It’s become something of a cliché to remark upon the ever earlier arrival of the festive season but there can be no arguing with the fact that, when it comes to planning your perfect Christmas, it really does pay to be prepared.
So, rather than pining for the days when you couldn’t munch a mince pie before October, why not embrace the early-bird festivities and give yourself more time to get geared up for the big day? We’ve put together some top tips to make this your easiest Christmas yet.
The cost of Christmas can easily mount up and all those last minute panicked gift purchases can really rack up a bill. Don’t get caught out. Now is the perfect time to sit down and make a list of everything you need to buy to see you through the festive period. And we’re not just talking about the presents either, don’t forget to account for things such as food, drinks, decorations, cards, gift-wrap and socialising. Work out a budget of what you can afford to spend on each and stick to it.
KITCHEN CLEAR OUT
Get your kitchen Christmas-ready by having a good old clear out. Take an inventory of your cupboard’s contents and stock up on any missing essentials that you may need for the big day. You can always take anything you no longer need to your local food bank – your donation is sure to be greatly appreciated over the festive period. Once you’ve rummaged through your cupboards why not take a look in the freezer too? Is there some leftover casserole you optimistically froze two years ago? Throw it out or better still start eating the contents of your freezer to make way for all that the fabulous festive food.
IT’S A DATE
Get your diary out and start adding those all important dates in the run up to Christmas now. From your work’s Christmas party to the local panto and the kid’s nativity play, you’ll be surprised how many of your weekends start to fill up, leaving precious little time for all the errands that need to be run before the big day approaches. Don’t forget to add good-to-know dates too such as the deadline for ordering your Christmas turkey and last dates for posting.
TACKLE THE TREE
The annual untangling of the Christmas tree lights is a tradition in itself – and one you could probably do without. How many times have your wrapped the fairy lights around the tree to discover numerous bulbs no longer work? Save yourself a last minute dash to the shops by checking your Christmas decorations are all in good working order before you start to dress the tree.
Even the busiest Christmas cook deserves time off to enjoy the festivities so make your day all the more stress free by start cooking for the big day now. Yes, really! Accomplished chef or cooking enthusiast, there’s probably more you can get ahead with than you realised. Homemade cranberry sauce, mince pies, bread sauce and even roast potatoes can all be made in advanced and frozen until needed. Take a look at the BBC Good Food website for inspiration on food you can make now and freeze in preparation for Christmas day.
Whether you’re knitting your own Christmas stocking or making your own Christmas cards, you’ll need to get a head start. Work out how much time you need to complete each project and then go through your diary to see which evenings you can devote to your craft. Once committed to a calendar you’ll be less likely to abandon craft projects half way through because you’ve simply run out of time.
DON’T SHOP UNTIL YOU DROP
Avoid the hassle of traipsing around the shops in the run up to Christmas by starting your gift-buying early. In fact, why not beat the queues altogether and do most of your shopping online? There are plenty of generous deals to be had and shopping online means you can compare prices easily. Keep an eye out for Black Friday bargains or offers where you can claim cash back on some of your purchases.
WRAP AS YOU GO
There’s nothing more soul destroying than being faced with a mountain of presents to wrap on Christmas Eve. Get organised by wrapping as you buy, making sure that you clearly label each gift and keep them well out of sight of little peekers!