With Melinda

Single mum lifestyle blogger

Romance author

 

September is the perfect month to start preparing for Christmas. Shops are selling autumn clothes, the sun is setting earlier, and supermarkets have set up their Christmas aisles. If you are reading this post in September, you will be on schedule for a prepared, relaxed, and enjoyable Christmas. Read for tips how to prepare early for Christmas.

There are 16 weeks until Christmas. That would be such a long time if it were 16 weeks until a holiday or until I saw someone I care about. But Christmas is a huge event. Split over several days, with lots of people involved the longer you have to plan the better. If your heart is now racing with panic and you’re thinking you should have started in August, don’t worry. You are at the beginning of the line and with this post’s help, your Christmas will be awesome.

How to prepare for Christmas in September

Follow this list for what needs to be done in September. Finish these and you will be on track to have a structured, relaxed holiday season. Rather than running around frantically, you, as the host will be able to enjoy the present-sharing, Christmas dinner, and Christmas family events as much as the rest of your family. So, let’s get busy.

1. Get out your Family Christmas Planner
Family Christmas planner

The first thing to do at this point would be to get out your Family Christmas Planner. If you don’t already have one, click here for your copy.  Fully loaded with schedules, planning ideas, recipes and so much more, it will help you stay on top. Record who was at the family Christmas the year before, plan festive events, learn how to decorate your home, read when to book your supermarket slot, see how to bake the perfect Christmas cake, discover when to post your card to Africa and so much more. Organising Christmas will be a stroll in the park with the planner, rather than a stressful event without. Once Christmas is over, you put your planner away for next year and know you will be far ahead of everyone else.

2. Check your family organiser.

Before you even start organising your Christmas, you need to check whether you have any important events coming up. Imagine if you enthusiastically volunteer to host and then realise your partner is also making the set for your child’s Christmas musical event and the PTA that you sit on has committed to raising money for new costumes. Too many commitments equals too much stress. So look at your family organiser for the next few months.

3. Create a family WhatsApp group.

In order to keep all conversations in one place, it’s easiest to create a WhatsApp group. This will give you a reference point and will allow future conversations with the family on all things Christmas. Add everyone who could possibly be attending Christmas. It’s easy to delete them once you know if they are attending or not.

4. Decide the Christmas host

We next need to decide who will be hosting this year. This decision often rests on several factors.

  • Who hosted last year
  • Who has enough space
  • Budget
  • Work

Refer to your Family Christmas Planner to see who hosted last year. If this is your first year with the planner, make sure you note down the host once it is decided. Thereafter, you can create a possible rota which will stay in the planner. Easy peasy!

Compose your first Christmas WhatsApp message. Which needs to contain the following information and questions.

  • Who hosted last year?
  • How many are expecting to come this year?
  • Does anyone have any work constraints?

Once you have had a reply to this, you then have a total number of people expected. From this, ask the following.

  • Who is willing to host?
  • Do they have enough space to host?

Congratulations! Now, you can create a rota of families for the next few years. Insert this information into your Family Christmas Planner.

Hosting Christmas at yours

For the purpose of this post and your sanity, I am going to assume you are the host this year. There are two more questions you need to ask in your WhatsApp group then you can move on with learning how to prepare early for Christmas.

How many nights are people expecting to stay for, if at all?

You could pre-empt this question by stating a maximum number otherwise great-aunt Matilda from France may insist on staying a week.

Again, this information can be inserted into your Family Christmas Planner and will put you a huge step ahead for next year. Nut roast for veggie Great aunt Matilda? Noooo. Because you now know she has a nut allergy.

Now you have this information, you have started your journey to hosting your family Christmas and your family will have every confidence in the new ‘organised you’.  Your Family Christmas Planner is starting to fill up and your confidence should be increasing with all the information you needed and now have.

When should I start organising Christmas?

Whether you start to prepare in September, October, November, or gasp, in December, you will still need to factor in the same preparations. But please consider that the earlier you start, the more choice you have, the better you can budget, and the less stressed you will be. Once you have your Family Christmas Planner, this will help with reducing stress and handling the timeline. The activities on this post are to create the bare bones of information so a structured plan can be formed. Once we have that, you can be confident of moving on to the next step in October’s post for ‘How to prepare early for Christmas’.

5. How to create a Christmas budget

Here’s the fun part! Creating a budget for the months ahead. I know, I know, creating a budget doesn’t sound like fun. But the plus side is that because you are doing it so early the stress is removed and there are a couple of months to organise. The other good point is that, as the host you can ask for a family contribution to the cost. But in order to do so, you first need to know the financial breakdown of each category.

Firstly, you need categories.

  • Food
  • Alcohol
  • Decorations
  • Cards
  • Gifts
  • Stocking presents

Budget categories

I’ve included gifts in this budget as they are a part of what you will be spending. No, your guests will not contribute to this part, but you need to know how much to spend before you go crazy with your own credit card.

The gifts will be the largest amount so look at that category first. Make a list of the people you buy for and put an amount next to their name. Remember, at the moment this is a rough guide and can be altered later.

Move onto food and drink next. You have the total number of people coming for Christmas, how many days they are staying for, and how many meals you will need to prepare. To estimate a rough budget for this, I would suggest creating an online shopping cart with all these items in it to see the total cost. Once you have done these, separate the food and drink bill.

Once presents and food and drink are done, you can turn to the rest. You may not need many new decorations so this should be the smallest amount, along with invitations. As it is only September, you have time to think about the style of invitation you want to send this year. You could get creative and create your own using templates along with your own pictures. There is an unlimited amount of ideas on Pinterest and Etsy to help your creative juices flow. Your family will definitely be impressed.

With stocking presents, I would suggest making this one of the categories that everyone contributes to. Sure, you could pay for it all yourself. But remember that it is your house, your deep clean, your energy bill, your cooking, your time, and your planning that is already down solely to you. There’s nothing wrong with splitting the financial cost.

6. Budget Contributions

Well done, you have now costed the whole budget. Next to each of these categories, you need to decide if you will be asking for a contribution. If so, I would suggest looking at how many people there will be coming and splitting it between the adults. Once you have done this, you can always WhatsApp this information as an estimate and ask your family if they would be ok with this contribution. Do this before you go spending then finding out you are going to have to pay for more of it than you realised.

All of this information can be slotted into your Family Christmas Planner. Ready for you to refer to when you start buying presents and need to remind yourself of how much you have allocated people and also as a reference point for next year.

7. How to make easy Christmas Cards at home

Now you know you will be hosting and who is coming to your Christmas gathering, you can start on your Christmas cards. You may prefer to buy a pack of cards from your local card shop and that is fine. Likewise, you may wish to buy a slightly more unique and creative pack of cards. But if you do decide to get creative, you have plenty of time. With lots of ideas and help, you can’t go wrong. Home-made cards don’t have to be the piece of card your three year old threw glitter at, it can be a home-made design, using step by step instructions. With so many ideas on Pinterest, the card design world is your oyster and the ticket to wow your family this Christmas.

8. Deep clean your house

The idea of a deep clean always makes me a little tired. But also excited. Who doesn’t want a sparkling clean home? The run up to Christmas is a great time to do a deep clean on your home, as whether or not you will be having people over, you want it to look its best at this time.

There are plenty of companies in your area who will do a deep clean for you. But if you’ve already looked and decided the cost is too high, then continue for a little advice on how to deep clean your home yourself in September.

Room by room

Tackle one room at a time. Rather than moving furniture in every room at the same time, causing mess and stress, do a room at a time. In each room, move all furniture, remove everything from cupboards and clean all surfaces. This will take a while and is a great time to involve everyone who lives in the house. Try not to use a room once the deep clean has started. This should avoid more mess.

What a deep clean removes

A deep clean will rid your house of dust, dirt and mould. All three of these, if left can cause respiratory infections and conditions.

What you need before you start
  • Sprays – but make sure you choose the right type. Each type of cleaning spray is only for certain surfaces, e.g. wood, bathroom, kitchen. It would not do your beautiful wood cabinet any good to use a bleach spray that is intended for the bathroom. Read the instructions before you buy.
  • Dusters – buy a pack as you will need to wash them as they get full of dust.
  • Bleach – don’t forget your toilet beach cleaner! Who wants a sparkling bathroom and a grotty toilet? Along with the cleaner, maybe its time to invest in a new toilet scrubber.
  • Cloths – you will need a variety of cloths. For different surfaces and sizes.
Eco friendly cleaning products

With all these cleaning products in mind, maybe now is the time to think about your contribution to saving our planet. If you would like to look at eco-friendly alternatives, visit here for solutions. Or, to be a combinations of eco-friendly and also budget friendly, here are some great tips on how to create your own eco-friendly cleaning products. Being eco friendly is a great way of learning how to prepare early for Christmas and also how to set a standard for the rest of your life.

Christmas preparation list

In summary, below are the main points in ‘How to prepare early for Christmas’.

  • Buy your family Christmas planner or get your existing one out to update
  • Check your family calendar to see if you have any pressing events coming up in the next few months before you commit to Christmas
  • Create a family Christmas WhatsApp group
  • Decide who is hosting, how many are attending and how many nights people are staying
  • Budget – this is where you look at all the different expense areas of Christmas and decide how much you can afford to spend on each area
  • Budget contributions – if you are completing this is September or October, then now is the time to let other family members know how much they are expected to contribute. After all, this can be a very expensive time and everyone wants to have a good time so to share the expense makes sense. Especially as you will be doing most of the work
  • Invitations and cards! This is the year to go all out and create your own family Christmas invitations and cards.
  • Deep clean house

How to prepare early for Christmas in October

If you followed the advice here in September, your home will be ready for guests, decorating, cooking and fun. You will know who will be coming and how many nights for. You will have a budget prepared and will have made and sent your invitations. Your cards will have been designed, written and waiting to be posted. Your September chores are done, now you can sit back until October. You are well on your way and know how to prepare early for Christmas.

In October, we will be getting a little more festive. Christmas will be everywhere in the shops, your home will be sparkling clean and ready to be decorated. We will be looking for bargains and focusing on filling out our Family Christmas Planner.

You and your home are now on track to have an awesome family Christmas. To keep it relaxed and as prepared as much as it can be for the following year, make sure you have your own Family Christmas Planner. Once this Christmas is over and put away, you can look forward to your next one, reassured that all the information you need is there, waiting for you.

Happy September planning! Look for the next post on ‘How to prepare early for Christmas in October’.

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Single with child