It’s the beginning of November and time for the mothers of the house to dust off their Family Christmas Planner. Let’s not panic but there are only two months left to go until Christmas. This busy time of the year is going to be filled with frenzied shopping, planning, guests and tired mums. This year, I aim to bring you a well organised Christmas and a happy mother. We organise the majority of the festive season, so we really deserve to enjoy it.
Wouldn’t it be great to have that fantastic Christmas we see in the movies? To actually spend more time being ‘present’ and not feeling tired and frenzied? This year, with your ‘Family Christmas Planner’, (the only Christmas planner you will ever need again), your Christmas is guaranteed to be calm, organised and one you remember for ever.
There are many facets to this time of year, – guests, food, entertainment, children, tradition etc. We should really start planning in October but the reality is that most of us leave any thought of Christmas until November then start getting stressed in December.
Do it right and you will stay within budget, the whole family will get to see events they want to, mum will feel more appreciated than stressed and it will be a Christmas to remember. With this Family Christmas Planner, you will be reminded of what and when to buy, book and prepare. All information can be saved online or in a binder and kept for next year. Then, when next year comes and you try to remember that lovely restaurant you went to on Christmas Eve or that amazing market you can just look it up in your planner! It will be your definitive guide to having a stress free Christmas.
Lets take a look at some of the areas we need to make decisions and plans on in this time of year. There is so much to do in order to enjoy a smooth running Christmas, so lets get started with this brief guide as the clock is ticking.
How many people are at yours this Christmas?
Have you made any plans with your family? Or even thought about it? Families often get a little frazzled making this decision as it involves what can be almost a military operation. There is your own little family, then your parents, siblings, nieces and nephews. Then there are also the in-laws and the brother and sister-in-laws with their own broods. Depending on how close your family are, depends on how many people are involved in this decision.
Schedule your supermarket delivery
This is one I have always previously missed, but not this year! Since supermarkets started doing deliveries, the slots for Christmas go extremely quickly. Who wants to go trawling around the supermarket with all the other busy shoppers when you can sit at home, feet up and browse their websites.
We all need a supermarket guide we can refer to, year after year. Where we can add in the slots opening time for that year in all the different supermarkets. If you are budgeting, don’t forget that they charge for delivery and that some offer what is called ‘green slots’. It can get confusing and helps to have it all laid out for you.
At Christmas time, there is lots to do and see. From the classic panto, to slightly colder ice-skating there is an occasion for everyone. Families, especially benefit at this time of year. Which does mean that you could end up spending all your Christmas budget on ‘events!’ So how do we go about ensuring we don’t miss out but also don’t break the bank? Planning of course.
It can become overwhelming though. Do you go to London? If so, will you have to stay overnight? Which definitely pushes up the cost? Is your National Trust membership still current? This is a great time to see a stately home all decked out in its finest. Introducing the children to culture at a young age can only be a good thing. But remember to factor in something that will make your child laugh. Your local council will have plenty going on, it’s just discovering what…. More time taken away from the online shopping. Deep breath, everyone….
Next is one of the fun parts. Or it could be if it wasn’t so time consuming and expensive. Do you know how much money you normally spend on Christmas gifts? Or is it something you ‘pay for’ in January when you realise you don’t have any money left.
Everyone has a few people they buy for each year then some that will vary, year by year. Unless we write a specific list with everyone we want to get a present for, a budget and gift ideas, we will be lost. And paying for it, for a long, long time.
For me, this has to come near the top of my Christmas to do list. We all want to take our children to Lapland or go ski-ing, don’t we? But most of us can’t afford it. But what used to be true for me and maybe is for you is that having a stay at home Christmas is not always the cheap option. We splurge at Waitrose, book lots of festive events in the city last minute and actually spend a lot of money. Which can be avoided if you only budget and plan! Use the Christmas planner and not only will you have a Christmas budget but a monthly one for the rest of the year too.
Making that Christmas cake
Christmas cakes usually inspire either love or hatred. There does not seem to be much in-between. But if we have a big family gathering, most end up making or buying one for all who love it to enjoy. The problem with this tradition is that it is both expensive and it has to be baked very early on so there is enough time for it to be ‘fed alcohol’ and for the taste to mature. So whoever is making it needs to remember to factor in time in November to get baking! I also include this in my Christmas budget.
Christmas cards and last delivery dates
Do you worry about getting your packages and Christmas cards sent off in time? Keeping track of who we need to send a written ‘Merry Christmas’ too can be tough. People move, divorce, marry, have children. We all need a way of keeping our contacts in one place ready for this busy time of year. Even with the advent of ecards, isn’t it nice to have a written Christmas card come through the letter box?
As people travel more and live in various countries, we also build up a list of people we need to post a present to. Sending a package to Kenya, for example is not the same as sending it within the UK. Wherever you are sending in the world, you will need to make a note of the last guaranteed delivery dates. And the size of your package, the weight etc. Who knew that buying a gift for some one you care about could be so time consuming!
Letter to Father Christmas
This is one for the children and not to be forgotten! Our fantastic postal service allows our children to write a letter to Santa Claus, post it and get a reply. How amazing is that? Christmas is magical for children and the thought of being able to write a letter to Father Christmas fills them with delight. You need a letter template you can use year after year, especially with young ones and also a gift list that you can sneakily refer to when buying gifts for your child.
Declutter your house
Learning how to effectively declutter your entire house is a subject for another post! But it is something I believe we should all do on the run up to Christmas. Especially for a mother’s sanity. Whatever size your apartment or house, we normally buy ‘stuff’ to fill it. Which means that surfaces are cluttered and drawers are full. So where are the new presents going to go when they have been opened? How will your guests view your house when they visit?
This is the best time of the year to declutter – don’t leave it too late or it will just be another task to do on your long to do list. The children could always be roped in to help and if you do it early enough, you could always sell certain items and make a profit which can then be spent on Christmas. Its a win, win.
Once you have your budget in place and have written the gift list you can start to think about the actual shopping. So many actual stores are closing down and a lot of people now shop online. But in order to work within our budget, its important to shop wisely. This can be frustrating as so many of us have lovely present ideas in mind but can’t always afford them. Start planning early and you can usually get a bargain instead of paying full price. But it does take time and perseverance.
In November, we also have Black Friday. The best time of the year to shop, in my opinion. If you need any household goods, buy them then. If you follow the family Christmas planner, then you do not need to worry about forgetting this event or not having budgeted for it.
Elf on the shelf
My son loved Elf on the shelf. Every year, he comes out on the 1st December, we read the book that came with him and he carefully places him somewhere in our home. Then every morning, Elf has ‘magically’ moved. As he has reported back to Santa during the night-time on his behaviour and travels back to us by the morning.
Elf on the shelf is a lovely present that will be enjoyed for many years. The link details of where to buy the official one are included in the planner, as are some inventive ideas of where Elf can be found in the morning. Elf is also great for the parents too as it is a time for the children to think about their behaviour. As Elf reports that back to Santa.
Decorating the house and Christmas Tree
This is one of the least stressful Christmas activities and can be enjoyed as a family experience. But in order to enjoy it properly, the tasks need to be handed out for all to participate. Who’s going to buy the tree? Do you know where you are getting it from and the best type of Christmas tree to buy? How about the decorations? There are a couple of decorating styles you could adopt for both your house and tree which will influence any decorations you will buy this year.
The family Christmas planner can answer all these questions for you and more. When you are deciding when to buy your tree, you also need to consider when you will take it down. As you want it to look its best the whole time it is in your house. When all these decisions are made and you are ready, gather the family together, play some Christmas carols and have fun.
Christmas Eve planning
Lastly, but very importantly comes the last couple of days before Christmas. This time is a culmination of the last couple of months. By this time, we could either be completely stressed or calmly smiling and totally prepared. A successful Christmas takes a lot of preparation, a good help rota, an organised budget and your completed Family Christmas planner. Start using it in October or early November and the stress will be taken out of the holidays.
Once this Christmas is over, we can put the planner away, ready for next Christmas. Then when it comes out again, the address book will be completed, supermarket delivery slots will have notes next to them, there will be festive arts and crafts ideas ready to make with the children and our baking recipe will be there ready. We will know when to start preparing and in what order to do everything. The monthly budget will already have been prepared so the Christmas one will be easier to construct.
Christmas is a magical time but one that adults sometimes slightly dread. Now you have come to the end of this post, hopefully you have a clearer idea of everything that needs to be done. To get the full list and have an organised and stress free Christmas, purchase your Family Christmas planner here. Then relax, sit back and let the holiday magic begin.