If you didn’t already know, Silly Season is officially here, people! The most important thing at this time of the year is to not let chaos rule. Preparation is key. And haven’s here to help…

It happens every year. In September, you see Christmas decorations start to hit the shops (and your heart rate goes up 10 points). In October, you see your first social media meme declaring there to be only “nine Fridays until Christmas!” (and panic sets in). In November, you choose your family Secret Santa names out of a hat while deciding who’s hosting the big event and what salad everyone’s bringing and juggling the kids’ end-of-year social commitments while trying to write a concise gift shopping list and finalise your work deadlines (and you officially stop breathing).
It’s all OK though. Stop. Take that breath. The end-of-year pressures are as big as you want to make them. Busy is not an excuse – it’s a headspace and a matter of priorities. Here’s where the thoughtful people at haven plugin to make your run to the end of the year a dream…

Unexpected guests
Unexpected guests. We’ve all had them. Those lovely (*cough) ‘surprises’ who cause equal parts fear, pain and happiness. While some show up completely unannounced and there’s nothing you can do except casually kicking the kids’ toys and dad’s dirty sock under the dining table as you show your guests in, The Organised Housewife’s Kat Springer has a few tips to getting your house into some semblance of ‘normal’ if you are given even a tiny window of preparation time.

“One of my top tips would be to use your dishwasher as a kitchen hiding spot,” Kat says. “There are particular things I clean up by hand and they usually sit on the sink until I get to them – things like the kids’ lunchboxes, water bottles, saucepans. I throw these into the dishwasher to hide them out of sight and to clear the bench. My other tip is to grab an empty washing basket and simply run around the house picking up everything that’s on the floor. You can deal with it when your guests have gone.”

Shop, but don’t drop
Santa has his little helpers, so why can’t you have yours? These apps take the stress out of planning and shopping to help you stay on top of life in the coming weeks:

Honey: This Chrome extension scans the web for coupons and discount codes and automatically applies them when you check out. Watch the items in your shopping cart attract savings like ants to honey.

Mona: Meet Mona – your new personal shopper. This app analyses your personal style preferences and generates items based on your taste, compares prices and puts your new favourite pieces at your fingertips.

Flipp: ‘Tis the season of Christmas catalogues and there’s no denying that some great bargains can be found for those willing to sift through them all. Enter Flipp. This app lets you circle what you want and automatically adds it to your shopping list, sparing you hours of sifting through glossy pages looking for a good deal.

Santa’s Bag: The hardest part of Christmas shopping (other than crowds, wrapping and figuring out what to get for that uncle you only sort of know) is definitely budgeting. Santa’s Bag keeps track of your present ideas and shopping lists as well as your budget, making sure you don’t go (too) overboard.

Quick Scan: Sick of running from store to store to find the best deal? Quick Scan does exactly what you might think – scans the barcode of an item and quickly compares the price to competing retailers. Who else’s shopping trips just got a whole lot cheaper?

List, list, list
Downloading your cluttered mind physically onto paper works wonders for the soul. And so too does crossing things off those lists with a big fat red permanent marker. With a million things to think about at this time of the year, lists become key to surviving Silly Season. Make sure you use several separate shorter lists so you don’t end up with one mega list that gives you mega anxiety just looking at it.

Now more than ever it’s important to stop every so often and take a breath. Literally. Don’t ignore your gym schedule for Silly Season. Don’t give up your meditation routine or even just your morning cuppa break because you’re too busy and you simply have to get stuff done. If you feel guilty taking time out for yourself in these coming weeks, maybe use a spot of quiet time (with a cuppa in hand, or cross-legged on a yoga mat) to check your lists? That way you are ticking two boxes – being useful while being still.

All in all, you must remember that the Silly Season is actually fun. Yes, there’s loads more on your plate but there are also loads of parties to enjoy, loads of people to catch up with, loads of New Year resolutions to make as well as loads of wine and good food to enjoy. And, rum balls. Loads of them too. Case closed.

Belinda Glindemann

Belinda Glindemann  

Belinda knew she was destined for a career in communications and publishing from the age of 11 when her Year 6 teacher introduced her to poster projects and glitter pens. She completed her journalism cadetship in the Whitsundays and went on to hold various newspaper and magazine editor roles across Brisbane in a media career spanning more than a decade. When Belinda's not writing for haven, she runs her own PR agency, kid-wrangles two young daughters and drinks way too much sweet tea.