Christmas prep

May Christmas Prep 2021

  1. Keep up with the Christmas savings and don’t be tempted to dip into your Christmas savings fund for non-Christmas related items!
  2. If you make your own Christmas cards and tags, start thinking about designs and sourcing supplies.
  3. Watch Youtube videos from your favourite Youtubers about Christmas crafts and gift ideas to get some inspiration.
  4. Keep up with your Christmas newsletter.
  5. Continue testing out new festive recipes as and when the mood strikes.
  6. Keep up with gift/stocking stuffer buying making sure you keep details of each gift on your list.  If you’re feeling brave, start wrapping what you’ve already bought!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWxnChl2wNRndmxy6fF7_MA

Christmas prep

April Christmas prep 2021

  1. Keep up with the Christmas savings and don’t be tempted to dip into your Christmas savings fund!
  2. Keep up with gift/stocking stuffer buying making sure you keep details of each gift on your list. Easter sales are a great place to buy gift baskets and soft plushies for stockings for little children.  If you’re feeling brave, start wrapping what you’ve already bought!
  3. Plan out any Christmas craft projects such as handmade cards and gifts and start sourcing supplies. Source recipes for seasonal homemade gifts like jams, chutneys and cordials.
  4. Continue testing out recipes. Easter is the perfect excuse to try out some of the more Christmassy recipes with your Easter Sunday meal.
  5. Keep up with your Christmas newsletter entries.
  6. Sign up to newsletters for places to see Father Christmas, ice skating and theatres for pantomime so you can book tickets as soon as they are out.

If you haven’t yet done so, check out The Best Christmas Yet Youtube channel for lots of fun Christmas related videos.

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March Christmas Challenge

Hello and welcome to our first Christmas Challenge.

This month’s challenge is easy!

Start testing out recipes for Christmas with your weekly Sunday roast or when you fancy trying out a new cookie recipe.  This is where those Christmas magazines you tossed into your grocery cart on a whim will come in handy!  If the recipe is a hit with your family and you’d like to add it to this Christmas’s menu, add the recipe to your Christmas recipe folder. If you haven’t yet set up a Christmas recipe folder, check out my blog post here.

Told you it would be easy! If you create something wonderful please leave a comment down below.

Christmas prep · The Best Christmas Yet

March Christmas prep 2021

Hello and welcome back to another month of simple Christmas planning that is designed to make Christmas 2021 a more enjoyable time for everyone in your household. This month’s tips are easy and won’t take much time at all but will save your sanity in the long run.

  1. Keep up with the Christmas savings and don’t be tempted to dip into your Christmas savings fund for no Christmas related items.
  2. If you send cards to friends and family that don’t live locally, consider sending them a newsletter with their Christmas card. Start a family newsletter this month and add to it throughout the year. Things like your children’s accomplishments, renovations, gardening escapades or funny anecdotes will be treasured by family who live far away.  You might like to add some pictures too. In a dedicated notebook (or the notes section on your mobile phone) note down the significant things that happened this month. Do this each month until your Christmas newsletter is due to go out.
  3. Keep up with gift/stocking stuffer buying making sure you keep details of each gift on your list.  If you’re feeling brave, start wrapping what you’ve already bought!

Easy peasy and totally doable during lockdown!

Christmas prep · The Best Christmas Yet

February Christmas prep 2021

  1. If you haven’t already done so, set up a debit order for your Christmas savings money to go into a separate account.  If you don’t have a dedicated Christmas account, I would suggest setting one up.  Saving in this way helps you to have the money set spread the cost and stay out of Christmas debt!
  2. Consider other simple ways you may like to save for Christmas such as the Penny Challenge which can be done by transferring this money into your dedicated Christmas account. Alternatively, if you are currently working from home due to Covid, consider saving the money you would normally have spent on your daily take away coffee in your dedicated Christmas account. Or, save the entire cost of your monthly commute in your Christmas savings account.
  3. Get any other prep-ahead gifts to put away in the sales if you have the cash. Don’t forget to mark them off on a list on your phone or in your Christmas planner. Don’t forget, you can also buy birthday gifts, teacher gifts and any other gifts that you would normally have bought throughout the year in the sales if you have the available cash right now.
  4. Set up this year’s Christmas planner with clean pages ready for you to smugly check off Christmas gifts as you buy them.  Put the list of items you bought in the sales into your newly set up planner.
  5. Check out the Valentine’s sales for cute items that may do well for stocking stuffers such as teddy bears for kids, heart shaped chocolates for your sweetheart (check they will still be in date in December), candles and other appropriate discounted gifts.
Christmas dinner · Christmas prep · The Best Christmas Yet

Creating a Christmas recipe folder- the easy way

Catering for the Christmas season can be a daunting task, especially for those who had to do it for the first time last Christmas thanks to the pandemic. The internet is flooded with recipes and that’s without magazines and recipe books promising you the best ever Christmas recipes. It can be overwhelming to know which recipe to try but also, once you’ve found a recipe your family raved about, the last thing on your mind is saving it for next year.

If you’ve looked at this blog post and rolled your eyes thinking, “But it’s only January! Christmas is ages away!” then think again. Chipping away at what is surely the biggest celebration of the year is the best way to be organized and less stressed so you can enjoy yourself. Christmas is something to be enjoyed, not merely endured. What I am proposing is not to sit down and create a Michelin Star chef cookbook of Christmas recipes but simply a starting point for next Christmas, so bear with me.

You can easily create your Christmas recipe file in 2 simple steps.

  1. Find yourself a 2 ring file and if it is tatty, get out the remnants of your favourite wrapping paper and cover it.
  2. Print out, photocopy or write out your favourite Christmas recipes, or the recipes you enjoyed last year and hole punch them into the file.

That’s it!

Come next Christmas, when you’re trying to figure out what to put on your Christmas grocery shopping list, take out your Christmas recipe file with a flourish and smugly jot down what ingredients you need to buy.

During the year, if you come across a roast dinner side dish that you particularly enjoyed and would like to add it into your Christmas dinner repertoire, print out the recipe and add to your file. Similarly, if you try a cookie recipe and think it will be suitable to festive cookie baking, add the recipe to your file. This file should not be a chore.

As your file evolves, you may find it helpful to add an index and dividers which are easily purchasable at most stationery shops and even some grocery stores.

Over time, it will become your Christmas recipe bible and will invoke the tastes of Christmases past. When your kids are older, they will ask for the Christmas recipes of their childhoods and will pass these recipes down to their kids.

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How to extend that Christmas feeling

Most of the world is desperate to get their homes back to normal after Christmas but are just a tiny bit gutted that Christmas is over. Of course, I’m talking about those who don’t wait until Twelfth night to take their tree down. While I love the hustle, bustle and planning that Christmas brings, it is more the cosy nights spent cuddled up on the sofa with my family watching festive films, the twinkling lights and the alcohol infused hot chocolate that I miss the most. All the cosy delights that make the season feel special and nostalgic. As I took down my Christmas tree and started putting the living room to rights, I wondered how I could extend this warm rosy glow for as long as possible and came up with the following ideas to share with you.

  1. Keep the fairy lights

You might be ready to take down the Christmas tree but it’s those twinkling fairy lights that give your space a rosy, cosy glow. String them instead around the mantlepiece or over the TV unit instead. Turn out all the lights and voila! Instant ambience.

2. Bring the outdoors in

Who is to say that you can’t still have wintery greens like holly and ivy in your home after Christmas? These evergreen symbols of hope and the Spring to come are not only beautiful to look at but also add to the feeling of warmth and coziness when draped over the mantlepiece with a toasty fire beneath.

3. Keep the hot chocolate station

The hot chocolate station is a festive staple in our house but it gets a little overhaul after Christmas. We ditch the candy canes and add things like Peanut Hottie, flavoured hot chocolate, coffee syrups and aromatic tea blends so there’s something for everyone to indulge in during the long winter days and nights.

My favourite January hot chocolate includes a teaspoon of Peanut Hottie which creates what is essentially a Reeces peanut butter cup in a mug. It’s delicious!

4. Create a Christmas 2020 album

Don’t let all those special photos of last Christmas languish on your phone. Get online and design a special Christmas photo book or print off your favourite snaps and put them into a Christmas album. Memory preservation is so important and looking through those pictures will bring a warm feeling to your heart whenever you look at them. While you are at it, send an extra photo book to loved ones that could not be with you at Christmas due to the pandemic.

5. Start planning for Christmas 2021

There’s nothing stopping you from making a start on Christmas 2021 plans! Get a nice new file and pop in all your favourite Christmas recipes, a list of gifts you bought on the sales and who they are for, a list of reduced Christmas items you bought on sale and even a wish list for each member in the family. You’ll have a head start that you can add to a tiny bit at a time to make Christmas 2021 less stressful.

I’m sure there are many other ways to extend the Christmas feeling and I would love to hear your ideas. Leave me a comment below and let me know how you keep the Christmas feeling alive during the cold winter months.

Christmas prep · The Best Christmas Yet

January Christmas prep 2021

  1. Take down your Christmas decorations, making sure to make a list of what needs to be replaced or wish list items. Look for replacements and wish list items in the sales if you budget allows.
  2. Take a video or photos of what Christmas decorations you have and store it on your computer. This will help later in the year when the decorations come out in the shops and so you don’t buy duplicates. It also helps because you’ll be able to watch the video to check if the new reindeer decorations you’ve seen in October will go with your current scheme! 
  3. Place a bottle of wine and an envelope with cash for a cheeky take away for the night you put up your decorations this coming Christmas. I’m generally too tired to cook that night! You can thank me later.
  4. Do not yet pack your Christmas decorations into the loft. Put them in the spare room or out of the way because there are bound to be Christmas stragglers all over the house that will rear their cheeky little heads as soon as those decoration boxes hit the loft. Also if you’ve been eyeing up some pretty new additions to your decoration collection have been waiting for the sales, you’ll want to put these into the loft with the rest in one go rather than storing them somewhere in the house never to be found again.
  5. Make a budget for sales shopping. Do not go sales shopping until you’ve set a budget as it is easy to overspend!
  6. Check the list of all those you bought/made Christmas gifts for the Christmas just gone and on a clean pieces of lined paper write a gift recipient list. Don’t forget to include friends, teachers, extra mural club leaders/teachers and neighbours. It’s generally safe to assume that if you gave them a gift last year, you will be buying for them again this year. Now you’ve got your list, decide on a budget for each person and hit the sales to see what you can pick up and put away for Christmas this year. Update the list with whatever gifts you buy and the location you stash them in! 
  7. Don’t forget to shop the sales for birthdays! There will be some banging bargains around so if you’re able to bag someone special the perfect birthday present without breaking the bank, buy it! Pick up birthday gifts for family members and friends; don’t forget the kids at discount prices and put them away. A word of warning, do not buy anything for the kids for Christmas that you are not 100% sure they will still be into come Christmas.  It might be best to wait until later in the year for these gifts. You should be fine shopping for stocking stuffer bits as these are generally more generic.
  8. Check what supplies you have left over from last Christmas and put them in a box or space towards this Christmas so that you don’t buy more in the sales. Add these to a list in your Christmas planner so you don’t forget about them! If you’re running low on wrapping paper, bows, cards, paper plates, items for your North Pole Breakfast pick up these on sale and put them away for Christmas this year.  Don’t forget to add them to your list.
  9. If you need a new artificial Christmas tree, now is the perfect time to pick one up at a discounted price.
  10. Check any toys that you buy for what battery sizes they require.  Either buy these now or put them on your list to purchase later in the year.
  11. Set a budget for Christmas this year and divide by 11 months and set up a debit order to save that amount each month until Christmas.
  12. January is when all the home organizing items hit the shops. Buy a couple of new plastic storage tubs for all the new Christmas decorations you added to your collection.
  13. If you don’t have a dedicated gift cupboard or present storage area locate one in your home and tidy it out to make space. Place all the items you bought in the January sales in there. I also like to keep leftover Christmas items like wrapping paper, paper plates, napkins, crackers here so they’re easy to find.
  14. Buy a reusable Christmas shopping bag or tote on sale and use it as your Christmas planner tote. Store it together with last year’s Christmas planner, a nice pen, a few sachets of your favourite Christmas hot chocolate, your favourite Christmas mug and a note pad. Store this somewhere safe (always the same spot) so you can update your lists anytime you need to quickly and easily.