Bringing together women in the UK packaging industry

Make this Christmas, your Christmas

Make this Christmas, your Christmas

By Haulwen Nicholas, aka The Packaging Oracle

Hello, ladies in packaging.

Tis the season to be jolly, but for many of you, I imagine you’re rushed off your feet, wondering how you’re going to get it all done.

How many of you spend Christmas Day ill? Finally succumbing to that cold or stomach bug that’s being doing the rounds. I bet the same happens when you go on holiday too. When we finally stop those bugs hit.

This is the busiest time of year for all women, we’re all like little miracle workers trying to bring a bit of magic to the world and get everything right and perfect for everyone.

First, there’s work – for some Christmas time can go quiet and it’s a time to catch up and reflect, but for many, it isn’t.

For lots of packaging manufacturers and packaging users, this is the busiest time of the year. You really need a crystal ball to forecast your volumes. What will consumers buy this year? Did no one warn us that Nigella was going to use goose fat for her potatoes?

Suddenly you’re trying to squeeze in emergency print runs, same day delivery and then to top it all we have snow causing more disruption.

If this didn’t make things stressful enough, then there’s the preparation for those January launches. Most products need to be manufactured in December to hit that elusive 1st January, new beginnings date.

For some of you it will also be your year-end. Stock takes, trying to run stock down all of this whilst still trying to deliver your day-to-day business. So much for a Christmas break! Many of you may be in warehouses between Christmas and New Year counting stock.

Then some of you may have to take all your holidays. “Use them or lose them”. If you’re anything like me, you find you need to squeeze in all your holidays as you didn’t get around to taking them throughout the year. We hang onto our holidays just in case, don’t we?

How many of you are trying to clear your desk, your inbox so you can be more organised in 2018? Admit it, it’s probably somewhere on your massive to-do list.

And that’s just work, what about home?

For many of you the roles you play at home are more than one full-time job at any time of the year, but at Christmas, that’s multiplied three or four fold.

Many of you are mothers trying to make this a magical time for your children, even if they’re older and “Don’t believe in all that stuff”. You’re trying to bake cakes, attend school nativities, trying to remember if today is Christmas Jumper day or make an Elf. We didn’t have all that when I was at school!

Then there’s the rest of the family. Are you doing the shopping for mom, dad, brother, sister, and in-laws? Are you trying to visit everyone and wondering how 12 months has gone by so fast? How many of you buy your own Christmas presents? I’m lucky that my husband does buy mine with little prompting, but I feel for those women who make Christmas so magical for everyone else but don’t get the magic back in return. Are you one of those ladies?


This Christmas you need to make time for you, to recharge, to rest and enjoy it.

What can you dump?

If it causes you stress ditch it. If it brings you joy, keep it.

Honestly, no one will notice if you didn’t do handmade mince pies and if they do suggest they make them next time. No one will notice if you use frozen roast potatoes and didn’t hand ice your cake. If it causes you stress dump it. If it brings you joy keep it.

And work, well if there’s one time of year to stick by your principles and go home on time then this is it.

Family and friends are the people you need to spend time with. Or even spend time on your own with a good book if that’s how you recharge.  But recharge you must.

I’ve done the running around, I’ve done the mayhem and I’ve collapsed in a heap after Christmas Day longing for rest, I’m sure many of you have done the same.

We all know that feeling.

So ladies, this year, STOP.

Ask people to help you.

Say NO – even to customers, sometimes it’s only when we say no that people stop putting on us, and asking silly requests.

And as for that desk and inbox – it’s lovely to come in after Christmas to a fresh start.

There is a simple solution.

Create a folder for your emails, everything older than 1 month old goes into an archive folder. If someone is desperate for something they’ll chase you. Now set aside 1 hour to dump, delegate or do something with the remaining 1 months worth of emails.


As for your desk, get an archive box and sweep the whole desk into it.

Your desk is now clear.

Book a date in your diary in January to sort that box – you could, if you really want to and are allowed, take it home and sort over a glass of wine on a dark winters night.

Now be realistic – set yourself 1 goal in work, 1 goal for home & family and 1 goal for you each day.

Don’t try and achieve anymore, you’ll soon get through that list if you reduce what you try to do each day, remember if you do more that’s a bonus.

However, that goal for you is compulsory – simple things – such as having a relaxing bath, a glass of wine whilst watching a Christmas movie, reading a favourite magazine or just sitting and not feeling guilty for not doing anything.

On New Year’s Eve, reflect on 1 amazing thing that happened each month. There will have been bad times and if you lost anyone it’s a time to reflect on their life, but remember the good times of 2017, it’s often easier to remember the bad things.

Now, rest, recharge. You have been amazing this year and you will be in 2018.

So finally, a very Merry Christmas to each and every one of you. Wishing you a magical time and good luck for 2018 where I hope to join you again with advice on how to make it your best year yet.

Follow me on Twitter @packagingoracle for packaging advice or @themojocoach for my coaching advice.

What to know more please visit my website


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