It’s a time for catching up with friends and family. For eating good food - often too much of it. For relaxing. But the days and weeks leading up to Christmas can be incredibly hectic, as we juggle our normal busy routines with present-buying, menu planning and getting our house at least a little bit presentable for guests.
But creating a four-week pre-Christmas plan should make your life a whole lot simpler.
A month before
- Put an hour aside to go through your Christmas decorations. Toss (or recycle) what is looking worse for wear; check that lights are working.
- If you’re planning to order most of your presents online, make a list (check it twice) and start to hit the “add to basket” button.
- Start considering what you’re going to serve for the festive meal. Browse recipe books or websites and begin a shopping list.
- It’s not too early to buy long-life food and grocery items such as crackers and soft drinks. Keep an eye out for specials.
- Before the rush starts, buy wrapping paper and cards.
- If you’re a baker/cook, now is the time to make your Christmas cake and pudding.
Three weeks to go
- If you’re serving meat or fish, order it now from your butcher or fishmonger.
- Order flowers from your florist.
- Post your Christmas cards and packages (check Australia Post’s website for cut-off dates for international postage).
- If you’ve got guests coming to stay, clear out the spare room, put fresh sheets on the bed, check that lamps have working light bulbs.
- Start wrapping presents… and consider buying a few gifts for those last-minute emergencies.
- Bring some Christmas spirit into the house by getting everyone involved in putting up decorations.
Two weeks to go
- Stock up on batteries for kids’ toys that will be opened on Christmas Day.
- Start checking crockery, glassware and cutlery to ensure you’ve got enough and that everything is clean and in good condition.
- Finalise your menu and your shopping list.
- Double check that everyone who’s been invited for your Christmas meal is coming. Double check that no-one has special dietary needs.
- Wash and iron your tablecloths and other linen.
- If you’re serving lunch or dinner outdoors, take care of any gardening or maintenance.
- Make anything that can be frozen ahead of time for the big day.
One week to go
- Mow the lawn.
- For pool owners, check the water condition.
- If you need to borrow anything for the big day, do it now.
- Clear out the fridge – you’ll need plenty of space.
- Make sure Eskys are clean and ready to use.
- Decide on your decorations for the Christmas table – buy what you might need, freshen up anything you already have.
- Write place-cards.
- Check that air-conditioners are working and clean filters.
- Don’t be afraid to set your table well in advance, particularly if it’s not used for family meals.
Hopefully, by the time the final countdown has started and you’re shopping for fresh produce, picking up meat and/or fish, collecting your flower order, doing advance food-prep, buying ice and giving the house a deep clean, you’ll feel incredibly organised, terribly proud of yourself … and ready to enjoy the company of the people you love.
Why not Go Carbon Neutral at no extra cost and give the planet some extra cheer this Christmas.