Getting organised over the festive period

First published: 29-11-2015

Christmas table

Christmas is typically a hectic time of year. The streets are busy and the shops are even busier; it can feel like a challenge to get everything ready in time.

With some planning and organisation, preparing for a visit from Saint Nick - as well as the in-laws - can be a stress-free and rewarding experience.

We've created a timescale to give you a helping hand in getting more on top of things this year, so you can focus on enjoying every minute of the festive season!

Before December strikes

Write a card and present list

Everyone vows to start the gift-buying earlier each year, but it's easier said than done.

Instead of making yourself a promise you might not be able to keep, create a list of people you're sending cards to, as well as who you're buying presents for. While you're doing this, set yourself a realistic budget to keep to, so you don't end up accidentally overspending.

When the date does roll over onto December 1st, you'll be in a great position to go out and grab exactly what you need, without deliberating in a supermarket isle for most of the morning.

Our top tip: If you're buying toys for the kids, don't forget to grab some extra batteries just in case!

Work out your festive calendar

Whether you're going to a party out of obligation or are delightedly hosting your own, you have to work out what you can and can't feasibly attend.

Showing your face at just one party shouldn't be too much of a problem, but if you're planning to host a party yourself, you'll have to work out a day most people can make. Christmas is a notoriously busy time for everyone, so some people may not be available without early notice!

Aside from parties, consider what Christmassy days out you might fancy attending, as well as the local lights switch-on and the kids' nativity play.

Consult local websites such as Visit Yorkshire to see what's going on in your area, then decide what you'd like to attend and mark it all on your calendar.

Our top tip: Get yourself a good old-fashioned wall calendar and jot down events as soon as you know they're occurring, so you can fit in everything you want to attend.

When December descends

Christas baubles

Decking the halls

Some people may insist on putting up their decorations in late November, but the start of December is early enough for most.

You may want to get your outside lights up earlier however, as there's no obligation to actually switch them on until you thoroughly feel like you're in the Christmas spirit.

Hanging up Christmas cards as and when you receive them prevents you from having to set them out all at once, and if you opt for an artificial Christmas tree, you're able to get it out of the cupboard and decorate it sooner than you could with a real one.

Our top tip: If you're considering a real Christmas tree, you should look to buy it mid-December, so it doesn't begin to shed its needles before you get the chance to put any presents under it!

Preparing for the big day

The amount of planning required for Christmas Day itself depends on whether you're the one hosting dinner. If you are, you'll have to think about food shopping, setting the table, having sufficient crockery, and making sure the house is clean of strewn wrapping paper.

Buying a fresh turkey has to be done almost at the last minute unfortunately - no earlier than the 22nd - to make sure that it's fresh when you all get together around the table. However, a frozen bird can last much longer - if you have room in the freezer, that is!

If you want an old-fashioned festive bird, but you don't fancy heading to the supermarket so close to Christmas, you can order one earlier in the month, then take delivery closer to the time. Local farm shops are the ideal places to order your bird well in advance of the big day itself.

When it comes to side dishes, think about what you could cook the day before, then heat up later. Sides such as red cabbage or pigs in blankets are perfect examples of food you can prepare early-on, while the turkey itself will have to wait until Christmas Day.

When the time comes to put the bird in the oven, timing and organisation really is integral in hosting a successful Christmas dinner! In fact, we've put a whole post together on getting organised in the kitchen to help you out.

However, one thing that we'd certainly recommend is having a clock on-hand to help you get all of your timings in order. A desk clock to sit on the kitchen counter is ideal - preferably one with an alarm function to let you know when certain things are cooked.

Seiko alarm clock

This model from Seiko fulfils those exact requirements and comes in a beautiful white colour scheme that's modern and stylish in design.

Our top tip: If you need to travel home or away for Christmas, don't forget to book any aeroplane or train tickets early!

Promising to be more organised at Christmas is something we say to ourselves every year, but rarely do we put it into action. By making this a pre-new year's resolution, the festive season can be a lot less stressful, and far more enjoyable.

© Copyright WATCH SHOP UK - DO NOT COPY

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