People who get ready for Christmas are pretty annoying, don’t you think? They’re breezy smugness takes all the festivity out of the season. I have to admit that my dislike of the shops being full of Christmas trees and decoration turns me into a petulant child, shouting NO and I vow not to do anything until the beginning of December. Then I realise that I only have three weeks to do everything and once you add school events and request for baking and raffle prizes, I am probably to be found up until midnight wrapping presents the day before we give them to people and weeping into my Christmas tipple.
The way that Christmas falls this year means that the boys and Mckdaddy will have almost a whole week of their two week holiday before the big day and I am determined not to spend that week getting ready for the festive celebrations and so this year I havedecided things are going to be different and my aim is to have most of the preparations done by the end of November, leaving December free for cooking, nativity plays and carol concerts. Our decorations will still go up at the same time, late according to most of my Instagram feed, who seem to put up their tree on December 1st (What the heck is that about?!) but there are many other things you can do behind the scenes that won’t make it feel jaded by the time Christmas Eve arrives.
Here are 12 things you can do in November to make Christmas easier for YOU….
- Make lists. Food, gifts, cards, diary dates. Getting organized is half the battle
- Buy gifts. As soon as you think of a good idea for someone, get it organised and you won’t have to keep the information in your head anymore
- Make gifts. This one is essential. Some items, like chutney and sloe gin need time to mature and getting it done in early November, means you can get them packaged up much sooner.
- Buy gift wrap, ribbons, sellotape and cards
- Wrap gifts as you buy or finish them, put them in carrier bags for each family, store them away and forget about them until you need to deliver them.
- Write cards. I am always rushing to finish our cards the day before the last posting date and it feels like such a chore. That leaves absolutely no time for the odd note or nice message in them and this always feels curmudgeonly. Write them, address them and put a date in the diary to post them.
- Buy Christmas Stamps. I am a sucker for a picture stamp. They are released in November, so buy them and stick them on your already written cards.
- Plan your food. If you’re entertaining on or around Christmas, plan your menu now. You can even start popping the odd non perishable items in your shopping trolley, which will really help with budgeting too.
- Subtlely find out what the children might be putting on their letters to Father Christmas. Family and friends are going to ask and there’s nothing worse than drawing a complete blank and blurting out random ideas. Remember, it’s your house that all this stuff is going to end up in. Make sure it’s going to keep your kids entertained and not end up in the charity bag by February.
- Start deep cleaning the house. Every year, prior to guests arriving Mckdaddy and I are always battling to clean and tidy the house, we have even been known to paint a wall or two, to eliminate scribbles and mucky fingerprints. Start sorting now, so that you can do a quick clean and tidy before the festivities really begin.
- Make your cake and pudding. I know many of you will be rolling your eyes at this one, but I promise it’s really worth doing and not difficult at all. I recommend Delia’s pudding recipe and Nigel Slater’s Christmas cake from The Kitchen Diaries vol 1.
- Organise any presents and cards for December and early January birthdays. I’m sure many people with December birthdays get combined presents or presents wrapped in Christmas paper. Make it special for them and get it all ready now
So, there you have it. My plan to embrace the smugness and become one of those people, in order to prevent my annual Christmas meltdown and ensure that I spend December floating around making Christmas wreaths, plumping cushions and going to the cinema to watch the new Star Wars.
Do you have anymore ideas on how to get ready for Christmas early, without taking all the fun out of it?
NB Under no circumstances should you be putting up your Christmas Tree or watching Christmas movies before December. I’m a stickler for these things.