So now that Halloween's over, its time to think about that next exciting holiday coming up. If you didn't know, its 54 days till Christmas. I know some of those scrooges out there will be hating but for me Christmas is super exciting and one of the best bits is planning it all. I know that some times it can feel a little overwhelming so here's some tips I have for getting it done.
Schedule Your Invites
As November approaches, you’ll probably find that you’re invited to a few different events. You may have a Christmas works party being planned or perhaps you plan to meet up with friends on a particular day. Your family may even want to know what you’re planning to do for Christmas dinner. Use your smartphone calendar to lock in dates and times as soon as you have them so you don’t double book yourself. Remember, you need to take some time out to relax and rest, so it’s probably not a good idea to go to parties seven days in a row.
These days, shops start stocking Christmas items before Halloween even arrives. It may seem absurd but you can sometimes get some great deals if you start early. For example, you may save yourself some money by buying Christmas cards before peak times hit. Make a list of all your recipients and see if you can find any early deals in card stores. Similarly, you’ll be surprised how quickly wrapping paper sells out, so if you’ve got your eye on a particular design, grab it while you can. If you’re ordering personalized Christmas cards online, you’ll need to factor in processing and delivery times.
If you enjoy baking around Christmas and you know you’re likely to have a few visitors over the coming weeks, start baking towards the end of November. It can take a lot of time to make traditional Christmas bakes, like Christmas fruit cake, so the more time you have, the better. Additionally, you can bake things like cookies and breads and freeze them in preparation, so you don’t have to do everything at once. If you’ve frozen a big batch of cookies, all you’ll need to do is defrost them and then decorate them.
Make a Gift List
This is where it starts to get tricky, especially if you have a large family. But don’t panic – this is just a time for getting ideas. When it comes to buying the perfect gift, it’s sometimes better to ask the recipient what they want, rather than guessing. If someone doesn’t know, you can get some great ideas online by searching, ‘gift ideas for him 2017’ and so on. Once you have a list written down, you’re likely to remember it while you’re out shopping, so if you see something you need, you can pick it up instead of waiting.
Know Your Budget
Christmas is an expensive time of year, and it’s easy to go a little overboard. But, the last thing you want to do is spend all of your money in November and December and have to struggle all the way through January. Planning ahead will allow you to spread the cost of Christmas without having to go without at any point. So, sit down and figure out how much you can afford to spend on each person for Christmas. Try and stick to your budget and your gift list, even when the shops get hectic and overcrowded and all you want to do is leave.
Make the Most of Sales
If you know there’s a great sale coming up, it could save you a fortune on Christmas gifts. For instance, there are usually some terrific bargains on Black Friday and Amazon Prime members are often rewarded with exclusive access to discounted products. If you have access to any of these sales, it’s often wise to save your money until the sales event so you don’t miss out on any bargains.
Finalise Your Shopping
It’s important to know when to shop online and when to avoid it. For example, if you leave online shopping too late, your items may not arrive in time for Christmas. This is especially true for bespoke, handmade items that take weeks to create. Similarly, you may not find the items you’re looking for online. It’s well known that some companies, such as Primark, don’t sell their products online, which means you have to go to the store whether you want to or not.
Time to Decorate
This is arguably the most fun you can have at Christmas. There’s something nostalgic about getting the family together to decorate. Hot chocolates all round, Christmas music in the background and possibly some arguments too. If you’re thinking of using a live tree, three weeks before Christmas is the ideal time to pick it up. That way you’ll get to make the most of it and you won’t be fighting for the left overs at the last minute.
If you’re lucky enough to be going to someone else for Christmas dinner, you may not have to worry too much about the food shopping. But, if you’re planning a big Christmas meal for all the family, the food shopping could be your worst nightmare. No matter what time of day you go, the supermarkets will always be chaos. Don’t try and wing it. Make a list of the things you need in advance so you have something to look at when it gets overwhelming. You’re likely to forget to buy at least one thing, so try and leave time to go and pick it up before Christmas arrives.
We often get so bombarded with to-do lists that we forget that Christmas is meant to be a time of celebration. So, when Christmas finally arrives, remember to make the most of it. After all, it is only once a year.