18 November 2015

Preparing For Christmas: The Ultimate Checklist


There are just a few final weeks before the festivities begin! It seems to come around faster and faster every year, but Christmas is upon us once again. You might still be holding out, but the shops around you certainly aren’t! There are decorations in the windows, and jolly Christmas carols blasting out of the speakers. Now that we’re coming to the end of November, it’s time to embrace it, and let yourself enjoy the festive season.

Unfortunately, it’s not all fun. If you’ve got a family of excitable children, Christmas is a big operation. It’s an expensive one to boot. There’s a lot to organize, and it’s best to get as much as possible done now. After all, no-one wants to find themselves rushing around the shops on Christmas Eve fighting over the last toys! If it all seems like a blur, then let us help you break it down into easy tasks. Keep reading for our full holiday checklist, and make sure you’re up to speed.

Travel arrangements

It may seem like an odd task to start with, but trust us, you’ll thank yourself for getting it out of the way. If you’re visiting family over Christmas and New Year, start confirming your travel plans. Book trains, planes, and hire cars now as well. It’s much cheaper if you book in advance. Plus, you’ll save yourself the hassle when Christmas comes around. There are more important things to worry about when you get closer to the big day!

Set a budget

The average family spends more and more on Christmas every year. In fact, the running total is around $1800 per family. We can’t help but spoil our children, and put on a feast for Christmas dinner! But, it’s crucial that you draw the line somewhere. Try to set yourself a strict budget early on, and stick to it. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself spending a fortune on impulse purchases. Give yourself a limit for presents, and another limit for food. Fun fact: if you were to buy all the items on the ‘12 Days of Christmas’ song, it would cost $116,273. Let’s hope you’re not planning to buy a partridge in a pear tree.

Keep an activity calendar

One of the hardest parts about Christmas is finding time for everything! We all make family commitments, and everyone wants to get together over the festive period. But, you’ll also have the children’s nativity plays, social gatherings, and other dates for the diary. We find ourselves booked up pretty quickly! With that in mind, keep a handy family calendar, and update it regularly.

Buy your Christmas cards now

Christmas cards are another aspect that takes up more time than you remember! Again, let’s try and get this out of the way early. If you buy now, you might even find that they’re heavily discounted. You’ll also get a good range of choice, rather than fighting through the crowds closer to the big day. Spend an evening writing them all, and addressing the envelopes. Put some Christmas music on, and enjoy a festive drink while you’re at it. It might just get you in the seasonal spirit! And, now those pesky cards are out of the way.


Start cooking and freezing

If you’re worried about finding time to cook, why not start now? We know that you’ve got guests coming, and there are other social events where food is expected. It’s tricky to keep on top of it all. But, if you start cooking now, you can freeze things for later. Deserts and snacks are particularly good here. Cookies, brownies, and cakes are all easily baked and will last for ages when frozen. That gives you a ready-made stock for when those last-minute guests arrive.

Christmas decorations

As we edge closer to Christmas, it’s time to get the decorations up! If you want our advice, there’s nothing better than a living tree. They look thick, tall, and beautiful in the home. Aim for the trees that don’t shed their needles, or you’ll end up with a big mess on the floor! Spend a day with the kids decorating the tree with all their favorite decorations. (Of course, you’ll probably have to rearrange it yourself if you’re a neat-freak!) Don’t forget the outdoor Christmas decorations either! Hang a wreath on the door, and put lights along the house. We’re getting close now!

Presents

Don’t forget the most important thing of all: presents! If you’re a parent, the best part of Christmas is watching your children unwrap their gifts. With a big smile on their faces, and happiness in the eyes! There’s nothing like it. If you choose the right presents, you can keep your toddlers entertained for hours too! Of course, don’t forget about your other family members. Again, it’s best to start shopping as early as possible. That way, you’ll avoid the mad rush on Christmas Eve! It’s especially important if you’re buying things from overseas, as you’ll need to give them plenty of time to arrive. It’s also worth staggering the presents, so you don’t spend a fortune all at once.

Wrap as you go

If you do manage to buy presents early, start wrapping them as soon as you buy them. It will save you the mammoth task of doing it all in one long afternoon. It’s all about leaving yourself plenty of time to enjoy the Christmas period when it comes.

Food

For many, food is the best part of Christmas! The enormous Turkey dinner, with all the trimmings. The mulled wine, festive beers, and sherry. The chocolate and sweets for breakfast! Christmas is a time to indulge yourself, and enjoy all the Christmas delights. But remember, it’s the food bill that quickly breaks the budget. Try to stick to a sensible limit, and cover all the options. We like to use supermarket points and rewards to pay for Christmas food. It’s a great way to use the rewards you’ve built up over the year. Plus, you get your shopping for a discount price.

All that’s left to do is enjoy the big day! Spend time with your family, and eat until you burst! We hope you have a wonderful festive period.

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