The Big Christmas Countdown
One Month to go
The Big Christmas Countdown is now well under way, there is now less than a month to spare before the big day. If you’ve yet to do any preparation at all, then don’t despair: there is still time to take care of everything – but only just.
You should now do any online shopping you plan on doing. Christmas is the busiest time of the year, not just for traditional retailers, but for online ones, too. While most of them promise to deliver within a matter of days, you should always plan for the worst. Errors can happen and if you leave it until it’s too late then these errors cannot always be rectified. The last thing you want is no present at all. If you still haven’t got one, now is a good time to buy your Christmas jumper.
Wrap your presents
Not only does buying presents early safeguard against the doomsday scenario of not having any presents at all, it also affords you with plenty of time in which to wrap them. In order to save more time, you should always try to wrap gifts as they arrive, for two reasons. Firstly and most importantly, it will prevent members of your household from discovering their presents before the big day; and secondly, in order to avoid the annual panic-stricken present-wrapping session on Christmas Eve.
Take stock of important items
It is important to first perform a quick stock-take. Is everything present and intact? If not, then make a note of any replacements that need to be bought. It may be that during this process you find you are not as fond of your existing decorations as you recall – if this is the case, then perhaps you could invest in new ones? There has never been a better time.
Plates and glasses
A similar stock-take should be done with your crockery and cutlery. If you intend on hosting a number of get-togethers, then this is especially important. It would be terribly embarrassing to discover that you are one plate short and have to serve a guest Christmas dinner on a paper plate. This eventuality can be avoided with just a little bit of diligence.
You might also at this point take stock of your wardrobe. If you feel that you need one, it is better to buy your costume for Christmas at this early stage rather than waiting until the last minute.
If you are the sort of person who sends out Christmas cards, then now is a good time to begin. This process can be deceptively long, depending on how many friends you have; it is therefore often best to start early.
Three Weeks to go
Post your cards
It can be hectic during December. Fortunately, Christmas cards are one aspect of Christmas which can safely be labelled as not a priority. The same goes for receiving as well as sending them. Why not instead mail them slightly later this year? That way, the receiving party will have enough spare time to appreciate them.
Buy a live tree.
Nothing kills Christmas cheer faster than a bare, dead-looking tree in the middle of the room. Unlike many of the other components of a good Christmas, it is important that the tree is bought at this time, so that it might survive the season. Therefore, if you intend on buying a live tree, now is the time to do it.
Some people are all too keen to put up their decorations and will do so at the earliest opportunity, even before December arrives you may see houses with decorations up. If this is not you, then now is the time to do it!
Order a turkey
Similarly, now is the best time to reserve the centrepiece of your Christmas meal – whether it be a turkey or anything else. The best turkeys are often reserved well in advance, so it is best to plan ahead if you want to avoid disappointment.
Two Weeks to go
Send your presents!
It is best to have your gifts in the post by now. The mail system, for obvious reasons, is heavily congested at this time of year. Disappointment can therefore be avoided by posting early. A good deadline to set yourself is the start of the second week of the month. Remember, too early is not a problem. Too late, however, is.
Stock up on non-perishables
Since the shops will be closed over Christmas, it is essential than the house remain stocked. You should therefore now start buying the things which are the least likely to rot. Canned goods and chocolate are a safe bet – though it is highly unlikely that there will be a shortage of the latter.
One week to go
Clean your house.
Now is a good time to perform a thorough clean of your house. Empty your fridge in order to make room for the piles of food which will inevitably accumulate as the day itself approaches.
Over the Christmas period, it is highly likely that many small electronic items will be exchanged – a proportion of which will require batteries. It is best to stock up on batteries now – check the presents you have already bought in order to see which batteries are required and check the information on the presents themselves to see if they have batteries included (most likely they will not) after all you don’t want to cause disappointment on the day if for example your child’s new remote control car cannot be used. This measure will also prevent the disaster of the TV remote running out of batteries when you are unable to attain more!
Three days to go
A few days before Christmas, you should be ‘mostly’ prepared. All that is left is to buy the fresh items you intend to eat on the day itself. This means vegetables, fruit and potatoes. Once this is done, you may as well lay the table. This will leave you with one less thing to do. You might also consider writing little notes to indicate where you intend each diner to sit and which foods are to go into each container.
Two Days to go
With two days left until you tuck into your meal, you should start cooking. You should prepare any main courses (especially the turkey) that can be left to sit in the fridge for a couple of days. That way, the day itself will provide far less stress.
Also if you want to have a nice centrepiece of fresh flowers then now is the time to buy so it gives them time to come to full bloom.
Finish wrapping and cooking
By Christmas Eve, most of your work should be behind you. If, by now, you haven’t already finished wrapping your gifts, you should get that done now as well as making sure you have fresh batteries in your camera to capture your little ones faces of excitement and joy when they are opening their presents.
It is also advisable to make a rough timetable for the next day – you should at least have an idea about what you’re going to do, even if you don’t actually write anything down (though if you’re unsure, writing it down certainly helps). You should also finish off any food preparation while also estimating when you should put the food on the next day to prevent unnecessary frantic rushing the next day in the kitchen.
If you’ve followed the suggestions thus far lain out, then Christmas Day should take care of itself – not withstanding any unforeseen problems. All that is left to do now is to relax and enjoy yourself before you have to worry about other things. But remember that another major event is just around the corner too, so make sure to buy your costume for the New Year bash!