Recently my Uncle imparted some wisdom to me, which he claims is likely to change my life forever. I'm not quite so sure about life changing but I'm always up for a little wisdom, so I thought why not share it with the world?
1. End of September / Early October - make a plan of who you need to buy for and what you need to do to organise Christmas. Speak to your local butcher and order your turkey in advance, and make a list of everything you need to buy for Christmas. Anything non perishable, order online and get it delivered. Anything perishable, see point 7.
2. Do all your shopping in October / November, according strictly to the list, before the seething masses turn you into a homicidal maniac, while you can still pick up things that your nearest and dearest are liable to actually like or if you're in a creative frame of mind, collect the bits and pieces necessary to make your presents over the next couple of months. This affords you the luxury of shopping in relative peace and quiet.
3. Order what you can from the internet (thereby avoiding the seething masses - very smart indeed) and take full advantage of the money that you know you'll save by not entering into shopping halls of hell. (also take full advantage of web discounts!). This also means that you avoid the insane panic of last minute ordering and and associated torture of wondering if it will arrive on time.
4. Write all your Christmas cards by the end of November, ready to post at the start of December.
5. Wrap your presents by the end of November, put them all away and forget about Christmas entirely.
6. Enjoy the feeling of serenity (and smugness) that you've got Christmas all sorted and everyone else is suddenly going a bit nuts and wondering how they're going to afford it all and get everything done in time.
7. Approximately two weeks before Christmas, find the list that you made in point one and double check it. It may need updating if your plans have changed.
8. Start enjoying Christmas ... the Carol singers, the Christmas tree buying and decorating, knowing that Christmas is all sorted and that you don't have any last minute panicking to do. (Note about the Carol Singers - insist on at least two Carols sung with gusto before giving them any money)
9. About a week before Christmas, order what perishables you need for the holiday online from one of the various supermarkets, whichever takes your fancy. The delivery charges might be a few quid extra but when you think about how much you've saved by not panic buying (and that it means you don't have to brave the ravening hordes) - you deserve it. G'warn. Besides, it also means you get a few hours to yourself that you would otherwise spend in a Supermarket full of other people's temperamental children. I know which I'd go for, given the choice.
10. Come Christmas day, you'll invariably be surrounded by various rellies, all wanting to tell you how to do Christmas and wanting to give you a hand. The cure for this is simple - it needs to be nipped in the bud and early! You tell everyone that you're cooking, the kitchen is your domain and not a single soul is to set foot in there on Christmas day if they value their health. So at any point you need a quick break or Granny's getting your goat just flash them all a bright smile and say you need to quickly check on the turkey and you'll be back in a tic. Escape to the kitchen, pour yourself a stiff drink and breathe. The best bit ... as everyone will think you've been working like a trojan, they can all do the washing up! (Note: tossing the entire family out for a walk 'to work up an appetite' also works a treat if you can get away with it)
Stocking Filler Ideas (from Money Magpie)
Amazon Filler Item - cheap things ideal for stockings to knock your order up to the free delivery level