Monday, 23 October 2017

Christmas Preparation You Can Start Now #GetChristmassy

I'm always notoriously unprepared for Christmas, but this year I've promised myself that I'll actually be organised and here are some of the things I'll be doing to get ready. It really does make sense to start thinking early, as it spreads out the cost and time you need to commit. It relieves stress and it can even save you money.


Create Your Own Food Hamper

Food shopping costs more at Christmas because we feel a need to buy one of everything and two if we already know we like it. Spread the cost by slowly buying things that'll keep over time and don't buy in excess. Get a big box, make a list before you start, stick it to the top of the box and KEEP TO IT. There are some great offers in supermarkets as they try to encourage you to buy early, then buy again nearer Christmas as you panic.


Shopping

Shopping with a family can be hellish and from now until Christmas it only gets busier and more frantic. Because they understand, lots of shopping and town centres have activities or special offers for families to make it easier and break up your trip and keep everyone more relaxed. Check out what is local to you and choose your day/time to suit. For example if you go over to Liverpool ONE this half term, they have Kids Club Cinema at the Odeon each morning for £2.50 and 'Kids Eat Free' with each paying adult at Las Iguanas.

Christmas Messages

Posting cards and gifts is time-consuming, but I still do it and I love to receive them. Get started early and you won't be too late for Aunty Margaret in Australia. Last posting dates for Christmas 2017 started as early as 12th October!
Starting early also allows time for collecting addresses from people and noting down that elusive husband's name so that this year's card doesn't say "To Sally..... and family"...


Eating

You are likely to want to feed your guests, so think about plates, cutlery and storage. Do you have enough forks? Are you using paper plates for snacks? Start saving reusable take-away boxes with lids to store or freeze prepared or cooked food, toppings and sauces. Now is also the time to clear out the freezer and de-ice it if it's an older model. You should definitely clean the oven - you really will notice the benefit, as I proved 2 years ago.


Think About The Menu

What are you going to cook for nibbles and meals? What are you having for Christmas dinner? Will you need to buy an extra large pan or practise any recipes? It'll be veggie, vegan and meat-eaters for dinner at my house, but then I'll be the only veggie in the period afterwards - leftovers can be mainly meaty and they won't go to waste.

Cake

If you intend to have Christmas Cake, you should make this well in advance. Stirring Sunday is on 26th November and traditionally applies to Christmas Pudding, but we've always applied it to Christmas Cake and so do many people. You'll need a big airtight container and lots of greaseproof paper as well as the ingredients in your recipe.


Cosy up for Winter Visitors

We often find this time of year we fancy moving around the furniture, making the home more comfortable and inviting for those long Winter evenings. As you settle for Winter, think about placement of tables and chairs. Even when guests aren't staying over, they will need to sit, and if they'll be eating more than nibbles, they'll need a table. You may not have enough seats, so think about some big cushions and bean bags on the floor, or whether you need to take in and cover camping or garden chairs before they get grubby sitting idle.

Sleepover Guests

Although it may be 2 months before guests start arriving, think about where they are going to stay. We'll have a couple of our big kids staying over, so now isn't the time to throw out the old sofa-bed. I'll get the fabric shampoo out and give it a freshen up during November and have a look through our blanket cupboard to see if I have something suitable to throw over it to keep it clean and make it more attractive. If I don't, I've plenty of time to shop for a reasonably priced cover up. Then I can tick that off the list.

Entertainment

In the evenings we like to play games as a family, so as I sort through my children's board games soon in a pre-Christmas tidy up, I'll take to one side a handful that will suit the whole family, whatever age or ability. Good Christmas movies are an essential tradition. Don't use a free month's trial now, take it over the Christmas break and really make the most of it.


Tidy Up

It's a great idea to have a clear out prior to Christmas. Make some room for everything you are bringing into the home by passing on toys and throwing away anything broken. Santa is always happier when children tidy their bedroom before Christmas. That probably applies to grown ups too...


Whenever you start preparing, have a lovely Christmas and remember that really, all your family really want is for you to be there.






Sometimes I write posts to put food on my table. This is one of those times. It doesn't make the post any less interesting, it just means I didn't feel indulgent writing it if I already have loads to do!

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