I like lists and I like Christmas so what better than to combine the two?!
Things to be doing now:
Order the meat for Christmas day. From a local butchers or independent local supermarket. Organic / free range is best but can be expensive, so buy what you can afford…and what you can eat!
Clean out the freezer. I have been using up pumpkin soup and still have a massive tub of carrot and coriander to thaw and eat…the more room you can make now the easier you will find it to fit stuff later. If you have time you can defrost the freezer now too. We always buy lots of bread rolls and freeze quite a few…so we always have enough for turkey sandwiches later on!
Get out the cards and tags and wrapping paper from last year and see what you have before you buy any more. I haven’t bought any tags or cards as I still have lots left over from previous years (from after Christmas sales when they are half price) so I don’t need any more, no matter how much nicer this year’s always seem to be. I also try to keep wrapping paper down as it is SO environmentally unfriendly. Can you re-use last year’s gift bags but give them to different people?
Do a thorough clean and tidy of the house. Wash windows inside, give old clothes and books etc. to charity shops, sort kitchen cupboards with the canned and dry goods, mop floors, check fire alarm batteries, get those cobwebs, find your Xmas cookie cutters and moulds…you know, all the things you put off doing!
Watch Nigella Lawson and Kirstie Allsopp and Jamie Oliver and all the rest and wish that a) I had their house and b) I had enough money to afford just what they were cooking, let alone their house!!
Make a list of food things to get on Christmas Eve or the day before. We get our fruit and veg on the market on Christmas Eve so it’s a nice atmosphere and it’s cheaper. Remember the stall holders don’t want to be left with lots of stuff over Christmas so you might be able to bag a bargain if you pick your time well! For things like bread and mince pies etc. don’t forget to order from your local bakery in advance!
Transfer all important dates into 2016 diary – to save a bit of money why don’t you buy a magazine you like that has a free calendar in it? If you get the magazine regularly, or even sometimes, then you are getting two for one!
Bake! If you make puddings and cake then the time is now if you haven’t already made them months in advance. Make sure you have some pastry in the freezer for quick homemade mince pies later on. Do you make your own cranberry sauce etc.? If you make it now you can also give some away as gifts to friends (and colleagues if you buy smaller jars).
Homemade decorations. Make your own bunting either knitted or sewn, very easy and quick to do. If you have kids you can make paper bunting and staple it to ribbon for speed. Paper chains and streamers are also easy to make. Try crocheting or sewing a paperchain for heirloom and handmade value.
http://www.housetohome.co.uk/room-idea/picture/make-your-own-christmas-decorations/3 These teardrops are easy to make out of paper with kids…make them singly and dangle them from the ceiling or tree or join 6 together for a star.
Think about the table on the day. Have you got….? Napkins, crackers, tablecloth (washed and ironed), Christmas place settings and coasters, candles / centrepiece, general decorations for table, things like gravy boat / sauce bowl / the all-important nuts and nibbles bowl / pudding plate / mince pies plate sorted, turkey tray and foil….
New pyjamas / socks for Christmas Eve. Just because.
And on a similar note wash your dressing gown so it is nice and fresh!! I have machine washable slippers too…
Make sure you have TV / Radio Times so you can see what’s on over the holidays…I may be 30 but I love watching the kids films…especially when everyone else is out ‘walking off the food’ and I have the house and TV and a HUGE SELECTION OF NIBBLES AND TREATS to myself!!!
Is anyone coming to stay for the holidays? Bed stuff / toiletries / wardrobe and drawers cleaned out for them.
Written all your cards? Make a list of who you are sending them to so you don’t go overboard and buy 3 packs when 1 would do…also make sure you post them in plenty of time. http://www.postoffice.co.uk/christmas/last-posting-dates
Start a new tradition this year…send a Christmas recipe to your friends in their cards, make them something, go on a course together, take a trip somewhere new and special, create a lucky dip with homemade / edible / rude / novelty things, give to charity…
Made a fresh batch of ice cubes – make don’t buy!!
Music: don’t spend a lot on cd’s and downloads….ask your friends what festive music they have and see if you can borrow them! Note that I say BORROW….not copy!!! That would be illegal…
Remember Christmas is a time to indulge but not to needless excess! If you don’t need it or will only use it once before throwing it away then seriously think twice before buying!!
Things to do in the week / day before Christmas Eve:
Pick up turkey / meat etc. and buy fruit and veg and last minute ‘bits’
Make homemade mince pies and anything that goes on tree…cookies, gingerbread men, and a gingerbread house?
Making homemade crackers? Now is the time…
Make stuffing and prepare meat…work out timings and weight etc.
Wash the cutlery and plates and glasses if you are using ‘best’ stuff.
Need anything like prawns de-frosting? Do it the night before.
We use a hostess which we get out and clean on Christmas Eve. My gran got us it many years ago…you may laugh at the 80’s –ness of it but it allows you to keep your veg and the sausages warm and gives you room to prepare things and makes serving a hell of a lot easier! Also good for keeping leftovers for next day.
Get your outfit for Christmas Day sorted!
Presents put around the tree and give out cards to close family.
Leave a mince pie and a glass of sherry out for Santa – don’t forget a carrot for Rudolph!
List of things you will not want to be caught short on:
Ribbon / ties for tags and decorations
Extension lead for electrical equipment like tree lights
Ice cube tray / bags
Can opener and bottle opener!
Petrol in your car…speaking from experience here!
Try to have an eco-friendly Christmas if you can:
Re-use cards, tags and bags or make your own tags from cereal boxes or last year’s cards
Use re-chargeable batteries
Recycle everything…including aluminium foil
Use leftover food in creative ways…but you can’t beat bubble and squeak!
Donate and buy from charity shops
Use cloth napkins not paper
Donate something…food/ decorations/ gifts to care homes and shelters
If you have time volunteer somewhere
Car-share shopping trips and trips to get rid of rubbish
Use tree with roots to plant for next year or in a permanent home
Put out food for birds and wildlife
Use eco packaging…popcorn for example
Buy and use what you need and not the vast amounts we are told we need to consume…it’s good to party but does it have to be with Styrofoam plates and cups?
Do your shopping from local, independent retailers
Organic, fair-trade, free-range
Use re-usable shopping bags (they also stop people spying through plastic bags – great if you want to hide the present you just bought!)
None of the above is anything new. But it’s fun to list it!!
Have you heard of a book called ‘365 ways to change the world’ by Michael Norton? On every page there is something new to try / do / research and is a great book for making a New Year’s Resolution. Google it and see if anything takes your eye… http://www.amazon.co.uk/365-Ways-Change-World-Difference/dp/0743297784
And don’t forget to have fun…