How to make sure you are ready for Christmas

In normal times, explaining how to prepare for Christmas would involve jokes about a Christmas Eve dash to the superstore. However, with all the supply chain disruptions and the ever-present concerns about COVID, understanding how to be ready for the festive season is challenging. There is a genuine need to understand what you need to do now to be sure you can have the best time possible in December. Here we offer some guidance on how you might avoid the disappointment of another cancelled Christmas.

Work out your budget

One way that Christmas is often ruined is by the credit card bill that arrives in January. We all live with high expectations of what this holiday means to us, and we don’t want to be disappointed. Therefore, we tend to be drawn into spending beyond our means.

One way to maximise your love of this season is to set a budget for yourself and discuss it with others. If everyone is on the same page in terms of gifts, there will be a lot less pressure when going shopping.

Write your lists

Write a gifts and cards list. While this might sound like a boring admin task, it is a great way to build excitement and anticipation. There is no better way to start building the Christmas spirit than by hiding wrapped gifts around the house out of the way of prying eyes.

By writing a checklist and reviewing it often, you reduce the tensions and upsets that can arise to ruin the holiday season. While we all love an impromptu purchase, running the whole of Christmas this way might open the door to disasters.

Plan your menu

Starting a plan for your menu will help you modify what food you buy for the Christmas holiday. While it is a period of excess, we are living in tough times. Keeping our food bill down is going to leave more money for gifts. Also, imagine trying out some of the recipes in the lead up to the big day. The kids are going to love Christmas cookie decoration super early. We were going to suggest making the cakes and cookies early, so you can cross it off the list – but the sense of temptation might be too high, and these goodies might not make it to the third week of December.

Shop early

More than any other year, it is a good idea to get those gifts in early. Nobody knows how the supply chain problems will pan out, and you don’t want to be left empty-handed. Anything you can buy early, do. The last thing you want is a stressful December when you realise the shelves are empty and you have nothing to give people.

To avoid any stress, it is probably a great idea to shop online rather than brave the crowds. For some, going into busy shops this winter feels uncomfortable. You can still buy from artisans online and support small businesses. If you start doing this now, you can be sure of delivery before the holidays.

While Christmas is undoubtedly a commercial time of year, when what we buy is important, it is also good to realise that these products don’t make the holiday. This could also be the year that you modify your expectations of what you need to buy in and what you can live without – even if the shelves are bare.

Choose your venue – and have a backup plan

What last year taught us all is that you cannot be sure of plans. Therefore, normally, the conversation of who is hosting Christmas is one that is done in early November. The household acting as the venue needs time to prepare – and so it is a great idea to make plans.

But what happens if this plan cannot happen due to travel restrictions?

Make sure you also have a plan B in place, so you do not run the risk of a cancelled Christmas. What will you do if you have to stay at home for Christmas, and how will you connect with your loved ones?

The short version

The message is clear – start early and plan. While we all accept Christmas is about being together with loved ones, there are other expectations that make and break the season. This year, more than ever, we need to plan to avoid disappointment. We need a happy holiday more than ever and being prepared is essential.

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