Tackling the never ending to-do list in preparation for Christmas Day can be hugely overwhelming but with these simple organisation tips, you can take the stress out of the planning and enjoy everything the holidays are meant to be about, instead of running around like a headless turkey.
Whether you’re hosting Christmas Day dinner for the whole fam or plotting gift ideas, we hope these steps will help simplify the process & minimise stress. It’s your inner Monica Geller’s time to shine, gals.
Decide on a budget
Decide how much you can afford to spend on Christmas this year and stick to it. Everyone is working with different incomes which is why it’s a great idea to come up with a budget to suit all your guests. And it doesn’t just have to apply to food, if you’re buying gifts for one another you can put a £10 limit in place to make it fun and fair.
Make a to-do list
You can never have too many lists when it comes to planning Christmas and there’s nothing more satisfying than striking a pen through your notes and crossing off your to-dos.
If you don’t tend to carry an organiser with you, make use of the notes App on your phone to write your to-do lists and any reminders you might need. Where we go, our phones usually follow so if you’re out and have an opportunity to cross something off your list, you can open up your notes and edit on the go. Easy!
Start your planning ahead of December to give yourself plenty of time to get everything organised. How are you contributing to Christmas this year, are you hosting at your house? How many guests will you be feeding?
Communicate with everyone involved to ensure the whole family are in the know. A quick WhatsApp group is all you need to get your guests up to speed.
Save inspiration ideas
If you spot anything on Instagram or Pinterest, simply save it to a collection or board and name it ‘Christmas Prep’ so all your ideas are collated in one place. You can save everything from recipes, décor inspiration and gift ideas.
Get your calendar in order
December is an abnormally busy month for everyone. If you’re planning on squeezing in some time with your friends over the holidays, it’s best to get in there early and organise activities and social engagements ahead of the rush and before restaurants, ice rinks and theatres get booked up. Avoid disappointment – the early bird catches the worm!
Do secret Santa
Use a site to draw names for your secret Santa – it’s a quick, easy and cost-effective way to sort your gift exchange, especially for big groups or families. No paper or hats necessary!
Share food responsibilities
For most people, organising the whole shebang from prawn cocktail starters to pudding is too much to take on. Delegate dishes to everyone to make it an equal effort. Teamwork makes the dreamwork!
Get Linda to tackle nibbles, put Nigel on booze duty and, if you’re having meat this Christmas, divide the gammon, turkey and pigs in blankets between a few guests as it can be costly if left to one person.
Decide on how your menu will look and pencil in a date to do the food shop or organise your online delivery.
Make food in advance
Work out what you can freeze or make beforehand, too. Prepping all your gravy, pâté, sauces, chutneys, mincemeat for your homemade mince pies and mulled wine in advance is a real time-saver.
Declutter your home
Start to declutter and create space for your Christmas decorations. If you have guests staying over at Christmas, you may need to clear some space in the spare room and have a tidy up to make sure it’s cosy and inviting.
Most of us are guilty of using any spare space we have as a dumping ground for miscellaneous items and laundry, so this is a great opportunity to organise and give those odd bobs a home.
Label your decorations
Use clear, labelled boxes to make your decorations that little bit more organised. You’ll thank yourself next year when everything’s in order and you can see exactly where your fairy lights are.
Lay the table
You can get the table ready early and give yourself one less thing to do on the day. It’s a great way to see if you’re short on napkins or any tableware, and that way you still have time to make a last-minute dash to the shops or ask a guest to bring some extra plates with them.
Make a schedule for the day
Make a schedule for when each dish should go in and come out of the oven. It’s so easy to get distracted with present-opening and socialising and before you know it, you’ve burnt the bird. Timing is everything – get that right and you can put your feet up in-between the cooking and spend time with your guests.
You might want to create time slots throughout the day so everyone knows when it’s time to watch the Queen’s speech, play games or squeeze in a quick nap and dodge the washing up. It’s always Grandad but we’ll let him off, the jammy git.