Category: Cards

How Many Days Until Christmas

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Are You On The Christmas Countdown?

Once it comes to the end of August each year, some people starting counting how many weeks or even how many days till Christmas. Of course, 2020 is going to be very different for many people: no Office Parties and kids may have started thinking about what they might like for Christmas, but in many households, Christmas expenditure will have to be cut back severely!

If your household is still able to celebrate and you need to know how many days until Christmas, you can see that on the Xmas clock in the top right hand corner of this page.

Preparing Ahead

If you like a big Christmas each year, you may have already started preparing as soon as the previous Christmas is over: recording what went well and what needs to be improved and starting to store decorations and the tree away ready for next year.

If you cook your special Christmas meal only once each year, it’s important to note down the cooking times and temperatures, the ingredients and any special items you include. It’s so easy to forget to buy that special ingredient or the particular temperature or cooking time needed for your turkey or special recipes but you usually remember them at the time you need them, so write them down then in your journal.

Getting Ready

Have you made a list of all the things you need to do? The cards to send, presents to buy and wrap, guests to prepare for? You can get a download list of things to remember and budget for here.

Secret Santa

Many work places hold a Secret Santa event each Christmas, where each worker draws another person’s name from a hat and buys them a present within a given budget. No one knows who buys which present for which person. Some families, especially large ones, make use of Secret Santa each year to cut down on overall expenditure and allow each person to receive one bigger gift rather than many smaller gifts.


Worst Christmas Fails

Nothing ready

Nothing ready

Have you any Christmas “Fails” you hate to be reminded of? Dinner was late, the turkey was still frozen, Uncle John passed out at the table? Here are some of my Christmas “fail” memories and the reason this web site was started: expanding on a book I kept for a few years to remind me of what needs to be done to avoid getting stressed out by Christmas.

Once A Year

Christmas comes only once a year. “Thank goodness”, say some but maybe that’s because it can be hard to remember everything that needs to be done when there is a year between each occasion. It arrives on December 25th every year but when you are up to your oxters dealing with the alligators in a swamp you planned on┬ádraining, it can be easy to put off doing those things that will make “doing Christmas” easy, well, easier.

The Oven Broke

There was the year the oven would not cook. Now to be fair to the oven, it had been giving signs of a problem for a couple of months but the problem was only intermittent and my husband, who is “careful” with money thought the problem could wait, after all, we mostly used the top of the stove. Of course, while the turkey was only half cooked, the oven decided to go on the blink. We had to lift the turkey out, take it to our son’s house, finish cooking it there and bring it back, roasting hot! The guests had been warned of problems but decided to delay arriving at our house longer than expected. I had no oven to keep food warm, so we started eating without them. They were not impressed to arrive in to a meal that was half eaten and their share going cold!

No Christmas Cards

Cards not posted?

Cards not posted?

Then there was the year I retired from work. My last day was the last working day before the Christmas holidays and I spent my last three months in a golden haze of delight (no not alcoholic, just pure joy) and anticipation. My last working day was also the last posting date for Christmas cards, which naturally did not get posted. I normally send about 80 Christmas cards and only the ones for local neighbors, that get hand delivered, were sent. I sent out UnChristmas cards to my card list in February!

Turn It Off

No dinner

No dinner

My mother in law held Christmas dinner for a number of years and we went to her house. My father in law was a careful saving man who turned all lights off to save on electricity whenever he could. I think that any switch he saw, he flipped into the “off” position and this habit resulted in my mother in law’s electric oven being turned off in the middle of cooking Christmas dinner. He was not too popular for a while.

Handling The Alcohol

Some relatives are known to imbibe too much of the liquid refreshments anyway and I don’t mean tea, coffee and soda! But most are fairly reasonable unless they are taking something they are not used to. One elderly aunt enjoyed the liqueur chocolates the first year we got them and together with the couple of glasses of sherry she normally took, were enough to need her to be put to bed for the afternoon to sleep it off!

Have You Any Spectacular Fails?

These are just a few of the Christmas fails I have seen or been involved with. Have you any to add?

Prepare For Christmas – Steps 5, 6 and 7

Cards, Decorations and Food

Step 5 – start of November

Christmas Cards

christmascardsnowmanDo you send and receive Christmas cards? The start of November is a good time to check over your Christmas card list, or prepare one if you don’t have one. I keep mine in an Excel spreadsheet because that can be used to print out address labels – very handy. During the year, I update it if I hear of someone moving or a death, so it’s always ready for Christmas. Updating is very quick. How many cards do you send? I normally expect to send about 80, so I start looking out for budget boxes of cards I can buy, as well as checking to see whether I have any left from last year.

If you send cards and use a list for printing labels, you will need to check your cards, labels stock and printer ink. Of course, you can always send an ecard and there are many firms that provide this service.


If you send snail mail cards, you will need postage stamps. November is the time that Christmas stamps often come out and it can help with budgeting to buy a packet of a few each week during November.

Step 6


If you have decorations left from last year, it is a good idea to check them over, especially lights or any electrical items, for damage or wear and tear and to get fresh ones if necessary. If you buy a fresh tree each year, you could also look for Christmas tree sellers near you and ask when their trees will be ready to select from. The start of December is a good time to get a tree, to keep it fresh for Christmas. An artificial tree can be kept from year to year and doesn’t suffer from needle drop. Again, it is time to check the tree and see if a new one is needed.

Step 7


Local shops will often start taking orders for food during November, especially for large items like Turkeys and hams. You may be able to start a savings plan with your local supplier, though you need to be careful with this to ensure your money is safe. Have you ordered or baked your Christmas cake and Christmas pudding? Some people also make their own mincemeat. If this is not for you, start looking out for cakes, biscuits and puddings you can buy now and store safely until Christmas.