Easy Preparation Steps 1 and 2
Yes, I know it’s a long way to Christmas (well not that long actually) but if you don’t want to rush on Christmas Eve and find the turkey is still frozen, the spare bed isn’t ready for your granny, you haven’t sent the Christmas Cards and the tree hasn’t even been bought, let alone decorated, then NOW is the time to start to get ready for Christmas with teeny tiny steps that will add up to a great and stress free happy Christmas.
How many people (roughly) are you expecting in your house on Christmas Day? Will you be feeding them all? Write down this number, even if you think it will change a bit between now and Christmas. Some years, I might have 20 sit down visitors, others only 5, so, for your Christmas Dinner preparation, it’s important to have a rough idea whether it’s going to be just you and the cat or half the street turning up! This will affect your seating arrangements, cutlery, dishes, glasses and of course, food. I usually have a page in a notebook to remind me of what I need to have for the various people. I have a Christmas Preparation Checklist available as a free PDF that you could print out if you like. It has some suggestions on it of things to check NOW as to whether you have enough of them for your visitors and some space to add your own necessities. You could add this in as a page to your bullet journal, to keep from year to year.
Budget. Yes, I know that is a frightening and stress-inducing word but I will make it as easy as possible and give you LOTS of help with a Christmas Preparation list for your budget plan. It is less stressful to think about it now than to have your credit card rejected on Christmas Eve, when you’re trying to pick up the turkey and buy your loved one a special present. We all have limited budgets and some are more limited than others, so buying staple goods ahead of time and using a savings method will help spread the pain. Also, you may find some of your guests can bring a food item, such as a dessert, or cheese, or a bottle of wine and you may have a friend or relative who can LEND you dishes, glasses or cutlery or even bedding if you think to ask them ahead of time. It’s also possible to buy a few Christmas presents early and hide them away. I used to know someone who started buying their presents in the January sales but that’s a bit too early for me! Some of your gifts could be a gift card, eg for music or an Amazon gift card and these can be bought early and are easy to hide away – just make sure you remember where you put them! Some people ask for gift cards for particular stores, so they can add a number together and get a larger item they have had their eye on. Of course, money just by itself is always welcome. Children usually like a gift to unwrap and some children do not like being given money because their parents insist on buying clothes or something sensible with it. I hated that as a child but now recognise that it may be an economic necessity for some! In recent years, I have told my adult children that they will get a sum of money for themselves and a sum of money for the grandchildren. That allows the parents to choose a gift that I can get or to ask for the money to be put to a bigger item. By stating this ahead of time, they all know they are getting the same (important even with big kids!) and I know what I have to save up for. I actually give them less for Christmas and more for their birthdays, it spreads the cost for me and gives them something bigger at another time. There is always so much at Christmas.
If you have a little money to spare and would be willing to help others near you who have less, you could start putting away some tinned goods or non-perishable items in a box, for families with very little. Some places have food banks that are very happy to take donations for families in need. Don’t leave it to Christmas Eve though, or they will be inundated. Some items you could include might be tinned ham, tinned fruit, packet jelly, tinned custard, beans, pasta, rice, and maybe some sweets / candy or biscuits / cookies. You could also include gloves, slippers or socks, Christmas decorations, scented soaps, toothpaste and toothbrushes (don’t store these near the candy or cookies). A few items at a time stocked away can make a good donation box with very little effort or expense to you.
What Has to be Considered?
I find that drawing out a mind map is always helpful when I have to start thinking about a big event. A mind map has a central focus. For this one it is “Christmas Preparation” and then it has branches off it, with all the areas I need to think about. On this mind map, the areas I have added are “How Many”, “Budget”, “Accommodation”, “Cards”, “Entertainment, “Decorations”, “Presents”, “Food” and “clothing”. I keep the mind map, as it is easy to add anything extra I think of.
Why not draw out your own mind map for YOUR preferred Christmas? You could include it in your bullet journal or keep it for next year as a reminder of what you planned well for and what else you wish you had included.