It’s December already and less than four weeks until Christmas. If you have been following my four-post guide for getting ready for this festive season, congratulations. Your preparations are almost complete, and you are stress-free. The last part of planning for Christmas in December is going smoothly and your family is impressed. But if you have not followed these posts, never fear. I’m here to give you a quick breakdown of what needs to be done if you are hosting this year. Take a deep breath and read on.
Planning ahead for Christmas – September to November
Below is a quick recap on the main tasks for September through to November for Christmas. Whether you like planning for Christmas in December or if you would rather a stress-free occasion, you still have to carry out these activities for you and your family to have the perfect Christmas. So why not make note of them now and next year, start them in September.
Firstly, get out your Family Christmas Planner. This planner is your one-stop shop for Christmas. Taking you from September to December, the timeline is packed with budgets, guides, templates, recipes, and information. Your first year with the Planner will see you recording everything you do, ready for next year. If you don’t have one, purchase it here for your first sane and stress free Christmas.
Check the family organiser for December commitments
Nobody wants to commit to hosting Christmas then realise part of it clashes with the PTA school Christmas event. Disappointing people is not a nice feeling. If you are planning for Christmas in December, you will have to work around events already in your family organiser but if you started planning earlier, your diary should be relatively free.
Create a family WhatsApp group.
Decide who will be hosting, numbers attending, dates free and allergies. Once you have this information, record it in your planner so it is there ready for next year. From this, you have the skeleton of your Christmas and can start planning further.
With you as the host, it’s time to create a comprehensive budget. This information can be plugged into the Family Christmas Planner. Categories will give you a clearer idea of how much you have to spend on each area and will stop you from overspending. Once this is completed, you can also decide how much to ask your family for as a contribution. Planning for Christmas in December sometimes means overspending in a panic. By following these guides you should be able to avoid this.
Idea gift list
This is really just a wish list of the ideal presents you would like to buy people. Whether or not you actually do, you will then have this information for when it comes to buying presents or for next year as a possible idea.
Cards and invitations
If you followed my previous Christmas posts in September, October, and November you will have crafted beautiful and individual Christmas cards and invitations ready to send. If not, then check out these posts for advice on how to make a stand-out Christmas card. Its a great way to spend some time with your children and drag them away from their screens.
Christmas events are popular and get booked early. If you have not already done so, I would suggest looking now and also searching for alternatives if your first choices are full. Events can range from Christmas markets, pantomimes, Father Christmas, ice-skating, Christmas lights, local National Trust properties and so much more. Your Family Christmas Planner will have more information for you to access quickly and check for availability. Planning for Christmas in December may mean more searching for events that still have tickets available but with a little help you can still find fun things for your family to do.
Each supermarket opens their Christmas delivery slots at some point in October. Please check back on October’s post so you can put a reminder in your diary for next year. For this year, you may be too late to book a slot. It’s always work checking but be prepared to give a family member your shopping list and send them off.
Deep clean – that hated chore. Doing this as suggested in October means it is relaxed, and there is plenty of time to go room by room. Check your Family Christmas Planner for great cleaning advice. If you are planning for Christmas in December, then make sure you draft in the family to avoid burnout. After all, ‘many hands make light work.’
Make the cake
If you did not make your Christmas cake in November, then take a look at Novembers post for suggestions for pre-made cakes. A beautifully crafted cake is out there somewhere waiting for you and your family to enjoy.
Christmas gift shopping – Black Friday
Black Friday this year is 24th November. A well established event in the UK, many people use Black Friday as an opportunity to buy their more expensive Christmas presents. If your budget allows it, you can use this as an opportunity to consult your Christmas wish list that you created for family and friends in your Family Christmas Planner.
To prepare for Black Friday sales, you need to do a little prep. In order to get the best bargain, ‘Which?’ has done the research for you. If you are just looking for a tech gift, look no further than ‘tech radar’ which will help you find the latest gadget at the best price. These articles start surfacing in October and although the deals will no longer be there in December, you will have the information ready for next year and can take advantage of the product reviews for this year.
Write the Christmas cards
Consult your Family Christmas planner’s address book, draft the children in to help write and post. With international cards, this needs to be done by the first few days of December. The Family Christmas Planner will give you all posting dates, whether UK based or international.
How to plan for Christmas
December is a month of excitement and seasonal chores and activities. We normally pack it so full of family, friends, and work do’s that the thought of also organising that perfect Christmas can be that one step too far.
Take a deep breath and follow the structure in this post. The steps above are what you need to start off with. Then, once done with them, it’s time to focus on the ones below. Next year, your Family Christmas Planner will be filled with the ideal timeline and your festive season will be stress-free and perfectly planned.
Christmas tree shopping and decorating is a big part of welcoming Christmas. According to tradition, the tree should go up and be decorated on the first day of Advent, which is the fourth Sunday before Christmas. That is 3rd December in 2023. But which tree should you choose? There is a huge variety just to add to all the other decisions you will be making this Christmas. A Fraser Fir is the most popular tree with its silvery green needles or the Colorado Spruce which has strong branches capable of holding heavy decorations. The choice goes on. For more information on tree types, see my post on International Tree Dressing Day for everything related to Christmas trees and decorating them.
How do you like to decorate your tree? We all have dusty, mismatched decorations kept in a box and dragged out every year. But you are hosting this year so maybe it’s time to donate these to charity and go for a new look. Is it going to be bright and colourful or sleek and minimalist chic? With so many options, it can be daunting to make yet another decision so let my post on Christmas trees do the deciding for you.
Elf on shelf/advent calendar
The Elf on the shelf made its way to the UK via America and has taken hold with excitement. If your child has heard of this tradition and is asking for one, you can purchase here. The idea behind this mischievous elf is that he arrives in your house 1st December each year. During the day, he stays stationary in your home to make sure your child is behaving. Then at night-time, he reports back to Santa. When your child wakes up, the Elf will be in a different place every morning. Then on the 25th December, it is time for Elf to go back into his box ready for next year.
Young children love this Scout Elf and it is a great way to show them how they should be behaving in this busy month. If you are looking for some inventive ways for the Elf to be found in the morning, Pinterest is your place. Your children will be amazed at how much he moves around and the antics he gets up to.
Posting abroad/letter to father xmas
If you have been following your Family Christmas Planner, you will have already made and written your Christmas cards and bought your presents. Probably already posted them as well. If not, this is a reminder that the last postal date for first class within the UK is 21st December (this was 2022). If you are looking to post internationally, then dates will vary but cutoffs start from 1st December. Consult your Family Christmas Planner for all posting dates.
Your’s child’s letter to Santa needs to be posted by 8th December. This is the last time the Post Office will pick them up and guarantee your child will get a response. The Family Christmas Planner has a great template for their letter along with date reminders ready for next year. This, along with the Elf is an important way for your child to look at their behaviour and join in with the excitement of Christmas.
Christmas Eve checklist
Can you smell the excitement in the air? Possibly because it’s now the day before Christmas, it could also be because you were super organised with your supermarket slot and now have lots of yummy food ready to cook. On the couple of days running up to Christmas Eve, shop for your perishable food items according to your meal planner which should be stored in your Family Christmas Planner. Make sure everyone has consulted the chore organiser and knows which activities they have on this day. Vegetables can be peeled, certain dishes made in advance. Bedding can be changed and last minute tidying finished. Forget the stress of years gone by, this year everyone is sharing the work which means tasks are completed earlier and you get to join in the festivities.
As your Christmas guests arrive, you can relax and feel proud of your home and family. If you have followed your Family Christmas Planner or these posts, your home is prepared for the invasion. The Christmas Tree twinkles at them as you open the door, with home-made snacks and bubbly ready to greet them. Their rooms are fresh and prepared, as relaxing as a hotel room. Christmas gifts and cards are nestled by the tree, with a personal touch made possible by the advance preparation.
Christmas activities have been booked and planned and there is a chore list pinned so your guests know how they can help. Your budget has been stuck to and you even have money left over. Rather than stress, you feel relaxed and even excited at the next few days. Congratulations on planning the perfect Christmas using your Family Christmas Planner. If you have followed its advice, you now have a structured Christmas planned for next year. The Planner can go away, ready to come out in September.
Enjoy this festive season with your loved ones. Rather than being stuck in the kitchen cooking or bedrooms tidying, your memories will be of family time, laughing and sharing. I raise a glass of bubbly to you in anticipation of my own, stress-free, planned Christmas.
Happy Christmas, everyone.