Christmas is fast approaching - in fact it's just shy of a month now.
I find at this time of year there's a shift in people, a divide; we are one of two types of people. There are those of us who have started Christmas organising about 2 months ago and are basically done now and then there are those of us who haven't started and think 'oh shit it's December'.
I am obviously one of the former types of people, that I am sure will come of no surprise to you.
But organising for Christmas can be stressful so I'm here as your organising little fairy to help you through the next few weeks. You can thank me later by posting me a little Christmas present or an iPhone 7 or summin.
1. Christmas Shopping.
If you're venturing out and about for your Christmas shopping have a read of this post I wrote last week. If braving the shops isn't your thing and you're more an online and deliver kinda gal or guy then the same steps apply. The key is making a list of everything you need and everyone you need to buy for and then ticking it off one by one. The biggest mistake people make is remembering to buy all the goodies for XYZ but forgetting all the little bits and bobs like the right amount of wrapping paper or extra sellotape or money wallets. Make a substantial list, add as you think of things and don't stop until they're all checked off!
Whether it be Christmas cards or whether it be relatives overseas or whether it be presents for people you're not going to see, it's easy to forget you need to be postage savvy. Make sure you have enough first and second class stamps before you go to pop that stack of cards in the postbox. Make sure you get your bits and bobs off to the Scouts if that's something your local area does. Have a look at Royal Mail and Parcelforce to see when their last postal dates are for the UK and aboard and don't miss it!!
Again, deadlines are key. If you're seeing your Aunt at the beginning of December but not again until the New Year, make sure you have her present bought, wrapped and ready to take when you see her - no point paying for postage after all. Similarly if you're not seeing friends until after the big day, find out whether or not they want to post gifts or swap in person a bit late. Note down all the deadlines next to each recipient and you'll have a timescale of who to prioritise and buy for first, and a better idea if they item that won't come for 21 days is too long or not.
4. Food Shopping.
The bane of my Christmas shopping. I am the main food shopper in my household, I do my parents food shopping too and I hate that at Christmas we have to stock up so early because the supermarkets are such a nightmare at this time of year. Normally I'd say shop around and get the best deals in different supermarkets but at Christmas I'm all fuck it, they have roughly the same deals everywhere and ain't nobody got time for visiting more then one super store when it's THAT busy. With food shopping for the Christmas period, make a list again. Remember you probably aren't going to be going to the shops for about 10 days or so, especially this year with Christmas and New Years falling on weekends so stock up on everything and remember those fancy mince pies Mum likes and that special pop your cousins have. Cater for everyone you're having round.
If you're hosting Christmas at yours or even Christmas Eve, Boxing Day or New Years, it can seem like there's a lot to do but if you've followed the steps thus far you're halfway there already! If you're hosting a portion of Christmas this year for 2 people or 20 you need to think food, drink, entertainment and your guests. If you have a veggie in the family make sure there's something yummy for them. Make sure you've got enough food and drink without going overboard and keep it simple. Stress comes from trying to cook a three course meal for everyone and their dog. A table with a buffet style dinner and lots of bowls of snacks will do people just fine and they'll probably be more glad to pick and choose at what they like to eat. For entertainment, get some toys and games out of the attic for the kids and whack on the Christmas songs for the adults and jobs a goodun. Start planning early, get set up early in the day and don't forget to cater for yourself.
Being stocked up in the festive season is everything. Gifttags, giftbags, curling ribbon, kitchen roll, bin bags, toilet roll, it's the little things we always forget. Again, remember you might not be able to go to the shops for a little while and your guests don't want to be caught short at your NYE party. Don't forget the fake snow, the party poppers, the paper napkins, the booze. Think outside your normal shopping list and you won't miss a trick.
These days the pre Christmas deals are just as good as the January sales. We're in the midst of Black Friday, there's still Cyber Monday to come and then there'll be all kinds of deals for December. Google what deals are coming up, google free shipping codes and discount codes and don't pay full price for anything unless you have to. Vouchers are your friend this season and your bank account will thank you for it.
This time of year is full of meeting up with friends for after works drinks and checking in on family you haven't seen since last year and parties and celebrations and suddenly your diary is full. Get organised and don't double book by keeping a note of every invite that comes in and every commitment you say yes to. Write it down on your calendar, in your diary, hell note it down on your phone but make sure you keep some time for wrapping and shopping and some time to yourself.
I think it's easy with everything else going on during the Christmas season to forget what it is YOU want to do. You agree to so much, help other people, go where you're told you need to be it's often the festive events that get pushed to the wayside. Christmas is no fun if all you wanted to do in the build up was go ice skating but you 'just didn't make it this year'. Again. Go to Winter Wonderland, go cut down your tree from a PYO farm, go visit the Coca Cola truck when it's in your local city. Do whatever Christmassy event or activity you have your heart set on this year.
10. The Big Day.
Christmas Day itself can feel a bit of an anticlimax after all that hard work is done and the anticipation of building up to one day is over but the one thing it shouldn't be is stressful. It's Christmas day after all, have the absolute best time!
Do you guys have any other tips for getting organised before Christmas I should know about?