With just under 7 weeks until the big day, the countdown to Christmas is on!  This time of year can be incredibly busy and even more so with Christmas thrown in too.  We have some great advice and ideas for you to follow to help take the stress out of the festive season and keep everything as simple and organised as possible. 

Christmas Planning Is Key

Christmas planning can feel a little overwhelming but it is a time to get organised and excited too.  If your diary is filling up, now is the time to sit down and take a moment to focus on making some notes or a list about everything that is important to you during the Christmas period.  This could include food and drink, decorations, entertaining and gifts.  Write down everything you need to action or buy under each category.  Once you have done this you’ll be able to work out a time frame for each item on your list and when you should action it, working backwards from the big day and scheduling them in.   You’ll love everything about this time of year if you have everything organised and planned, leaving you more time to enjoy with loved ones, which is what it’s all about. 

Christmas Decorations

The first step to decorating your house for Christmas is to set aside time to carry out a good clean and a bit of a declutter ready for all of the extra accessories and decorations you’ll have on display.  Then, set a date to start decorating and get the decorations down from the loft in plenty of time before you start, as this will give you a chance to have a sort through, remove any broken decorations that may not have survived storage this year and check those Christmas lights work.  This way, if you need to buy new Christmas decs or Christmas lights you’ll know in time before you start decorating.  

Gifts & Gift Wrapping

Make sure you have an idea of what your spending budget is when it comes to gifts.  Whether this is an overall budget or a budget per person is up to you but it’s always a good idea to stick to it.  Make a list of everyone you would like to buy for and any ideas or wish lists for gift ideas these people would like.  Encourage early letters to Santa from the children, which may help you to plan what to buy and prevents any last minute changes and stressful surprises.  

Once you have a gift list, you’ll be able to tick them off as you go which helps you to stay on track and may help to stop you from doubling up if you forget something you have already bought.  

Ordering presents online can help to take the pressure off, just check delivery dates and order deadlines before you check out.  If you plan to go and buy some presents in person, you can do this well in advance so that you don’t get caught in the manic, last minute scrummaging of those who shop late.  There is always the risk of shops running out of stock and shelves becoming empty too.  

Add gift wrapping supplies to your shopping list.  Make sure you have enough tags, paper and tape.  Gift bags are also a helpful choice as they save time and can be reused.  Try not to leave all of the present wrapping until the last minute.  There’s nothing more stressful than wrapping presents on Christmas Eve, when you could be doing something more relaxing and spending time with family.  Allow plenty of time to wrap gifts you have bought, you could even wrap them as you buy them, just remember to keep track. You’ll also need to consider where to store gifts both before and after they are wrapped, little eyes are very curious at this time of year.  

Christmas Food & Drink

Probably one of the most important parts of the festive season is food and drink, because it’s usually what brings people together.  However, it can be easy to get carried away so it’s important to plan your meals, set a budget and order in advance where possible.  As with everything, set a budget for food and drink spending and stick to it.  

Spending too much on unnecessary food that may spoil could become such a waste, so your budget goes hand in hand with your meal planning.  Plan ahead what you will serve and when and for how many people. If you are entertaining, there is nothing wrong with asking your guests to contribute.  This a great way to delegate and giving them a specific item to bring will really help to ease the pressure. 

Where possible, if you plan to order online, order early.  It’s just one less thing to worry about and you won’t have to worry about things like Turkeys going out of stock.  Keep a date in your diary free for any of the last minute, fresh food items like vegetables and cream, that will need to be bought from a store.

When it comes to cooking, if there is anything that can be prepared in advance and frozen ready for use on the big day, do it.  You’ll just need to set a reminder to take the items out of the freezer to allow sufficient defrosting time.  

Do you have the right cookware for everything you want to cook?  If you are hosting Christmas dinner you may need extra plates, cutlery and serveware.  Our Christmas Entertaining and Christmas Cooking shops have everything you need to help you prepare for the biggest meal of the year including roasting pans, tablemats and even napkins.

Family Traditions

Christmas is all about family traditions and these can be different for everyone.  Choose one or two traditions that you would like to participate in and determine what you need to adhere to them.  It’s impossible to participate in every tradition as it can become a bit of a task rather than something to take part in and celebrate.  Choose traditions that mean the most to you, this could be a bit of festive baking, a walk with family, a visit to a local attraction or Christmas market or even a gathering with friends.

Final Note

Let go of perfection.  Nothing has to be perfect so don’t let yourself get weighed down with too many details.  Don’t compare yourself to everyone else and what they are doing, keep to your lists and planning notes and everything will be on track for an organised and stress free Christmas.