The Christmas holiday is one many people look forward to. It can be a wonderful time but can also bring stress and worry. Preparing for Christmas in advance can help make it more manageable.
Below are a few ideas, suggestions and services that may be useful.
Set a budget and stick to it. Look at your finances and decided what you can afford to spend. Don’t forget to factor in the extra you may need for food, fuel, phones, social events and travel. It is very easy to get into debt but keep in mind this needs to be paid back in the new year so be realistic.
Christmas 2019 may be the last thing on your mind at the moment but it’s a good idea to start to saving now for next year.
- If you do find your struggling over the holidays you can get help from your local food bank. You may have to be referred by your local Jobcentre Plus or Citizens Advice Bureau but contact the foodbank directly for more details.
- Each local council has a Scottish Welfare Fund who can give you grant to buy food and fuel in a crisis. You are normally limited to 3 grants per year but circumstances should be taken into consideration so it’s worth asking.
- Debt and money advice may not be of use during a crisis but it can help to sort things out and prevent further problems in the future. Contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or National Debtline
- The Money Saving Expert website has tips on how to spend less at Christmas as well as offering information on best buy fuel and phone services.
- If you are waiting for benefits to be paid contact Jobcentre Plus or call the universal credit helpline for an advance payment.
- If you become homeless over the holiday period contact your local council who will provide emergency accommodation. You will find out of hours emergency contact numbers on the council website.
Arrange any extra childcare needed for over the holiday period well in advance. If your childcare cost will rise significantly over this period you may be entitled to extra working tax or universal credit. Contact HMRC report this change for tax credits or, if you get universal credit, report it on your on-line account.
Public transport is disrupted over the holiday period, and roads may be busier, so check and alter your arrangements if need be.
- Travelline Scotland
- Consult the ‘Ready Scotland’ Twitter list for alerts from key accounts during severe weather in Scotland. Ready Scotland is an official channel from the Scottish Government’s Resilience Division.
If you or your children need to see a doctor or re-order prescriptions do so in plenty of time. Casualty and Emergency departments are likely to be busy so be prepared.
The joy and stress of Christmas can heighten both good and bad emotions. You may find this time difficult if you have recently separated from your partner or you do not have friends or family around you. It is worth remembering that, for many people, the holidays can be difficult.
It can be a good idea to arrange to meet friends or do something you enjoy especially when your children are not with you.
- If you are, or have been, affected by domestic abuse you may find it useful to talk to someone from Scottish Women’s Aid. If you are in immediate danger call the police.
- The Samaritans Scotland are not just for people considering suicide they also provide a listening ear if you’re feeling down and need to talk to someone and Breathing Space offer a telephone counselling service throughout the night
- If you’d like to contact other parents you could join in the online conversations on Netmums or Mumsnet.
Arrangements for children
Finding time to visit friends and family is hard enough but it can require more planning when parents live apart. Talk to your ex well before the holidays so you both have time to consider where the kids will be spending the holidays. If you can arrange a time when you can all be together that’s even better (and cheaper).
Relationships Scotland offer a mediation service to help you and your ex arrange the time you each spend with your children. There is a charge for this service but it is much less than going to court and less intimidating.
If you are concerned that your child may not be returned to you after a visit inform the police and contact a service like Reunite International for advice on what to do.