The countdown to a Merry Christmas

Normally one to leave everything to the last minute, I still pull it off and generally still enjoy myself.  Yet I can’t lie, the stresses of last minute organisation and the panic of running out of something, of forgetting something, of not having done something need to be a thing of the past.

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, there’s not really any escape from it.  It is after all the backbone of the British culture in December – the gathering of family, the big dinner including the spuds, the Queen’s speech, the games, the Midnight mass, and quite possibly the long distance cards and gift giving.

You may, like us, also celebrate on Christmas Eve.  You may just celebrate the once.  Either way, it’s on its way and here’s a few tips to make it all go as smooth as possible and for you to help ensure you have your :

November

At this stage dream of your perfect Christmas and at this stage don’t think about what others expect of you.

Decide where you would like to be and start putting out the feelers.  If you have agreed to travel then book your tickets if you haven’t already.

Decide upon how much you want to spend on each area from gifts and cards to trips and food and drink at home.  This is big business!  Stick to your budgets.

Make lists:
– Food
– Gifts
– Cards
– Diary dates
In other words get yourself organised.

Buy cards and set aside a day in which to write them and another to post them.   Note last posting dates: https://www.royalmail.com/greetings

Consider any charities you might want to support and how you’d like to do it.  Do you want to donate instead of sending cards, or ask people to donate instead of giving you gifts or both?

Buy gifts and stick to your lists and budget and make some too.  There are so many wonderful ideas from chutney and jams to home crafted notebooks or aprons and tea towels.  Or knit a teddy, make an advent calendar.

Buy your gift wrap, ribbons, sellotape and don’t forget to go environmentally friendly.  Use the brown paper wrapping paper, or fabric, or even newspaper.  Invest in ribbons to spruce everything up.  You could even add a twig of rosemary.  Don’t forget to keep any ribbons you receive, gift paper to use going forward.  And expect others to do the same with yours.  Let’s help save our planet.

Start buying food too as and when and if you use home delivery book your home delivery slot.  Start making your cake and pudding, should you want them.  And start planning what of your food list you’re going to bake and make.  Leave fresh food for a few days before if it’s not already on the home delivery list.

If you’ve children arrange those all important things like:  Santa’s grotto, the Elf on the shelf, the advent calendar, and the letter to Santa where you get to find out what they would really like to receive.

Consider what changes you need to make to your home if you’re entertaining and that’s not just refurbishment or decoration.  I’m talking about sorting out clutter piles.  And keep on top of it.  Remember, what’s clutter to one is a gift to another so consider who you could donate items to and potentially this could double up as a Christmas gift.

In amongst all this don’t forget December and January birthdays.  Consider gifts and make sure to make the dates special.  They very often get overlooked.

Get your tree and decorations out of storage and choose a day to decorate.

Find a place in your house where you can escape to and do some all important deep breathing when you need to relax.

Most importantly – mindset.  Switch on the ‘I’m going to have a good time’ mindset.

Enjoy!