It’s time to start planning for Christmas………………

Whaaat! I hear you say

I know it’s only September, but it is actually less than three months until the big day and with Covid threatening to spoil some of the fun, it makes sense to start planning, buying, wrapping and sending those Christmas wishes and gifts as early as possible. The retail sector in the UK has warned that demand for online shopping will be huge this year as social distancing measures remain in place, (as reported by the bbc) but I have been encouraging customers to buy early for years.

My Granny said…..
It took me quite a while to get my head around planning early for Christmas, and I thought it quite amusing that my grandmother would always stock up on Christmas cards and wrapping paper in the January sales, but after learning from own mistakes during my adult life, I can now fully appreciate her words of wisdom. Not only would she stock up in the January sales, but she would do her Christmas gift shopping little by little each month, making sure she got as much bang for her buck from her small pension as possible. She was wise, being one of eleven children and born in the 1920’s, she must have learned a lot about budgeting and planning for Christmas with such a large family,

In my early adulthood I believed, like many others of my generation that Christmas shopping was supposed to be that last minute dash around the shops, blowing your last pay packet of the year (and possibly maxing out your credit card or overdraft) on gifts and way too much food, along with all the other festive shoppers, to the repetitive Christmas tunes blasted out in the shopping centres and supermarkets. But I have since learned my lesson.

A change of lifestyle
Some huge changes to my lifestyle of the last ten years have enabled me to take a step back and re-evaluate how Christmas can be approached. So here I am sharing some tips which can help you make some small changes to smoothly execute a less stressful, less costly Christmas.

Bitesized tips…………….
(my more detailed guide, Get Christmas wrapped up early can be found by clicking this link, with bonus tips)

Plan now

This is high priority. Get your pens and paper, tablet or phone at the ready to make three lists.
List 1, Christmas Cards
List 2. Gifts
List 3. Shopping list for Christmas cards, wrapping paper, bows, sticky tape, ribbons, labels, gift bags/boxes etc (or alternatives to traditional gift wrap, I’ll be covering those in another post soon, but my re-usable wooden gift labels are a great way to be more eco-friendly and make a great addition to gifts for your children).

One of the biggest gripes about wrapping Christmas presents is not having enough of the the above, you should plan to buy more than you will need, (you can always use any surplus supplies next year).
Optional: Make a Christmas playlist on Spotify, Alexa or other service, ready for your gift wrapping session.

Start shopping

Begin by purchasing those cards and wrapping essentials. Now you can start buying gifts knowing you have plenty of time to find the right gift for each person. Don’t rely on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this year retailers will start offering discounts earlier and for longer periods so you can make the most of these offers early on, but if you find the perfect gift early; buy it if you can afford to, you never know if stock availability may become an issue if you leave it until later.

Buy any personalised gifts as early as you can to allow for delivery.

Have a safe place at home designated for storing your gifts to avoid any spoilers! You can also start wrapping, leaving everything to the last minute can be overwhelming and time consuming (this is another major gripe about wrapping gifts) so it can be less stressful to wrap gifts as you buy them, and don’t forget to tick them off your list too.

Send those cards

Aim to send your Christmas cards by the beginning of December, to allow plenty of time for delivery especially to the UK where postal services can easily become overwhelmed during normal circumstances let alone during the pandemic crisis.

Don't forget your loved ones overseas

We have family as far flung as New Zealand. I have learned it makes sense to send cards as early as mid/end November. I have also used websites based in New Zealand to source and send gifts. This ensures there are no issues with border/customs regulations and can also save you money.

Finishing touches