Common Christmas catastrophes and how to avoid them this holiday season

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Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but sometimes it’s also the most stressful. 

Cooking the perfect meal, neatly wrapping presents, and traveling are all stressful parts of Christmas that could quickly turn you into a Grinch.

Avoid these common Christmas catastrophes to keep your spirits merry and bright this holiday.

Christmas catastrophe: Late gift delivery

If you have late additions to your shopping list, it’s possible they may not make it to your doorstep before Christmas Day.

How to avoid

If time got away from you and you still have people to shop for in the days before Christmas, it’s best to do your shopping in person.

Although you likely won’t be able to escape the long lines associated with last-minute shoppers, visiting a store may be the only way you’ll get your gifts on time.

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Shopping early in the morning before the rush may help you somewhat avoid long wait lines.

While you should buy your gifts in person to ensure you’ll have them on time, browse online first before going in person. 

That way, you know exactly what you’re looking for when you arrive.

man holding credit card and on laptop

Many stores have pickup options, where you can buy online and go in the store to pick up your order, although there are often lines for this buying option, too. 

If you absolutely have to order online, Amazon is a pretty reliable place to do so. Prime members receive free two-day shipping, so you won’t have to pay tons out of pocket for overnight shipping.

Christmas catastrophe: A ‘Christmas Vacation’ dinner

In “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” one of the many iconic moments is the dinner scene.

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From the outside, the turkey being served looks perfect, but when it’s cut into, it’s completely dried out.

“I told you we put it in too early,” says Catherine, the cook of the dry turkey.

Chevy Chase lights the Christmas tree wearing Santa hat and coat

Maybe your catastrophe won’t be quite as extreme, but it’s a common mistake to not time dishes correctly and end up with cold food by the time everything is complete.

Another common catastrophe is realizing you don’t have the right ingredients before you begin to cook.

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Don’t worry, there are simple solutions to these problems.

How to avoid

To avoid a dinner disaster, consider doing a practice run before the main meal. In the week leading up to Christmas, pick a day when you can do a trial run of your meal. Hopefully, any mistakes will be fixed then instead of on Dec. 25.

family having christmas dinner

Have plenty of timers ready, and don’t forget what timer is designated for what food.

If you are using timers on your phone, label them, so you know which is which.

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When you have your final menu established, write everything down and all the ingredients you will need for each one. Don’t rely on your memory alone to remember everything.

Take one grocery trip with your list in hand and cross out each item as you get it. That way, you won’t run into issues on Christmas Day with forgotten ingredients.

Christmas catastrophe: Missing table settings

It can be a little awkward for you and your guests if there aren’t enough seats for everyone at your table.

Family toasting around Christmas table

How to avoid

Name tags are an easy solution to this problem. Create festive name tags to place at each person’s seat. This will ensure that no one is accidentally left out of the arrangements.

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Christmas catastrophe: A wrapping paper shortage

Wrapping gifts can be a hassle. It’s even more of a hassle when you realize halfway through wrapping that you don’t have enough paper.

How to avoid

The first solution to this is to always buy more than you think you need. Don’t go overboard but always buy at least one more roll than you think you’ll use.

Any extra wrapping paper you have, save for next year. Keep a storage box filled with extra wrapping paper, bags, bows, tissue paper, name tags, etc. That way, if you ever run out, you know you have extra set aside and don’t have to rush to the store to buy more.

mother and daughter wrapping gift

Christmas catastrophe: ‘Oops, wrong person’

Nothing is more awkward than handing a person a gift, watching them open the gift, and then realizing it wasn’t meant for them. 

Even if you dedicate different wrapping paper to each person, you may still forget whose is whose.

How to avoid

Name tags will help you organize everyone’s gifts and avoid guessing on Christmas Day.

You can purchase stickers that go directly on the wrapped present or tags that can be tied to bags to write each person’s name on.

You can also take a small piece of wrapping paper, fold it in half and write the recipient’s name on the inside, if you don’t have any tags at your disposal. 

Christmas catastrophe: Forgetting the presents

If you are traveling to a loved one’s house for Christmas, it’s a common holiday problem to forget all your gifts you were so excited about giving at home.

Holiday gift giving

How to avoid 

Avoid this by putting all the gifts that need to go with you in a laundry basket right by your door.

You’ll see the gifts on your way out, and they’ll be easy to transfer into your car.

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

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