So, finally, after all my talk of travel, I am resuming normal scheduling and getting started thinking about Christmas!! Yay!! I get so excited for Christmas but at the same time, there is an underlying panic simmering away which I always start to feel around the beginning of December! Christmas as a Parent (and really, as a person generally!) can be hard! It’s wonderful, but it’s hard! There is just so much to do and so much pressure to get it all right. And it’s not like our lives aren’t chaotic and full-on to begin with so adding that extra layer of Christmas to-do’s can sometimes threaten to push my December over the edge from ‘joyful’ to downright ‘painful!’
That is not going to happen this year! No, I say it every year but this year, I am going to get ahead of myself and be super calm and stress-free in the build up to Christmas….you wait!
So, this week, I was thinking about a post I wrote a couple of years ago about ’20 ways to get your home ‘Christmas Ready’ and I went back to read it today. And I spent the whole time I was reading it thinking ‘oh yes! I need to do that!’ ‘AND THAT!’ so, I would encourage you to go back and read that post. I’m so going to do all of those things right now. (Of course I am.) But also, I can think of at least a few things I want to add to that list so, with that in mind, and my vow to be more organised this year, here are 20 MORE ways to get, not just your home, but yourself, ‘Christmas Ready’. I will certainly be trying to get some of these checked off. Care to join me?!….
1. Eat down your freezer
Is that what you call it in your house? When you try to create meals from what you have in your freezer, rather than buying anything fresh? Whatever you call it, start now! You are going to need that freezer space in the coming weeks so it’s a good idea to drag everything out of your freezer, see what’s there, throw out anything that is way past its best and eat anything that needs to be eaten up. Then you will have space for all those things you are going to cook and prepare now and freeze to reduce stress further down the line (more on that in a moment!)
2. Have a clear out
There is still time to make quite an impact on any areas of the home that are feeling a bit cluttered. I recently read that a way to do this is to challenge yourself to get rid of 21 things each day. That’s not that hard is it? If you think of every single thing in your home, I’ll bet it would be fairly easy to come up with 21 things you don’t really need or want. I’m going to try this for the next couple of weeks and see how far I get. Join me?!
3. Sell your stuff!
Now is the perfect time to sell anything you’ve been meaning to put on ebay or your local Facebook selling site. It’s likely you will get a better price for it as more people will be looking to buy things as presents and you will clear some space and get some money to spend on gifts for your loved ones to boot – win, win!
4. Finalise your plans
It’s worth getting final numbers for the big day now so that you can order food and drink accordingly. We need to get our Turkey ordered so I recently sent a group message asking people to confirm whether they would be with us or elsewhere on Christmas day. The same goes if you are having a Christmas party or just a gathering over the festive season. The further ahead you know what you’re doing, the better prepared (and less stressed out) you can be.
5. Plan your family christmas activities now, while you still have diary space
Am I just extremely dim? The last couple of years, we have failed to put in the diary crucial Christmas traditions like, buying and decorating the tree, visiting Santa etc. and when it has come to December, our diaries are SO full with other plans, that we’ve had to squeeze those most important things into a shorter slot than I would have liked (which always takes away some of the pleasure). I think it’s because those things don’t have to be organised with other people so I just assume we will do them whenever we have time. Turns out there’s not always that much time available at this time of year! So, this year, I will be sitting (in fact we did it last weekend) with the diary and getting those crucial Christmas traditions in the diary and making the most of every minute! (You can read about some of our Christmas traditions in this post).
6. Create a ‘to do’ list for the month of December and start filling it out now
In the build up to every Christmas, I find myself with at least a week that is so busy and full of things I need to do, that I have to make out a grid and use it to plan exactly what needs to be done on each day (I do that whenever I am overwhelmed and I find it SO helpful and calming!) This year, I’m going to do this throughout the whole of December. Then I can plan in those things I need to do across a whole month, rather than a week! They will be things like; ordering the turkey, wrapping certain gifts (as mentioned above) so they are ready when I need them, getting extra chairs from the attic, making mince pies, cooking items to freeze ahead of Christmas day, visiting friends and family etc.
7. Update your card list and write your cards early
You don’t have to post them yet, just buy them and get them written – my plan is to have my cards written by the end of November this year. I have always saved this task so I can sit and get all festive writing them while listening to some Christmas music (which we don’t allow in our house until December!) but in the interests of my own sanity, I’m going to do them early this year. Now, I just need to buy some cards…
8. Make and bake ahead
There are loads of things that can be made ahead of time. My husband makes the most amazing gravy which we all enjoy so much at Christmas but it takes about two days to make! I have suggested that this year, he should make it earlier and freeze it (he loves it when I make helpful suggestions like that!) I actually think many times, things taste better after they’ve been frozen. There are so many other things this can be done for – soups, cookies, cakes (before they are iced or decorated), sauces, the list goes on – and everything that can be done now, saves stress down the line.
9. Buy your gift wrap and create a wrapping station
I always like to buy my gift wrap early because you get to choose from the best selection – but I never seem to buy enough! I like to do my wrapping whilst watching Christmas films if at all possible so I usually bring all of my wrapping supplies into the living room and wrap on the coffee table whilst I watch. Unfortunately, this can be a bit of a lengthy process by the time I’ve run all over the house gathering paper, tape, ribbon, presents etc and carted it all back to the living room. This year, my plan is to create a wrapping ‘drawer’ so that I can just put everything together in one place and then take the whole drawer with me to wherever I am wrapping and put it all back in one go. I’ll try to remember to share pictures when I’m ready to roll but I definitely think it’s worth getting ahead and getting all those supplies bought and organised now.
10. Buy and wrap your gifts in the order you will need to give them out
This sounds really anal and over the top but wait until you hear my
excuses reasons! Every year, I manage to back myself into a corner by not buying and wrapping my gifts when I actually need to give them out. For example, I give gifts to people at work, to friends who I don’t see very often, to some of the children’s tutors and coaches as well as to our families and our children. When I start wrapping, I just grab whatever presents I have (usually those for the kids because there are more of them) and merrily wrap them without a further thought. However, I cannot tell you how many times I have come to a point where, for example, I’m meeting a friend in the build up to Christmas and I haven’t bought their gift so I have to drive an hour out of my day to go and deliver it to their house or I forgot that this evening was the last ballet class before Christmas and I haven’t wrapped the teacher’s present yet or it’s the last day of work and I still need to buy a gift for two of the people I work with! It actually creates extra work for me because I have to make a special trip to the shop for a last minute (usually rubbish) present or, like I said, drive out of my way to deliver something. This year, I am going to think about who I will be seeing when, and wrap the gifts I need first, first!
11. Think about what seating/furniture/crockery/cutlery etc you will need and beg and borrow to save you having to buy
There are never enough chairs in our house on Christmas day. We usually drag our conservatory furniture into the living room but we usually still need a couple of the dining chairs brought through for the evening. I was thinking of buying a couple of extra chairs but then I remembered that Mum and Dad have exactly what I need at their house and they will be here with us so we can just borrow theirs for the day! Same goes for plates, cutlery, tableware etc. Why buy extra when you will only ever use it on one day of the year?!
12. Get your decorations down early and check the lights all work before the shops sell out
This is one we have learned from bitter experience!! One year, we left it too late to check the bulbs in our tree lights and by the time we realised they weren’t working, every single shop had sold out of clear fairy lights. We finished up having to buy red ones which was not ideal and we only used them for the one year – thus making them a complete waste of money as well. Lesson learned, we now check our lights much earlier so we have time to buy new or repair them before it’s too late!
13. Finalise your Christmas menu
This is a fairly easy one to get sorted now. Decide exactly what you will be serving on Christmas Day as well as at any events or parties you are hosting and make your shopping list now. Chances are, you will remember things you’ve forgotten to add over the next couple of weeks and you can even get an online grocery order going as soon as the Christmas delivery slots are released and keep on adding to it. Also, it’s a great idea to get people to bring something with them and if your menu is all worked out, you can tell them what would be most useful and they will have plenty of time to prepare as well.
14. Clear out and clean the fridge
You are going to need the extra space in your fridge over the festive season, not just to store all the goodies in the build up to the big day but also to store the leftovers and it will be so much easier to get it all sparkling clean now than when you have all that extra food in it!
15. Think about your christmas table and shop for supplies
I do like to make the table look a bit special for Christmas day and whilst I don’t buy new things every year because, who can afford to do that? I do like to add different little touches and decorations to make it slightly different. This could be a table runner, a lantern, a vase with flowers or whatever else to make things festive. It’s also worth thinking about whether you have enough napkins, plates, gravy boats etc. to cater for the numbers you have.
16. Think about Christmas outfits now
This is one I’m really bad at leaving until the last minute. There are likely to be a few events over the Christmas period that I will get to and think ‘what am I going to wear?!’ and I will be wishing I had thought about it earlier! I’m not great at organising outfits ahead of time and I often find myself on Christmas morning wondering what I should wear and regretting that I didn’t get something ready. My plan this year is to get organised, get my washing and ironing up together and have something ready for each event. I may even buy something new!!
17. Clear off your DVR memory and record christmas films as they show so you have them ready to watch whenever the mood takes you
As I said, I love to watch Christmas movies whilst I wrap but we also like to have family time watching a festive film and snuggling of an evening in the build up to Christmas day. So, now that the Christmas films have started showing, it’s worth deleting those shows you are never going to watch and recording your favourites now so they are ready to roll when you have a couple of hours to spend together.
18. Back up your computer files to an external hard drive, clear off your phone and camera memory and memory cards
Christmas memories means lots of pictures and videos – best clear some space for them now!
19. Get rid of all your rubbish and recycling
Break down those boxes! Is it just me that hates breaking down cardboard for recycling?!! Apart from the physical pain in the rear that is breaking down a box, I may have some minor cardboard hoarding issues! Whenever I get something delivered in a box I start questioning whether I might need that box either to return the item if something goes wrong, or whether I might want to use it for storage or to sell it again in the future. I can think of a dozen other reasons I find for not getting rid of boxes – it’s a problem! However, if ever there was a time to clear space and get rid of rubbish and recycling, the build up to Christmas is a perfect time to do it – after all, it’s likely there’s a whole lot more cardboard coming your way over the festive season!
20. Make a Christmas playlist
We don’t allow Christmas music in our house (or car!) until 1st December. We don’t want to peak too soon! However, when we unleash the Christmas tunes, we go all out and don’t listen to much else all month! So, why not gather all your favourites and make a lovely Christmas play list to get you in the festive mood. I will be playing ours in the car, while we decorate the tree, while we make mince pies, when we have people over and any other chance I get!
And there we have it, if I get around to all of these, it will actually be a Christmas miracle but I can give it a good go! I hope you have a lovely weekend. We will be catching up with some friends and family and trying to get a few of these things checked off the list! If you want to get in the festive spirit, you can scroll back through some of my posts from Christmases past here.
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