read more Christmas sur­vival tips? Read the full list at www.neigh­ christ­mas­sur­vival­guide.

Don’t let Christmas wear you out.

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