Christmas has begun!
October may be the month of Halloween, but for us and all of the early-birds reading this, Christmas has already begun!
This is your essential guide to ensuring that you can stay on top of your festive planning, whilst still having fun at the same time. Planning ahead of time will be sure to get you off to a flying start so that it means less stress for you and your family nearer to the big day.
First thing to do – a To-Do List
Yes, you could be a traditionalist and write down a list from pen to paper, or make an Excel spreadsheet, but this year why not pull out all the stops and download a planning app?
Todoist allows you to keep digital notes, useful for when you’re on the move, and allows you to set deadlines and reminders for important jobs. You can also set tasks for other people – a great way to get the family to help you out!
WeekCal is an all-singing, all-dancing calendar that allows you to colour code and categorise events so you don’t miss anything in the run up to Christmas.
Use Evernote to save your important to-do lists, grocery lists, present notes – you can even save photos there for when you need a visual reminder. You can also share your lists and notes with others – so all the family can stay up to date with the planning.
Here are some basic must have’s to include on your to do list to get you started:
• Arrange the host – who’s entertaining this year? This will help with your other tasks
• Grocery shopping list
• Presents for your loved ones
• Gift ideas for you!
• Entertainment – Santa grotto’s, markets, shows and events
Look out for the pre-Christmas sales
Although some of you may think that October is still too early, a new report from eBay ads suggests that 25% of UK shoppers that celebrate Christmas will have started thinking about Christmas shopping before the end of August. This results from many people feeling more optimistic about Christmas as opposed to 2020 where let’s face it, wasn’t the best Christmas we’ve ever had!
With that in mind, we encourage you to at least start thinking about what you might gift your loved ones this year. Even if you start small, it’s still a start. It could be a book that your parent/s have asked for, or even a jumper for your best friend.
For any parents reading this, we heavily encourage you to start shopping for your little ones, especially if there is a particular on trend toy that they’re after. Leaving it nearer to Christmas can unfortunately lead to a lot of panic and disappointment. Get in there while you can, you might even pick up an early bargain!
By taking that first leap, you will feel a wonderful sense of organisation and inspiration for the festivities ahead.
October is the time that most shops launch their Christmas ranges, both online and in store so why not beat the last minute rush and get ahead of it now? Think of now as the perfect time to think about all the extras that you need, perhaps from last year when you thought “I won’t forget that next year!”. For example, if you’re hosting, do you need a bigger roasting tin, more saucepans or extra glasses and crockery? If you have guests staying over, do you need extra bedding, toiletries and towels?
This year, the day falls on the 21st November 2021 and is traditionally the day for making the Christmas pudding. Admittedly, most of us will buy one at our local supermarket but this year, we’re embracing the challenge and being extra organised.
Plus, with so many recipes available for you to choose from, whether you want something ultra-rich or a modern lighter variation, who can say no to a magnificent homemade Christmas pud?
This doesn’t need to be a difficult task though. If you’re not a typical cook, try to make the most fun out of it and make it a family activity to enjoy together. One can gather the ingredients, someone else can prepare the dish and pre heat the oven and then you can all have a turn to mix the ingredients! Who knows, it might even become a family tradition?
If you’re planning to ‘feed’ your Christmas pudding, now is the best time to make your cake. To ‘feed it’, all you need to do is poke a few holes in the top of the cake once it’s out of the oven and spoon over two tablespoons of alcohol – rum, whiskey or brandy ought to do the trick!
Once cool, wrap up in baking parchment and tin foil and continue to ‘feed it’ up to four times before you tuck in!