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How the supermarket can save your sanity this Christmas

Fat Mum Slim /

This is a sponsored post for Woolworths.

I love this time of year. I love the carols. The good food. The parties. The presents. The colours and decorations. And the spirit. The only negative at this time of year is that people can be cranky. They’re running through their mental to-do lists, in a hurry, getting stuff done. I think I’m still scarred from that car park incident last year.

So I am on a mission this year to get everything done early. Or at least stress-proof everything I do. That includes supermarket shopping. Here’s 3 ways that you can stay sane at Christmas:


1. Buy gifts all-in-one go and on the cheap!

Gift buying can be loads of fun. Personally I love it. I never spend much, which probably disappoints some, but I always put love and thought into my gifts. Above are 5 gifts I picked up from Woollies on the cheap that will make for gifts under the Christmas tree. Details on the gifts {starting from the top left corner and going clockwise}:

Beauty products: Beauty goodies from the supermarket are useful and affordable. I gathered a handful of products with similar coloured packaging that will be useful – lip balms, hand cream etc.
Sweets: I bought a heap of these cone bags on Etsy, and filled it with Maltesers and Jaffas from Woollies. Yum.
Baker’s Delight: I would love this gift. A foodie magazine, a pot holder {for getting cakes etc out of the hot oven}, a spatula, and a Donna Hay brownie mix. You could even try the new Zumbo range that’s out now.
Homemade biscuits: OK, so these weren’t made in my home, but I can pretend, right? This is such a cheap option. Buy little boxes from Etsy or eBay and fill them with cookies. You could even drizzle plain biscuits in chocolate to make them even more fancy.
A box of chocolates: By wrapping a box of chocolates beautifully it makes them a little bit special.


2. Try click&collect

The other week I was in Sydney and I knew we were low on food and stuff back at home, so I went online and bought the shopping using the click&collect service. It’s like shopping online without the delivery. I shopped from Sydney, and flew home and collected it the next day. It’s a mix between shopping online and aprcel pick-up. So we just drove through, gave the guy our name and he placed everything in the car. You can click&collect from the service desk in over 100 Woolworths stores. Woolies have just started doing drive through versions too. No crowds, no lines, no hassle. Check out how it works here.

3. Get some time out

This is going to sound a little crazy, but after shopping as a family and enduring many a tantrum at the supermarket – leaving Lacey behind and going to the supermarket alone is actually bliss. I go as soon as it opens, while Lacey and Hubby are usually still snoozing and I shop. In peace. Try it.

Don’t forget to watch the Carols in the Domain {hosted by our friends at Woolworths} on Saturday December 22nd in the Domain in Sydney, or on Channel 7 at 8:30pm.

What are your best time-saving tips for Christmas?

One lucky person who shares their best tip in the comments below will win a Woolworths hamper and $100 gift card {so you give click&collect a try yourself!}. Competition is only open to Australian residents and is a quick one, only open for 24 hours – closing at 7am tomorrow morning. Good luck!

The winner of this competition is Michelle V.

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  • Kim m

    When I cook things like fried rice or spag bol, I cook as much as will fit in my largest saucepan, I freeze it in portion sizes in snap lock bags. This saves heaps of time, only one lot of cooking, one lot of washing up and saves money too, just grab something out of the freezer for tea instead of takeaways!

  • Jenelle coote

    I start all my Christmas gift shopping in October and do it all online. By starting this early it allows for shipping from the US (lots more bargains to be had) and also the cost is spread over several weeks rather than hitting me in one lump sum.

  • Kerri

    Write a list of the gifts you want to buy for each person. It will save your wandering eye looking at those pretty dresses for yourself!

  • Kirsty S

    Buy your wrapping paper and cards, etc, in the sale after Christmas and keep them (plus a spare pair of scissors and a roll of sticky tape) in a bag next to where you store your Christmas tree. Wrap the presents as they come in (I have a spreadsheet of what I’m getting and for who, then I tick the box at the end when it’s bought and wrapped) and stash them. My kids Santa presents are stashed in Santa Sacks in my wardrobe, I take them out and replace them for the identical sacks that the kids put under the tree so it’s done quickly (less chance of being sprung in my task of assisting Santa!) and is far less stressful with no chance of this years “absolutely desperate for” present going missing.

    PS I’m also one of those Mums who opens the boxes of toys and cuts all those pesky wires and makes sure there are batteries in the toys. I don’t really need a tearful toddler who can’t get that fun looking thing out of a box right away, this very minute, if not yesterday. *lol* If you really need to keep toys looking perfect in the box then a little bit of double sided tape works well (except near Barbie’s hair!) and you have a happy child as well.

    • I’ve never thought of doing that before – it’s so simple – taking the wire off etc before wrapping it. So much easier.

  • Tracy

    Find as many recipes for Christmas day that can be prepared ahead of time so you can spend most of your time Christmas day with the family not in the kitchen.

  • Julie

    Designate.Each Christmas we normally have just under 30 people (this is how big our family is) so we get every guest at Christmas to bring a plate of food. This cuts back on stress, work and costs. But increases food variety and creates a communal sharing, which is what Christmas should be about.

  • Talia Sleaford

    This is very obvious one, but priceless- Stick to a list of people to buy for (cuz i often will get carried away and end up buying something for absolutely everyone). Also online price comparisons are a great way to get the most for your buck

  • Narelle

    We do a kris kringle with all of the adults in our extended family but we all buy for the children. We have 4 little treasures, but some of my brothers and sisters in law dont have any children yet and I always feel guilty that they are spending more then us. So to combat this and to not spend much money I make up a goody bag full of things my girls have made, a decoration, some baking, hot chocolate mix etc. It’s more personal, cheap and they all love getting things the girls have created.

  • Jess

    Our family all live interstate so we did our shopping online and had it delivered to my parents house so we didn’t have to take it with us on the plane. I also use a spreadsheet saying what I’ve bought, what needs to be bought and how much I’ve spent. And Kris Kringle for the adults means only buying 2 presents rather than 20!

  • You can create some amazing dishes very quickly, simply and with few ingredients. Take a leaf out of Nigella’s book, or follow the simple 4 or 5 ingredients rule. You aren’t short changing anyone – you are still creating delicious dishes, whilst saving precious time. Less time in the kitchen means more time with your loved ones.

  • Merryl

    Lunch on Christmas day is always a nightmare. Make desserts that can be frozen. This means that you can make them a couple of weeks before Christmas and just take them out of the freezer when you need them. Frozen biscuit dough is great – make a few varieties and just cut them and bake them during lunch. Christmas Pudding flavour ice-cream is always delicious …. but don’t tell anyone it’s there because there won’t be any left for Christmas.

  • Tamar

    We have a rule in our family that all our stuff for stockings has to come from the supermarket. I made the rule LOL – It makes it easier – one trip to get lots of little things all at once – so my daughters get things like face wash a new toothbrush knickers their favourite lolly itunes card nail polish – Hubby gets earphones itunes card gum deodorant loofah water bottle magazine- This year the girls are in charge of buying mine πŸ™‚

  • Janelle Heron

    Shop first thing in the morning before the crowds wake up. Avoid the shops at all other times. It’s the only way to stay sane.

  • We are doing a family secret santa this year, much more manageable with 31 people in our immediate family! Also for our littles I did the toy layby mid year online, so painless and stress free! Now to just start wrapping, my favourite bit!

  • I try to buy things throughout the year but was running out of space so this year every time I went shopping for groceries I bought gift vouchers. The amounts differ from week to week depending how much I could afford that week. Then in the months leading to Christmas if I saw something on special or a gift I know someone would love I would use the vouchers. This weekend I will do the Christmas food shopping with the vouchers I have left. So easy, no fuss and everyone is happy.

    • Oh, I LOVE this one – helps with the budget, and you can wait for sales! I usually try to buy throughout the year – but this coming year I don’t have the space either… I’m gonna use your idea! Gift Certs take up almost no space! And when I’m buying for my foster gals out of state, I might just mail them the certs…

  • Keep it simple, easier said than done and so easy to be caught up in the hype and overdo everything. Go back to basics of what is important to you and focus on that, connecting with family, being together, take a deep breath and enjoy.

  • We always set the christmas table on Christmas Eve, that way when we get up in the morning the table is all ready to go! Plus it is wonderful to wake up to a beautifully decorated table, really gets you into the christmas spirit! We also make christmas cakes up a month in advance. They make wonderful gifts and it means they are ready to go weeks before christmas!

  • Lilybett

    For my nieces and nephews (of which there are many – gained four new ones this year!), I’ve started doing family group pressies. My sister’s horde of children get a cinema voucher that will cover all their tickets (plus an accompanying adult) – then I pack this in a box with bags of cinema lollies – maltesers, fantales, etc. It saves the time shopping for and wrapping all the individual kids’ presents, plus it saves space (both for me when we fly up for Christmas and for my siblings not having to find homes for more toys or junk)

  • katie thompson

    to make christmas time a little less stressfull every week i do grocery shopping throughout the year i buy gift vouchers at woolworths which can range from $10 to $50 this depends on our budget for the week and come december i have at least $500 to help buy food for the festive reason and to help buy last minute gifts! I swear by this i have done it since my son was born i even have a little box that the vouchers sit in until december comes every year

  • Bex

    Have a list of everything that you need written down about a month ahead. Presents, food, etc. Figure out when the best time to purchase these items are (e.g. presents can be bought well in advance, but some food items will need to be bought closer to the actual day).
    When you’re at the store, only go for the things on your list and the places you definitely need to go. Try to get as much done as possible in one go and that way you minimise how many trips to the store you need to do and how much stress you put on yourself.

  • Julie Boxsell

    I do my christmas food plan in November. I then make a “list” in woolies’ homeshop. When the dates open up for xmas delivery, about 2 weeks before….I transfer the list into the trolley and order. I can change the order up until the day before. This way, I’m all sorted, and don’t have venture anywhere near the shops just before xmas!

  • mrsmudcake

    I find giving practical gifts to be the best received. My nephew is gluten intolerant, so i have made a hamper with lots of Macro Gluten Free products which I have purchased over the past few months. Christmas is such a stressful time, so if people make it easier by just giving each other time (having created it by doing some stress free shopping at Woolworths) Everyone will be more relaxed on the big day!

  • adriene

    The best way to save time is to use technology that save you time to begin with! For instance, having a self-cleaning, self-cooking Thermomix, a floor-sweeping robot that works so you don’t have to And this applies not only at Christmas but all year round. Joy!

  • Hayley

    I love my local woolies! I chat with the staff in the deli and they let me know the best seafood & meat to buy for the special day. They have great suggestions on recipe ideas and how long to cook the turkey for and what side dishes would be the best accompaniments!

  • Karlene

    Do as much as you can while the kids are still at kindy and school. Everything takes twice as long with kids in tow…!

  • Do your Christmas shopping for the kiddies (children, nieces, nephews) in the toy sales in July. Layby, then pick it up the week before Christmas. Too easy. This also works with ordering meat platters and the like from the supermarket for collection Christmas Eve.

  • carly kalisz

    i love going first thing in the morning as well. i make a coffee at home (in my woolies coffee machine) and pop it in the cup holder in the car then off i go. you arent so distracted and you feel really happy when you get home and its all done!

  • Jomuir

    List, plan, order online via click and collect…I enjoy shopping again, still have time to do the important things and most of all nothing is ever forgotten! Happy wife happy life!

  • Some fabulous suggestions Chantelle!!
    I have to say, my best time saving
    tip is to WRITE LISTS!! That way nothing gets forgotten. You know that thought
    at 2am when you think “I forgot Aunty Betty!!” Lists for simple meals the week
    before Christmas so you’re only spending 20 minutes in the kitchen for dinners
    or lunches instead of hours. Lists for gifts you’ve already purchased or yet to
    purchase. Lists for jobs you need to finish (last minute cupcakes for the school
    party, cookies for the postie, that kind of thing). And don’t forget to add to
    the list a little “sanity time” for yourself each day, even if it’s 5 minutes
    for a cuppa and a magazine.

  • Natalie

    I shop before “Christmas”. I know, I’m that annoying chick who says “I did my Christmas shopping in July”, right? But it makes things so much easier. I buy all the “big” things fromly July. That way my “big” gifts don’t turn in to “big” budget blowouts becaus I can buy things on sale. As Christmas gets closer I can focus on stocking stuffers and Christmas lunch. No stress!

  • Clair

    My best time saving tip is to get up early an go to the supermarket before eight. You beat all of the crowds and most importantly get a carpark!

  • Kathryn C

    Use Christmas gift bags with some tissue paper instead of wrapping all your gifts. I use them more for the older generation as watching the little ones tear open their presents is so enjoyable πŸ™‚

  • My time-saving tip is chocolate bark. No baking required!

    Buy a few slabs of Cadbury Dairy Milk (only tasty chocolate need apply) and melt them. Pour the melt onto parchment-lined baking sheets and smooth out until 3mm – 5mm thick. Tumble unlimited combinations of chopped yummies on top – nuts, crushed candy canes, lollies, marshmallows, crystalised ginger, turkish delight, crumbled gingerbread, dried fruit, sprinkles; whatever takes your fancy. Press topping down gently. My personal fave is dried cranberries, pistachios and sea salt.

    Cover and place in fridge to set, at least 2 hours. Crack into shards and slip into cello bags. Tie with string. Store in fridge until ready to give. Quick and easy, you can knock over many, many gifts this way, and save a fortune as well as time.

    The eyes of your recipient will bug out of their head. And let’s not even mention what their tastebuds will do.

  • Marie

    Being organised! Start kids shopping when toy sales are on early in the year or picking up things when you see them on sale. Make lists for everything. Gift list, food list, card list, baking list and cross them off when they’re done. Gives you a good idea what’s left to do. Don’t want to be stressed day before Christmas!

  • simoneeyles

    Go shopping alone with a list and put the plan in place (eg what shop you have to go to get what). I also buy online as it is difficult to get time to myself to go shopping for the kids

  • Pick a theme for your gifts so you can buy in one place – it can be food and you can buy or make everyone hampers to suit their tastes, or books and buy different titles to suit the individual.

  • smallthingsbynona

    Use Pinterest. Pin all your ideas and refer back often.

  • Erin

    Starting in July write a list/budget with every gift needed on it and how much will be spent per person. I have abag with their name on it and as I collect their gifts I pop it in the bag. Store them in the same spot (a big box in my wardrobe) this stop you finding things you bought such and such two years later.
    In another big box I start collecting “treats” from October. Drinks, chips etc for the festive season.

  • christiechildhood101

    Make a list that fits your budget and stick to it! Resist the urge to buy more, shop the sales during the year and before ordering online Google to see if the store you are purchasing from is currently offering any discount codes,

  • AK

    give the list to your husband/partner and let them do all the work… now that’s timesaving!

  • disappointed from Michigan

    Ok so seriously FMS… I saw the comments on your instagram feed and thought they were harsh. I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt so I log on today to see what you are up to… Maybe an explanation of the beautiful photos you are posting… Only to find ANOTHER sponsored post… *sigh

  • Jodie

    Lists – for presents, food, Christmas cards, jobs around the house
    Early – buy presents through out the year as you see good specials
    Attack plan – write out a plan for what needs to be done each week or day in the lead up to Christmas.
    Delegate – if possible get others to do things, bring food etc.
    Shop – without the kids!

  • Buy next years decorations and gifts at the after Christmas sales. Presents can be found at half the price and decorations sell for a song.

  • Minh

    When it comes to Christmas parties ask friends to bring a plate each..”one can bring dessert, one a salad, one a meat dish etc…that way you aren’t slaving away in the kitchen when guests arrive and can actually enjoy mingling with them! (that’s what I’ve done this year)

  • Michelle V

    I too have used lists, charts, plans, etc, but the BEST time-saving tip over Christmas is to leave the children at home (with an adult of course!) as often as possible!
    THAT is the real time-saver!!! You won’t have to stop for toilet trips (unless you have a weak bladder), tantrum-taming, (unless they sell out of the number one thing on your children’s wishlist!) and random “I want it, have to have it” unnecessary purchases (unless there’s a shoe sale!) πŸ™‚


  • Mel B

    I also love little themed presents and you are right it can be such a time saver. You can present shop whilst getting the groceries. one stop Christmas shopping with easy parking! The Supermarkets stock such a variety of products now. For kids, try a version of your foodies hamper – a cupcake packet mix, some fun sprinkles, a little whisk and a while back I bought a chef dress up set in a little backpack from Woolies. FUN!
    For the blokes, some spice/seasoning jars, a little bottle of olive oil, a stainless steel mixing bowl and a pair of tongs wrapped up in a tea towel.
    For Aunt Nora, a crossword/puzzle book, a pack of pens and some peppermints.
    For a frazzled Mum, a selection of fancy teas (have you SEEN the tea aisle lately?) a pack of chocolate biscuits and a mug (do Woollies sell earplugs?).
    Someone in hospital for Christmas? A big bowl of beautiful fruits (cherries, grapes, a banana, super blueberries – ones that are reasonably mess free – mango stained sheets are probably not the best idea), and a couple of Christmas crackers.
    That teenage niece who is SO hard to buy for? Some nailpolish, a magazine and some lip balm.
    All things that you can just pop in the trolley (or click and collect perhaps) and you don’t have to brave any more of the maddening Christmas crowds – it truly is feral out there this year yes?

  • Sarah

    I get up early and shop – 7am at Woolies, it’s just me and the fully stocked aisles.
    No queues at the check out, no slow people in the aisles, no screaming children, I can park right at the door & if I need a staff member to help me out, there are plenty about to assist.
    It’s the best thing I have ever done, I love grocery shopping now, because I can get in & out in 30minutes.

  • shoppegirls

    Love all of these ideas. I am totally with you on the the foodie mag, donna hay box + spatula. I would love that as a gift also. xoxo

  • Mary Preston

    I’m big on lists. NO messing about then. This works not only for shopping , but chores that need to be attended to over the Christmas period. The satisfaction of crossing them off can’t just be dismissed. It’s liberating.

  • Ginny

    Great idea! Just letting you know I nominated you as a very inspiring
    because I love your work. Keep it up.

    Cheers, Ginny

  • I usually buy a Christmas present at the same time I buy a Birthday present (if they are important enough for a birthday, they are important enough for Christmas)… put a posty of who gets it on it and store it in the same place each year. This year I’ve moved away – so I think I’m gonna do the Gift Card suggestion – that way I don’t spend hundreds in Nov / Dec. Also, my mom always used the Sunday comics for gift wrap – it’s colorful, and we were always told that if Santa saved the wrapping for other kids, he could spend that much more money on our presents! I’d much rather get $10 more in toys than pretty paper that got ripped apart and thrown away!

  • Alison

    My best tip. Do your HUGE Woolworths grocery shop for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the holidays ONLINE. Arrange to have it delivered to your door at a suitable time on Monday. Depending on your spend the delivery fee can be zero. I have included seafood, groceries, fresh food, wine, beer, and gifts. I shopped the specials and bought in bulk. I am so far in front it is tremendous. And my order will arrive, at my door, at midday on Monday. This is the first time I’ve done it. The ordering process was easy. Great choices. Specials are listed in a separate section. Feel like I’ve won the lottery as I will spend Monday playing board games, setting the table while someone else does the shopping, and will not spend a cent more than I planned. Happy camper right here.