The festive season is nearly upon us and if you have not started planning for it yet, then now is the time to start jotting down your ideas and working out what needs doing when. The days will soon disappear and before you know it, Santa is coming down the chimney and the Turkey is being defrosted. So here is our Countdown to Christmas essential checklist to ensure that nobody gets missed and your Christmas present shopping goes like clockwork.
How many people are you shopping for? Make a list of all the friends and relatives you are planning to shop for and jot down some rough ideas.
Set a budget – It is easy to lose track of spending at Christmas and to avoid getting in a tricky financial mess, you should allocate funds for each person and roughly stick to it.
Don’t forget yourself – While you’re busy thinking about other people’s presents, you should be receiving requests for your own present ideas and for those of your family. So while you’re jotting down ideas, have a think about what you would like too.
Make your own presents? Increasingly, people are opting to make their own presents, either to itch that creative scratch, to save some money or just as little stocking fillers that add a personal touch. If so, you need to make a start now as things like pickles, chutneys or embroidery or craft items can take time to plan and do.
Avoid duplications – Where Christmas lists are passed around between the family, avoid people buying the same items twice by communicating well and employing a system to cross items off when bought.
Start shopping early – Of course it makes sense to avoid the December rush for presents, but many shops and online stores have some bargains in October and November because they know festive shoppers are on the lookout. Also, browsing online allows you to find more options but it can still take time to track down exactly what you want.
Wrapping paper – Some people stock up on wrapping paper in January when it is reduced after the previous Christmas, but certainly you need to plan ahead and make sure you have enough to cover your needs. There is nothing worse than feeling the relief of finishing your shopping, only to be met by the panic of running out of wrapping paper.
Don’t forget Christmas cards – Matching cards and wrapping paper make for lovely gift presentation, so when searching for wrapping paper you should also have in mind how many Christmas cards you need and what designs you would prefer.
Delivery methods – Once you have finished your shopping you need to think about how you are going to get your presents to your loved ones. You might be meeting on Christmas Day or Boxing Day in which case you can deliver them yourself (bearing in mind those little ones that need to believe Santa brought them) but if you are not meeting at all around the Big Day, think about postage in good time.
Start wrapping – If you think the hard work is done when all the shopping is finished, think again. Start wrapping your presents in good time, and you might need to do a batch at a time over a period of days to get through them all.
Last minute gifts – Don’t panic, there are plenty of online sites, little gift shops or craft stores that can sort you out for those unexpected gifts you need to buy that you hadn’t planned for.
Hang out the stockings – Christmas Eve is finally here and you can lay everything out, marvel at your matching Christmas Cards and wrapping paper and feel thankful that you planned ahead in advance!