managEAble, sEAsons

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Christmas Mantle

I find Christmas can be a very busy and stressful time trying to co-ordinate a number of jobs whilst trying to enjoy the season.  It is quite a balancing act and so I always need to have a plan in place.  I have developed a step by step plan over the years as my starting point for having a great hassle free and enjoyable Christmas.


Step 1 –  The Planning and Scheduling

  • Always try to sit down and make definite plans for Christmas, preferably in early November or sooner
  • To ring the changes think of something different to do this year or do something differently
  • Make a list of things that have worked well or really didn’t work at all at Christmas in previous years, for instance, we never decorate beyond the end of October. We learnt this long ago from when we were young and foolish and would end up falling into bed at 1am on Christmas morning after hanging the last piece of wallpaper!
  • Keep a Christmas inspiration book / wallet
  • Agree a spending limit and each January open a Christmas savings account
  • Plan time to have a family photo session (formal or informal at home) to record the event and even use as cards for  grannie and aunties!

    Make a Christmas Countdown Calendar for November and December

  • Enter set dates such as birthdays, anniversaries
  • Re-schedule any unnecessary appointments during the busy time, such as the dentist if they can wait
  • Schedule dates for making Xmas items such as cake and cards
  • Schedule in time for the things you want to do such as attend church, Carol Singing, Nativity play etc
  • Enter last date for postings generally 11 November last date for surface mail to Eastern Europe, 18 November last date for surface mail to Western Europe, 5 December last date for airmail to outside Europe, 12 December last date for airmail to Europe
  • Put in a reminder to buy advent sweets etc
  • Book and enter hair / beauty appointments
  • Establish everyone’s movements and add to calendar
  • Have emergency numbers ready by the phone

Step 2 – The Big Clean up

  • Make an ultimate clean-up plan to use each year
  • Work through the plan room by room
  • Clean out the freezer and stock with basics
  • Prepare Guest rooms and plan any bedding required
  • Gather together tableware for Christmas Dinner and other events you are hosting and add to this if necessary

Step 3 – The Food and Entertaining

  • Decide on any entertaining or parties you might have then buy, write and send invitations
  • Decide if you are to host Christmas Dinner or similar
  • Plan the menus
  • Plan the baking and cooking for the freezer
  • Make an effort to cook all the required food early and freeze
  • Make lots of soups / stews
  • Stock up on basics in November
  • Try out new recipes you intend to use

Step 4 – The Gifts and Cards

  • Update your Christmas card list and addresses
  • Plan a budget well in advance list the main people for gifts then close friends then a contingency for those unknown last-minute gifts
  • Buy a decorated box and use for card writing to keep everything together.  They can be written in batches whilst watching TV
  • If short of time buy or make all the same cards or no more than two different designs to speed up the process
  • Print labels for all cards to be posted
  • Decide if any gifts can be made and what they will be
  • Begin a gift ideas list for each person –  have a clear detailed list before leaving the house and keep it with you at all times
  • Try having a theme eg books, slippers
  • Keep one envelope for all your Christmas present receipts for expensive presents use a credit card so they are insured
  • Have a themed stocking and purchase small gifts weekly to spread out the spending
  • After an initial look around the shops for gifts decide on who for what and then go buy it so they don’t sell out
  • Keep a spare gift something you can use afterwards
  • Go to the advertised discount / points nights
  • Remember to buy and wrap those December birthdays

Step 5 –  The General Shopping

  • Have a Xmas shopping list – you only need do this once.  Split into basics and Xmas.  Buy basics in November
  • Check remedies and medicine stocks
  • Begin buying drink early to ease the load
  • Buy Xmas tree lights and any spare bulbs early
  • Remember batteries, stain remover, sellotape etc
  • Buy blank DVD’s early and set recorder in advance for programmes you might miss.
  • Buy fresh flowers
  • Buy Xmas Tree
  • Buy or make crackers

Step 6 – The fun and the pampering

  • Decide on which invites to accept
  • Check your wardrobe and start early to plan and buy outfits whilst there is a good choice in the shops
  • Schedule in some stress free time to relax
  • Book the hairdresser, beauty or pampering sessions early


Wow it does look quite a list written down like this but it can be used year on year by just altering the dates slightly to suit when the weekends fall.  For instance I always make my cake near to the 24th November on the same day as the Crisis charity coffee morning as I can guarantee being around that afternoon.  (Having said that this year we had to go to Scotland and guess what – I still have to bake my cake!)  We buy a real tree each year so we tend to get that one or two weekends before Christmas so it doesn’t look like a skeleton tree on Christmas day.

Most of all I want to enjoy the ‘getting ready’ bit as much as the day itself.  I love the idea over at Linden Grove of the slow walk to Christmas – however, I think it might be a bit late for my slow walk this year as it is quickly becoming a fast sprint.  I think I would have to start much earlier as I always try to make as much as I can for Christmas rather than buy.

How do you plan for Christmas or maybe it just happens?





7 thoughts on “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…”

  1. I always love reading your lists they give me such inspiration and encouragement to do the same! I like your idea of trying something new each year.
    Sarah x


  2. Thank you for the link to my blog although my slow walk is speeding up now as I realise there is still much to do! The step by step plan looks like a great idea and I think I will be using it in the future!


    1. I am convinced there is a slow walk to Christmas – I think we just need to discover the right path!
      PS – the step by step plan doesn’t come with any guarantees – I know that for definite or my Christmases would be perfect by now!!


    1. Hi Rose it is nice to hear from you. I was over on your blog the other night after reading Simone’s post. As usual it was probably after midnight and I should have been in bed but I did bookmark your site to make sure I came back for another visit and note down those recipes. My elder daughter is addicted to Greece and loves anything Greek especially the way of life and the food. She spent many summers on the Greek islands helping with the Turtle Conservation projects and then lived and worked for a while in Athens and is able to speak Greek. So of course I was quite drawn to your blog and then you pop up in my comments box!
      Thank you for your kind words – although I have been blogging a year now I am still very much a novice!! But it is still lovely to hear from new people and discover new blogs. Hope to hear from you again soon.


      1. The feeling is mutual! Being an English teacher in primary education, I’m drawn to anything British and I blog in English to practice and update the language! I also bookmarked your blog!I was impressed to see that your daughter has had a connection with Greece and she speaks Greek, as it is quite a difficult language. I will post more Greek recipes in the days to come, so you can make one or two for your daughter to enjoy! Thank you for replying, talk to you soon!


Before you go I would love to hear from you...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s