How to feel less overwhelmed by Christmas as a business owner.

Thank you to Barbara Steadman, owner of and long term WiRE member.

As a business owner, does Christmas fill you with a sense of too much to do dread?

For me Christmas brings mixed emotions.

I love the excitement, the build-up, the decorations, stopping the day to day, relaxing fun family time, seeing friends, the gifts, the food, the parties and the joy of it all.

But on the flip side, the overwhelm from adding all the extra things, to my already jam packed to do list, is a little scary.  One of the biggest tasks is all the shopping; gifts, food, decorations, party clothes, christmas jumpers, and more.

This year I aim to keep my shopping simple, minimal and guilt free.  Here are my top tips for doing stress free shopping (and Christmas preparations) for the business owner who already has too much to do.

  1. Make a list

The first step to any event, project or goal is to make a list of what needs doing.  Christmas shopping is no different.

I like to do my list in Word as it pretty much stays the same every year.  Refreshing it every year becomes a quick task.

Or there are some great Christmas planner books around too.  I mention one in my Christmas Preparations blog post.  You can keep everything in there, ready for you to refer to next year.

My list always includes gifts to buy, meal plans and food to buy, events to attend and what I need to buy / do for them, other things to shop for like tree, party clothes, decorations, advent calendar and finally all other tasks like write cards, prepare spare room for guests and spa day (if only!!).

  1. Keep it simple

“I am a business owner, I have no time to waste, I am not super woman”.   Say that to yourself 3 times.  Now go back through your list.  First of all does it absolutely need buying or doing?  If not cross it off.  Secondly, can I put it on someone else’s list?  I always wrote the Christmas cards, now we all do a few each.

  1. Consider who you are giving your money to for guilt free shopping

I am a small business owner, so that is where I put my money.

I shop at independent shops as much as I can.  I also do most of my shopping on-line.  A couple of years ago I tried to do all of my shopping with British independent shops on-line.  I failed because I couldn’t find them.

This year I don’t have that problem because I have setup a directory of British independent on-line shops.  So now I can easily find them.  There are literally thousands of independent on-line shops in the UK.  Imagine if we all did our shopping with them.  We would all be directly contributing to the UK economy and the little shop owner will be happy dancing for days!!

My shopping directory and shopping inspiration blog is where I share lots of different shops from across the UK.  I help you find the shops, so you can go and support them.

  1. Write your cards now

What jobs can you do now?  Before you get into the completely overwhelming busy period.  Write cards early or put some food in the freezer ready.  I always buy my turkey early and put it in the freezer.  I figure that as long as we have the turkey we have Christmas dinner which stops the food panic.

Can you order some of your food now for delivery nearer the time?  I have seen a lot of small food and drink shops on-line and on the high street say “order now for delivery for Christmas”.  Why not do it and tick that task off your list?  One less thing to worry about.

  1. Drag it out or do it all in a day

If we are not careful Christmas preparations and shopping can distract us during business work time.

To avoid this plan your time.

There is an argument for getting it all done early and then you feel organised.  Which is fine if you need to, go for it.

But for me that kills the fun of Christmas shopping, because at the end of the day preparing for Christmas is joyful.

I like to get my list done early-ish and then I feel organised. Even if nothing on the list is done.  I then do a few of the easy to sort now tasks and tick them off.  That takes a bit of pressure off.

Next, I look at my diary and book out blocks of time for Christmas shopping and preparation, including some Christmassy fun events. I like to do a half day for on-line shopping, when I get most of it done.  Obviously, all at independent shops!  Then another day for in person shopping, which normally includes a nice lunch (a girls got to have a treat sometimes!) and looking at all the Christmas lights and decorations in the shops.

Then apart from maybe a few fresh bits of food to buy, job done!!

  1. …and finally remember what Christmas is all about.

Will it really matter if that gorgeous wreath you saw on Pinterest doesn’t get made?  Will it be a disaster if your daughter doesn’t get the latest toy, which seems impossible to find because everyone else has been lulled into the marketing trap.  It will only actually get played with for 20 mins anyway!

When I look back at Christmas past I remember what we did, how it felt and who I spent the time with.  Which is what I want my Christmas present and future to be about too.

This Christmas I will be enjoying the build up as much as the main event.  I will be happy in the knowledge my hard earned money went to shop keepers who really appreciate it and I will be spreading happy cheer wherever I go.



  • Barbara Steadman says:

    Charlotte I hope it helps. I have just re-read it to remind myself. Perfect timing as feeling a little overwhelmed today. But just put things into perspective reading my tips through again.

  • Charlotte Carver says:

    Definitely saving this one for After Work/The Post Office parcel-run! But thanks so much Barbara, because it looks exactly what I need to keep cool, calm and collected!

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