It is just 5 weeks to go until Christmas. Now, I know technically its five and a half, but its only five until the kids break up, and therefore, until I need to be organised.
I am one of these people you love to hate. I like to be organised for the event, and I plan, basically from December 25th the year before – if something hasn’t gone right, I must make a mental note not to repeat it the following year, or if something has been really popular it needs remembering.
I start my Christmas shopping in January. I buy wrapping paper and cards in the sale – why spend a fortune on something that is going to be in the recycling bucket really quickly. I am getting less and less inclined to send cards now, as I do believe they are a total waste of money. I prefer not to do cards locally, and will make biscuits or sweeties instead – much nicer to dunk a homemade cookie in your tea than a piece of cardboard! I do however, also start present shopping then too. It’s not a deliberate going out of my way to look for things, but when I see something I know someone will love, I buy it and put it in my cupboard. My cupboard is a no go area for anyone else in the house. I actually think the boys are scared what might happen to them if they try to look in there!
I do keep notes of what I have, and then after the summer holidays, I start to work out who I still need to get something for. It means I have spread the cost and reduced the stress of looking for something specific. I think one of the reasons I do my Christmas shopping this way is having always worked in hospitality, getting time off in December can be next to impossible, and I have often worked six weeks straight without a day off, and that taught me to make sure I had it all done by the end of November. Another reason, and it may be a by-product of working in town centres, is that I hate pushing through the crowds, I am in fact the person internet shopping was designed for – the delivery man who comes to our house often jokes about the number of times he comes to ours, but it’s saved me hassle and some money to buy online – I am possibly responsible for the demise of the high street.
This week, I am sorting the kitchen. I need to know what I have so I can start writing the food shopping list. I have worked out my shopping dates over the next few weeks, and so I can then start to pick off the ambient products sooner rather than later. The last two supermarket deliveries I have had, I have started to stock pile fizzy juice ready for the kids breaking up – one less thing to worry about closer to the time.
I have the freezer to sort out and we will eat out of it over the next few weeks, to make room for the delights of our feast. We will probably end up with some strange meals just to use things up, but it is one way of clearing out the things that have been in there a while.
The other job I must get done this week is to make the advent bags. It is something we have done within our family for many years, and something the boys have always had and so they expect it. Each day during advent, they get one of these bags, and in it is a chocolate coin, a sweetie – lollipop or something small, and a little present. The boys love them, and it gives great excitement every day. The present has a monetary value of no more than £1, and often much less – it may be a toy car, a craft kit, a bubble bath, and things like that. I think for the boys, they ease them into Christmas much better, as they get involved in the preceding weeks, and start to talk about how things will be strange, with different activities at school, such as the Nativity, going to the pantomime, going to the church – things that without warning or conversations can be quite upsetting because of the change of routine. I do give them something a little larger at the weekend, but usually in the way of something they need to be doing such as crafts. For the adults, it tends to be things like lip balm, and face packs – things you like but never get around to buying for yourself. Everyone always seems pleased with them, and even Hubbys Mum gets in the spirit. I wont be making her one this year, as she is off to the USA with Hubbys brother next week, and wont be back until mid-December, so not worth it.
I have a busy couple of weeks coming up, but I am a great believer in planning – I love my lists! I think it is worth spending some time getting organised if it means things go smoother when it matters.
It might still be too early to wish you a Merry Christmas/Xmas, or Happy Holidays, but it wont be long now!!!!