WARNING…… VERY LONG POST GO ANG GRAB YOURSELF A CUPPA AND PUT YOUR FEET UP BEFORE READING….
Christmas….but it is only May, well yes it is May but that means it is only 7 months until Christmas , I love enjoying the run up to the big day and enjoy going to carol concerts and visiting a Christmas Market, what I do not enjoy is running around like a headless chicken the week before Christmas.
In my house all my gifts and bought and wrapped by the end of November , my Cards are written and ready to post by 1st December, my home is clean and tidy and awaiting the Decoration, my cupboards are full of goodies and I am ready to bake till my heart’s content. I can then relax knowing it is all done. But how? plan ahead that is how! it is easy when you think about it.
I shop for gifts all year and take advantage of BOGOF’s ( buy one get one free), 3 for 2 offers and hit the sales too. Now a bargain is not a bargain if it sits in a cupboard never to see the light of day so that is where the Notebook comes in. Get yourself a pocket-sized , mine is handbag sized notebook and I take it everywhere,the first list you are going to make is a gift list, write a list of everyone you need to buy a gift for , if you have a firm idea then write down what you are getting for that person. Throughout the year when you are shopping and spot a bargain or two the look in your book and see if you can match the bargain up with someone on that list. If you are making a gift or putting a gift basket,box or hamper together then look out for items for that gift and make sure you give yourself enough time to knit that scarf etc. Find a place where you can store your gifts I keep mine in big plastic storage boxes in the fitted cupboard in the spare room. You will be surprised in no time that you are checking off those gifts and your gift closet is filling up nicely. Look out for wrapping papers,bags and tags too and stock up on those when they come into the shops, you can but them in the sales after Christmas , I keep mine in a gift wrapping bag got from Studio it is big enough to hold lots of rolls of paper, tags,bows and tape. I get my cellotape complete with dispenser from Poundland, it comes with 6 rolls of tape, ideal for using all year round.
If you get stuck for gift ideas you can get all sorts of gift cards now, Starbucks do one and you can present it in a coffee cup,all the major stores do them and you can come up with different ways of presenting them, a cinema gift card could be presented in a small popcorn box , I got some small boxes from e-bay. Write a list of everything you buy in your gift closet list and cross off the person when you have got a gift for him or her as you could easily forget what you have.
Next list to make is a handmade gift list, make a list of everyone who is going to get a handmade gift and the items you need to make it and cross the stuff off as you get it , spend an hour a week from now working on your handmade projects and you should have them done ready for the big day, it is better than trying to knit 3 scarves the week before Christmas.
The next list is cards, so make a list of everyone you send a card to, special cards I mark with a star or handmade with a H , the others will be generic cards, try to star getting your special cards a few at a time when they hit the shops as they can be expensive. I start writing my cards in October a few at a time as it can get so tedious, you could always order them already printed for you from Studio if you really can’t face it. get the children a cheap card making kit and they can make special cards for Grandparents and friends.
The next list is a Christmas Menu list, It does not have to be written in stone but a basic idea of all the days over the festive period you will be cooking or entertaining and ideas of what food you may be serving.
The food and drinks shopping list, looking at your menu plan start to write a list of the food and drink you will need over the festive period , if you have a cool dry place you can get a big box and start buying non perishables a few a week along with your ordinary shop and cross them off your list as you go, so for instance tins,packets,bottled and jars with a good shelf life can be brought in advance. Nearer the big day you will only have the fresh items on your list to buy. Don’t forget to add extra baking stuff to your list if you bake for Christmas.
if you order food to be delivered for Christmas make sure you do it in plenty of time and you could always do an online shop to save you having to trudge round the supermarket when it is busy.
Also keep a few boxes of chocolates or fancy biscuits and bottles of wine already tagged and if you get an unexpected visitor who brings a gift all you have to do is quickly write a tag, save those embarrassing moments! The bonus here is if you don’t use them they are yours to enjoy!
The non food list, next you will need a non food list , items like foil, cling film,refuse bags,batteries,nice candles, cocktail sticks,crackers and decorations for the table, any new linen you want to buy. Also wrapping paper,cellotape,gift tags,gift bags,first aid items you may need.
The next list is the events list, you can add to this as the invites or known dates are, things like Carol concert, theatre,church services, Christmas market, cocktail party and jot down items you may need like new dress for a party or you need to bake cakes for the school fete , sell tickets for play etc
If you have Advent calendars you have to fill with little gifts for the kids look out for gum, stickers , erasers , mini toys and sweets to fill it, you will need to get this done in November ready for December 1st.
You may laugh and think when will I have time to do all those lists , well put your feet up put your favourite soap on and do one list at a time. I promise you making your lists now will save you lots of headaches in the next few months.
Take your notebook out with you and always remember to cross items off as you buy them. If you get an idea for a gift or see a recipe you want to try then write it in your notebook.
Once you have all your gifts then you can decide when you want to wrap them, I set up a wrapping station in the office I have a fold away long table which keep set up, I put my wrapping stuff underneath and scissors and tape on the table , it makes it so much easier when you have everything to hand, and when I have time I will pop in the office and wrap a few gifts at a time and before you know it they are don’t forget to tag as you go!
You could take advantage of the free gift wrapping service some stores have .
The next list is jobs to be done before Christmas, if like me there are always DIY jobs still to be done and if there any projects you need or want to be finished for the big day make a note of them and the things you need, for example , decorate dinning room – need 3 rolls wallpaper , 2 tins paint,roller , new curtains ( include measurements) and tick off as you go.
Next list is a Me list, if you need to get your nails or hair done, have a manicure or pedicure write it down and book well in advance to avoid being dissapointed at not being able to get in, salons are always busy during the Christmas period.
Now you have your notebook use it!
My next Christmas post will be the plan I use to get every room in my home ready for the big day and it starts earlier than you may think!
I love Christmas but love it even more when I know I have everything is ready and I have not broken out in a sweat worrying about it once.
I hope this has been an inspiration to you and you will go out and get yourself a Christmas notebook and get started. You won’t regret it!
Dawn…..a member of Organised Christmas Elves http://www.organisedchristmaselves.co.uk/ and proud to be : )