How to get planned, prepped and ready for Christmas!
When should you start planning for Christmas? How to be stress-free for Christmas? What should you get fun Auntie Julie for Christmas? These are the sorts of things we're all wondering about right now.
Let’s not beat around the holly bush; organising a cracking Christmas is no mean feat. Plenty goes into the planning and prep to make it truly the most wonderful time of the year. And for many of us (us included), the idea of getting it all sorted by ourselves is a liiiiiittle daunting. So, to help you (and us) get through the tense parts into the magic, we enlisted the help of a genuine hostess with the mostest. The one who put the ‘fun’ in fundamental planning. A true queen of Christmas organising, lover of a special occasion, and often likened to ‘Pamela’ from Gavin and Stacey – our Copywriter’s mum, Lou Lou.
So, grab a tea – or something merrier – and dive into this countdown to Christmas planning guide with Lou Lou’s helpful hints and tips (taken from a series of voice notes sent in).
Psssst, we’ve also created a handy downloadable Christmas prep checklist for you to save on your phone or print out as you get ready for the celebration!
CHRISTMAS PLANNING - SIX WEEKS TO GO
Let the planning fun begin!
Budgets, lists and planning bits
Before you begin anything, it's time to get out your ultimate tool: your lists. It all starts with a budget, plan out all the things you expect to crop up cost-wise and note it down - this will help you plan how you can spread the cost. Then, it's onto the next biggest list: the food. Think about how you want your feast to be, and who will be eating it - one course? two? nut roast? turkey? Note out all the things you think you'll need (pssst don't forget the gravy and cranberry sauce!).
If that has you breaking out in hives, fear not, there are plenty of Budget Planners, Organisers, Calendars, Bullet Journals and more that can help you organise your thoughts.
Gather your non-perishables
We’re talking crisps, frozen party nibbles and all those lovely little bits for Christmas punch. Anything that has a best before long after December 25th, get it sorted and stowed away for the big day. Oh! And be sure to send a little note out to your guest list to confirm or deny any allergies or specific dietary requirements they may have.
Sort any spare furniture
If you’re playing host this Christmas, you might be entertaining for more than usual. If that’s the case, you might want to consider sending a cheeky text to a neighbour or friend to borrow some more chairs and tables or look into a short-term furniture rental service.
Book your Christmas shop
To meet the increasing demand for Christmassy goodies, many of the big supermarkets offer a food pre-ordering service to help you select what want ahead of time for easy pick up nearer to Christmas Day. It’s especially worth it for those EPIC party nibbles – cue fantasies of the camembert bread ring *drool*.
Get your gift list sorted
If you haven’t started thinking about it (or stuffing your Christmas drawer) already, now’s the time to start looking out for things you and your loved ones might like. Grab a pen and list pad and start noting it all down – that way, when things come up in the Black Friday Sales you’ll know what you’re looking for!
Lou Lou’s Festive Planning Tip #1: Getting things sorted earlier means you can budget and spread the cost over the weeks or months helps to lighten the load. It also keeps you ready for anything that comes up last minute (Oh! Jean’s card, ooops!).
Candy Land Holly and Deer Christmas Planner, £10.00
CHRISTMAS PLANNING - FIVE WEEKS TO GO
Cards? Check! Present list? Check!
Cards, cards, cards
Whether you’ve got a list as long as your arm or just a few treasured recipients, getting your list of Christmas-cards-to-send is a good idea now. That way, you can have them ready to sit on their mantles for the whole of December. P.S. when it comes to parents or in-laws go BIG with a pop-up card, they’re worth their weight in gold in the family newsletter.
Lou Lou’s Festive Planning Tip #2: Write a list of Christmas card recipients and check it twice – we don’t want a repeat of last year’s forgotten neighbour incident (again, sorry Jean).
Box of Large Charity Christmas Cards - Pack of 18, £6.50 - Shop here
Pop-Up Cat Christmas Pudding Card, £4.00 - Shop here
Rocking Snowman Musical Christmas Card, £8.50 - Shop here
Mum and Dad Fold Out Tree Card, £3.50 - Shop here
Start present shopping
There’s no real hard and fast rule as to when to buy people’s pressies. Some will already have them all sorted, some won’t even think about it until the last minute. But doing it now means taking advantage of all the juicy deals – like Black Friday. (Stationery Advent Calendar, we’re coming for you!).
CHRISTMAS PLANNING - FOUR WEEKS TO GO
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Put up your tree
Whether decorating your Christmas tree solo or with a Christmas crew, gather all you need to make your tree shine! Lights, quirky tree decs, garlands – hey, even bows work! Add some tunes or wholesome festive films, and you’re on your way to making it the ho ho happiest year yet.
Lou Lou’s Festive Tip #3: Don’t overlook an artificial Christmas tree; if taken care of, they can last you for many Christmases to come. And remember, decorating is all about strategic placement, space out your baubles and bows and use your lights to break them up.
Deck the halls! And walls, and doors and...
‘Tis time to make your home all festive and make the most of your treasured decs for as long as acceptably possible. Inside décor? Check! Outdoor décor? Check!
Stuck on a Christmassy décor theme that’s not so samey samey? Dive into our decorating treasure trove (complete with underwater inspired decs and wonderfully wacky wonders) to fish out something totally unique.
Bright Nutcracker Candelabra, £22.00 - Shop here
Large Multicoloured Sequin Bird Clips, £12.50 - Shop here
Rainbow Bristle Christmas Tree Decorations - Pack of 6, £10.00 - Shop here
Folk Light Up Green Fir Christmas Wreath, £20.00 - Shop here
CHRISTMAS PLANNING - THREE WEEKS TO GO
‘Tis the season to be jolly well prepared
Last little bits of gift getting
Grab anything you’ve forgotten or haven’t even thought about yet. (Ooooh! Jean’s Secret Santa!) Don’t forget to refer to your list from earlier (six weeks to go) to keep panic buying at bay.
Consider your Christmas table
The dining table is where most gather to share a fabulous feast – the place where polite chit-chat and memories are made – so it makes sense to make pay it a little more attention and dress it up. Think about what you might need. Candles? Crackers? An oversized pink deer? It’s yours for the tablescaping.
Lou Lou’s Festive Tip #4: I like to put little mini pressies on the Christmas table – silly little bits really; but it keeps guests blissfully unaware of the chaos in the kitchen behind the scenes!
CHRISTMAS PLANNING - TWO WEEKS TO GO
Remember to have fa la la la fun when planning
Pictured: Nutcracker Wrap Collection
Time to get things all wrapped up!
Get all your pressies lined up, pop on a heart-warming classic Christmas film, grab some funky (or traditional) wrapping paper, and let the wrapping begin. Don’t forget the finishing touches and tags.
Lou Lou’s Festive Tip #5: I just LOVE wrapping the pressies in all-matchy match paper in the same silver-black theme as the tree! Of course, my daughter Charlotte always wraps hers in a garishly bright wrap to stick under the tree on Christmas Eve, just to wind me up.
Kids Wonderland Christmas Roll Wrapping Paper - 5m, £5.50 - Shop here
Gold Nutcrackers Large Gift Bag, £6.50 - Shop here
Kraft Forest Christmas Tree Gift Tags - Pack of 5, £4.00 - Shop here
Red Ribbons 2m - Pack of 10, £12.00 - Shop here
Plan some games for the big day
For the lull between feasting, it’s fun to have some games or activities ready to play. This could be your classic board game or beloved/dreaded participation sports like charades or Pictionary, ooor you might decide to create something all of your own; something that becomes a family tradition for years to come (did somebody say, ‘Nativity Karaoke?’).
CHRISTMAS PLANNING - ONE WEEK TO GO
It’s the little things that bring big JOY!
Fresh food shop o'clock!
Sprouts, carrots, and all things…nice? It’s time to get all your fresh food bits sorted and stowed away. Pssst, do it as close to the big day as comfortably possible, and be sure to keep it all cool and fresh.
Wash the bedding for guests
If folks are staying over – then you’re a saint for hosting – um, we mean…this is prime time to get the spare bedding smelling sweet for their arrival. Chocolates on the pillows are optional.
Add little extras around your home
If you’re one for going the extra extra mile, then there’s still some organising fun to be had. Create snack hampers for guests to dig into around the Christmas lunch; dress up a drinks trolley (or dedicated table); pin up some stockings with silly little stocking fillers. Anything to turn your space into a fun-filled grotto.
Lou Lou’s Festive Tip #6: We got gifted food hampers one year in these wicker baskets. Every year now I like to get them out and refill them with picky bits for people to nibble on whenever they fancy a little snack. After all, if you can’t feast at Christmas, when can you?!
Candy Land Christmas Eve Box, £12.00 - Shop here
Red and White Candy Cane Christmas Earrings, £6.00 - Shop here
Holly Bells Christmas Headband, £6.00 - Shop here
CHRISTMAS PLANNING - CHRISTMAS EVE
Here comes Santa Claus! And your loved ones
Make home extra cosy
Even though there’s still work to be done, getting into the festive spirit can help make the prep more pleasurable. So, light the cinnamon candles and turn on the twinkly lights to create a Christmassy atmosphere.
Lou Lou’s Festive Tips #7: When it comes to making your home feel festive, you can do a lot with some twinkly lights and nice-smelling candles. Turn the lights down low and let the glow warm up the atmosphere!
Prepare the feast
From the turkey to the trimmings, see what can be cooked or assembled ahead from your list of Christmas dinner prep. You’ll thank yourself tomorrow amidst the buzz of it all. Note: getting food prepped is all the sweeter while bopping to Mariah.
Create Christmas Eve boxes
Christmas Eve boxes are quickly becoming a new tradition. And for those who simply can’t wait to see the smiles on their faces, it’s a chance to deliver a little joy early. Grab a box (there are Christmas Eve boxes already fit for purpose out there), whimsical bag or Giant Felt Sleigh – it’s a thing – and add in some token bits for them to open the night before Christmas.
Get ready for Santa
Gather the kids (or kids at heart) and stick out the milk and cookies – whisky and cheese nibbles also work. Don’t forget carrots for the reindeer.
CHRISTMAS PLANNING - CHRISTMAS DAY
Food glorious food
Get up a little (or a lot) early and start the Christmas cooking. Have your favourite recipes ready – and a set of elf ears too.
Finally: Let the magic sink in
Hurrah, hurray, you made it to Christmas Day! You’ve put so much into this special occasion, and you’re appreciated for it. Be sure to take some time out to enjoy yourself also.
Lou Lou’s Final Festive Tip: When you’re the one putting Christmas together for your loved ones, it’s easy to get swept up thinking you’ve got to ‘do it all’. But remember, even if things don’t go perfectly to plan, it’s all ok! Better than ok; It’s good! Any mishaps are just memories made later down the line.
No matter how or who you’re celebrating with, we believe in the magic of Christmas. It’s not about the big presents or stacks of gifts, it’s about the little things that spread A LOT of joy. The thoughtfully chosen card that makes them smile; the specifically chosen bow that they’ll treasure forever; or the quirky baked beans bauble (it’s a thing) that reminds you of them. So, head on over to our treasure trove of thoughtful little goodies that help you show you care.