5 ways to get a head start on Christmas

Published: 04th December 2018

If the return of November this week made you wake in a cold sweat wondering where the year has gone, you may not want to be reminded that Christmas is now just 52 days away. That's just under seven and a half weeks, or 1248 hours, which may not sound like a lot - or even enough to fit in everything you have to do - but is still plenty of time to get a headstart on the festive season, before it beats you to it.

With presents to buy and wrap, a christmas tree to decorate, holidays to plan for, not-to-mention - in our case at least - the impending arrival of overseas visitors and countless festive parties to prepare for, there is always so much to do during the end-of-year festivities. It doesn't have to be stressful, however, and taking a few simple steps now to prepare can save your blood pressure in a few week's time.

1. Meal plan!

Our house - and likely our clothes after all that food - will be bursting this Christmas, hosting family and friends from near and far for the traditional dinner. To throw a spanner in the works, we've booked a family holiday and don't return until the 24th. My initial reaction was to panic at the thought of hitting the supermarket on Christmas Eve to stock the house, when what I'll need to be doing is mixing meringue and stuffing meat. Enter online shopping. I order my shopping online each and every week - why should Christmas be any different? If you're already fretting about your food shopping, set aside some time this weekend to decide what you're cooking this Christmas, and create an online shopping list on your preferred supplier (we use Woolworths). You can order and pay now or nearer the time - either way, it's off your panic list!

2. Get crafty

We decided a few years ago that it would be impossible to give substantial gifts to all the very many people we hold dear and who support us through the year - the mums and dads of our children's friends, our daycare teachers, the list goes on. At that time we decided to, each year, gift these special people a special christmas decoration to add to their own collection each year. Best of all - we involve our kids in the crafting. This year, we've already started creating simple, festive decorations to hang on the tree, using different coloured Fimo, festive cookie cutters, ribbon and stamps. One other inexpensive gift we roll out at Christmas are individual glass jars of home made bliss balls, which is again something to involve the kids with.

Christmas decorations

3. Present Planning

If you want to avoid last minute wrapping, stressful trips to the shops and the fear of your online deliveries arriving, NOW is the time to plan and purchase your Christmas presents. Best of all, it also means, come Christmas, everything is already paid for, and you have a little bit in the bank to spend or save as you wish.

4. Bake in Advance

Did you know you can freeze most baked goods and, best of all, they taste just as good once defrosted? It's a trick we use each week to ensure our kids have something home baked in their lunch box every day. And with Christmas requiring that extra level of baking (think sugar and spice and all things nice) why not start stocking up your freezer right now. Just baking one batch a week between now and Christmas will give you a stockpile of seven batches come Christmas day.

5. Make your Christmas Cards

OK, so some of you may have bought your Christmas cards in the sales earlier this year and, if so, get them out now and start writing them! Come December, they'll be all ready to post to their rightful recipients. Others (namely, me) may not have been so prepared. We do, however, have a collection of blank cards in our craft drawer, courtesy of kmart, which will be whipped out on occasions over the coming month for our toddlers to decorate. It's a double whammy - alleviating boredom for them whilst helping me prep for Christmas!

Have you already started planning for Christmas?

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