Countdown to Christmas

Streamline Jam Jar Craft

It’s hard to believe it’s that time of the year already but with just a few weeks to go until Christmas, the clock is ticking and it’s time to start planning!

  • SIX WEEKS TO GO (early to mid-November)

Set your budget

When it comes to Christmas it’s all too easy to spend spend spend! So start off by setting a budget and have separate amounts for food, gifts, decorations and make sure you keep deducting from your budget each time you buy something.

Write a Christmas gift list

Enjoy a cuppa (and maybe a little jam treat!) and take some time out to write a list of everyone you need to buy for together with any ideas you already have! It’s good to carry this list with you so you can either fill the gaps when an idea comes to you or you can start ticking things off when you hit the shops!

Start Christmas shopping

Six weeks will fly by, so start shopping for presents now to avoid panic buying, which often results into spending more.

Bake, bake some more and freeze

Something that money can’t buy is time. So get a head-start and bake festive treats and nibbles. Make a big batch of mince pies  and freeze them so they are ready when your guests arrive. Wrap your fruit or sponge cakes and sausage rolls in clingfilm and freeze them to save time.

Write your Christmas cards

Again, list writing is your best friend when it comes to Christmas cards. Do a few each day/night and start ticking names off! It’ll make you feel instantly better. Ensure you have a few spare cards for anyone you may have forgotten. It’s also a good idea to add which design each person is to receive so if you decide to re-use your spares next year, you can make sure the same person does not get the same design twice!

 

  • 4 WEEKS TO GO (late November)

Dust off the old Christmas decorations

Bring everything down from the loft and see what needs replacing. Check those fairy lights and decide what extra decorations you may need.

Send international mail

Now is a good time to start posting to make sure friends and family abroad get their cards in good time. The Post Office has all the deadlines on their website so have a look at www.royalmail.com/greetings.

Make your Christmas cake

If you’re making your own, Sunday 20 November 2016 is traditionally the last day to do it!

Bag a bargain or two

This year, Black Friday falls on 25 November 2016 and Cyber Monday on 28 November 2016. Do your research beforehand and stick to your shopping list!

 

  • 3 WEEKS TO GO (From 1 December)

Wrap your presents

Get ahead of the game and start wrapping now. Not only will you keep wandering eyes at bay, you’ll also be grateful come Christmas Eve.

Deck the halls

Get some mince pies out and have a fun Christmas craft afternoon making snow globes with empty jam jars or other crafts before putting your tree and the Christmas decorations up!

Plan your dishes

Knowing what you are going to eat will save you time, money and stress! Once that’s done, now is also a good time to order your turkey or main meat/fish.

Post UK Christmas cards

Send them now and keep your recipient list for next year, adding extra names for any surprise cards you might receive.

 

  • 2 WEEKS TO GO (From 11 December)

Make a start on the food shop

Stock up on items you can leave in the store cupboard such as pickled onions, cranberry sauce, jam and marmalade, drinks, dried fruit and nuts…

Don’t wait for Christmas day to cook dinner

Prepare and freeze as much as you can ahead such as gravy, bread sauce, Yorkshire puddings, stuffing and desserts.

 

  • 1 WEEK TO GO (From 18 December)

Spruce up the house

Give the house a good clean as the dust from the decorations would have settled by now. Also now is a good time to give seasonal crockery a clean.

Buy fresh food

Keeping your fruit and veggies in a cool dark place until you’re ready to cook them should help keep them fresher. Check out our earlier blog on how to keep foods fresher for longer.

Keep the energy up

Make sure your cameras, tablets and other gadgets are fully charged. And stock up on regular batteries in case any gifts require them!

 

  • 1 DAY TO GO (Christmas Eve)

Defrost the meat

If you’ve frozen your meat, don’t forget to give it plenty of time to defrost properly. Place it in the fridge a day before it is needed depending on its size.

Prepare vegetables

To save time, you can cook carrots , parsnips and Brussels sprouts in advance, ready to re-heat on Christmas day.

Enjoy your Christmas break

Now that the hard work is done and everything is planned to perfection, relax and have fun! Happy Christmas!