With four weeks to go till the big day, we're doing great. Hopefully by now you have amassed a decent stash of long-life foods and drinks in the garage, larder or spare room, alongside your growing stash of presents. Your diary is organised, everything you need is booked, and you have a lovely collection of lists so that there are no worries left in your head. If you haven't reached Christmas planning nirvana yet, or you're the type that refuses to do anything until December is staring down the barrel of a calendar at you, go back and read our Christmas Organisation posts up to now. Make sure you have a notepad and diary with you so you can get up to speed fast. If you're already ahead of the game, here's this week's tasks.
This is the week to set up your wrapping station or, if you don't have the space for that, at least gather all your wrapping equipment together. Choose and buy your wrapping paper, and assorted ribbons, tags, embellishments etc. We recommend a different design for each person, then give them a square of the paper in their Christmas card so they can hunt out their presents in the pile. Saves having to write endless tags and makes it so much easier for children to find their presents, or to share them out.
Make sure you have enough paper - or at least the shop does in case you need to go back! - as well as sellotape, tags, ribbon etc. Buy fancy Sharpie pens if you need to, and any gift bags for awkwardly shaped presents. Put your scissors with your wrapping equipment so you don't have to spend ages hunting them down when needed.
Does everyone staying with you have a stocking for filling, or do they need to bring their own? Do you need to buy any more? Poundland has a great range, including cute Frozen stockings and Santa sacks, if you're short.
Once you have everything, start wrapping the things you have bought already, and from now on wrap as you buy.
Today is the much-touted Black Friday and over this weekend there will be lots of special offers and deals to be had, amongst them some great bargains. BUT do remember that it's only a bargain if you were going to buy it anyway, or if it is the perfect thing for someone on your list. And never, ever go over your budget, you set that budget for that person for a reason, remember.
Having said all that, do have a good look around t'Internet and see if you can get your planned purchases cheaper. Just think how smug you'll be in January when your bank account's well into the black because you stuck to your budget, and got everything you wanted cheaper too!
Black Friday or not, this is pay day weekend for many of us, so the ideal time to check your budget and buy as many of your gifts as you can. If things look tighter than you expected, downsize your and everyone else's expectations. Just think of all the fun outings and activities you have planned instead, that's where the magic is, not in yet another present. See our Christmas on a Budget guide for more tips.
Yes, the jury's still out on this one, and I've seen some heated debates on social media about when exactly is the right time to put up your tree. But surely 1st December is a good time to light some Christmassy candles and start adding some festive touches to your home? (P.S. If you're all out already, great stuff!)
If you are still seeking inspiration for your decs this year, have a look at our Christmas Decorating guides. Next time you're shopping, stock up on these fab damage-free hooks and fixings from 3M Command, just what you need to keep all your decorations in place.
There's still time to get your children's letters to father Christmas in time for a reply. Just send them to this address by 6th December, and they should get an answer back. The NSPCC also offers a guaranteed reply service for a small charge.
If you send a Round Robin out, get it written now. I love to receive them, but many people don't, so would a shorter handwritten message in their card be better received?
Menus and Shopping
Check over your menus and food shopping lists, checking off anything you've already bought, and amending anything you need to. Place your special food orders for collection at the supermarket, and keep an eye on the supermarket delivery slots before they're snapped up.
On your next shopping trip, stock up on batteries, stamps, matches, Blu-tak, drawing pins and any other necessary bits and bobs.
Other tasks for this week are to finish up your cleaning schedule and to give your home the once over through someone else's eyes. Are there tables to place drinks on, are the pillows on the spare bed comfortable, do the windows need doing again (psstt, vinegar and newspaper for no streaks), is there anything you've missed?
Start the festive fun by organising some Christmas crafts sessions with the kids, getting the Christmas books and DVDs out and having a mammoth reading/viewing session, and start listening to Christmas music. If your local town or village are having their lights switch on event today or tomorrow, go along. Are there any local school or church fairs on this weekend? Find out what your church is doing to celebrate Advent Sunday too, it's time to start Christmas! (Shouted in the style of Noddy Holder.)
Oh, and finally, take some time out! Go for a walk, attend church, meet a friend for coffee. You're doing great and have nothing to worry about, so relax!
See you next week, Lx