December is almost upon us which means that ‘tis now the season to be jolly. But, overcome with the financial pressures of Christmas or the almost impossible task of visiting every friend before the New Year, it seems that ‘tis increasingly becoming the season to be stressed!

If these festive fears sound familiar, then it’s time you learn to have a Lean Christmas.

And before the protests begin, we don’t mean lean in terms of forcing yourself to endure dry turkey without the trimmings and replacing the Quality Street tin with a bowl of tangerines, but Lean in the business sense.

Put simply, the Business Improvement method of Lean teaches us how to do more with less. So, by looking at our festivities from a Lean perspective, we can learn to make the most of resources and avoid the dangers of an excessive Christmas.  

Dreaming of a Lean Christmas?

Christmas is synonymous with indulgence, but if we’re all honest, the level of excess can be extremely wasteful; just think of all the unwanted presents that have spent the past year in the back of a cupboard or consider the piles of food you threw in the bin after Boxing Day. While it may seem like part and parcel of the festivities, such waste costs a lot of time and money – both of which are often tight this time of year!

So, here are three top Lean tips that have been given a seasonal twist to help you to reduce costly waste this Christmas:

Christmas budget.1. Define your limits early on:

With November bringing Black Friday deals and discounts galore, it’s likely that your Christmas bill is already booming before you have even read the kid’s wish list. For this reason, it’s important to define your limits early on; using last year’s Christmas spending data, your knowledge of the annual seasonal sales, and by looking realistically at your financial capabilities, set a strict shopping budget and shop within it strategically.

2. Use your team effectively:Christmas dinner 2016.

Old habits are hard to break, especially when it comes to Christmas, but if these traditions are stretching you too far, then it’s time to question whether there’s a Leaner approach. For example, you may do the roast every year, but if you’re finding the yearly increase of family members too much to handle, it’s time to finally delegate some tasks.


Unwanted Christmas gifts. 3. Listen to customer expectations:

With a study suggesting that around £2.6 billion is wasted on unwanted gifts each year in the UK alone, it’s clear that we could all benefit from a Leaner approach to product selection. A truly Lean organisation only creates products that are to the customers’ expectations, so that no time, money or effort is wasted on unwanted produce. So, by simply listening to what it is your family and friends actually want, you can increase levels of merriment while decreasing levels of waste.

Of course, these tips should be taken with a pinch of salt (or a serving of sweet cranberry sauce), as approaching your festivities with a purely practical approach can transform you into a real Christmas humbug. But, if you’re to take one message away from this insight, let it be that more doesn’t always mean merrier; whether on the factory floor or during festivities at home, excess can often produce more hardship than happiness.

If you can think of any Lean tips or tricks to help people make Christmas resources go further, share your thoughts in the comments below. You never know, your Lean know-how may be the perfect Christmas gift for someone suffering from the stress inducing grip of seasonal excess.

12 Days of Christmas.