I won't scare you by saying how many days there are until Christmas but suffice it to say that it's time to get planning now to avoid any last-minute panic or stress! Depending on the size of your family, who you are spending Christmas with and your own family traditions, what you need to prepare will vary. However, there are things that many of us do and I've provided a checklist below to help remind you of what you can do now to get organised:
1. INVITES: If you're hosting and still need to invite family or close friends, better do it sooner rather than later. Think about those family members who live alone and might be cheered by spending Christmas with company.
2. CARDS: More people are sending photo cards these days. If you're taking that route and don't yet have a photo ready, start snapping! Appoint someone to take some family shots, whether that's a friend or professional photographer. Have a think about the setting for the photo and the clothes each family member will be wearing so there are no awful colour clashes ;-). Alternatively, if you're making your own cards, get started and work on a few each evening. If your children are old enough to lend their artistic flair, it can make an excellent indoor activity to do together.
3. GIFTS: If you haven't already begun present-buying, start now so it's not all left to a last-minute rush. I find it helps to make a list of each person I'm buying for and to write down ideas when they occur. If family members have lists or wish lists, make sure you get hold of those so you can get them something you know they want. Again if you're making gifts, now's the time to start. Food gifts might have to be done closer to the time but if you're making other items, you can get going on those.
4. POST: For those of you who have family abroad, posting cards and presents is something to think about in advance. Check last posting dates and prioritise those items so you can get them sent off in good time.
5. DATES: The festive season is a sociable one and a good excuse to get together with friends. People's diaries fill up with various work and personal Christmas parties and gatherings so it's advisable to get dates in your diary now. Maybe you want to have some friends over for dinner or have an open house where people can drop by to spend a bit of time with you. Plan those occasions now so you can have a sensible social schedule in the lead-up to Christmas that doesn't leave you exhausted.
6. FOOD: It might be a bit early to buy food for the Christmas period but it's not too early to start considering what you might need. A bit of meal planning will make your life easier, especially if you are entertaining and will also help you avoid over-spending. Start a shopping list that you can add to as and when you think of something. Schedule a delivery date for your online supermarket shop if you prefer to avoid the ineveitable crowded streets and stores.
Spend a bit of time this month on the above suggestions and it can only result in a much calmer and more enjoyable festive season. What have I missed out? Let me know of any other organisational tips in the comments.
Here are some other related posts that you might like to read or re-read:
Big Family Get-togethers: 8 Ways to Minimise Stress & Maximise Enjoyment
10 Simple Joys of Christmas
Staying Happy over the Festive Season