Monday, 4 November 2019

How I'm Getting Organised For Christmas!

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Now that Hallowe'en is out of the way and November is here, my mind is firmly focused on one thing and one thing only....CHRISTMAS PREP!!!

With three children and a couple of Christmas parties to host, I like to keep myself as organised as possible in the run up to the festive season to make sure that everything goes smoothly, and that I don't end up running around like a headless chicken turkey on Christmas Eve trying to get everything sorted!

I feel that, over the years, I've almost perfected a stress-free approach to Christmas so today I thought I'd share with you the various ways that I try to minimise the madness.

The first thing I do is prioritise my gift-buying! I have quite a large extended family, and at one time I would haphazardly shop for everybody all at once which ended up being quite overwhelming and I'd often find myself buying double gifts for someone by accident in the chaos of it all. 

So now, I split the people I need to buy for into categories - those who only require a small token gift go into my "non urgent" category, which I tend to leave until last to buy. I like to have a little bit of Christmas shopping to do in December because I enjoy the festive atmosphere in the shops - but I need it to be a tiny amount, enough to get done in one afternoon so it's not too overwhelming. So I leave my extended family gifts for then.

The most important gifts for me to buy are the ones for my own children. Although they don't write their lists to Santa until December, I find it easy enough to get them to tell me what they're planning to ask for beforehand - which enables me to shop way in advance.

My aim is always to be completely finished with shopping for them by the end of November - this means I can avoid the out of stock issues for those "in demand" gifts, it gives me time to shop around for bargains, and - thanks to the extended Christmas returns period most stores offer - it's risk free as if they change their mind on asking for a particular gift, I can take it back for a refund.

So far I'm already 50% done with their gifts, and I've managed to bag some great bargains including a Barbie Dream House at 30% off and the Nerf gun my son is asking Santa for at £10 off too!

I find it really helps to follow bargain finding pages on Facebook, as this is where I've found those discounts advertised - my favourites are Bargain Buys For Busy Mums, Coupon Mama and Play Pennies.

As well as Christmas gifts, the other thing I need to sort out each year is what the kids and I are going to wear over the holiday season.

We like to have a fair few festive days out as a family in December, and the kids always have a couple of Christmas parties to attend too - and so some Christmassy Clothes are always fun.

My personal Must Have is a good Christmas jumper - and this year I really wanted to get some matching ones for us all!

I spotted these Big Sprout/Little Sprout jumpers on I Want One Of Those and just fell in love with them - we're a family of sprout lovers in this house so they're perfect for us, and they're also super snuggly and comfortable too! 

They're available here -  and IWOOT have kindly given me a discount code for my readers too, which will give you a whopping 30% off  any Christmas jumpers you fancy - just enter the code XMASHAYLEY at the checkout.

Another thing I like to sort out way before December rolls around is our Christmas activities.

This includes everything from visiting Santa and festive days out, to Christmas craft activities I want to do with the children - it may sound a bit OTT to plan this all in so far in advance but it really does help when it comes to feeling organised and saving pennies.

Think about it - once December hits, EVERYBODY wants red & green glitter, gold paint, paint your own baubles and all the rest of the Christmas Crafting goodies - and so they become A) difficult to find and B) more expensive than they are for the rest of the year!

Planning in advance and buying early allows you to ensure that you get what you need, and that you don't pay too much for it.  I start pinning Christmas craft ideas around August and putting away whatever bits I need for them then - nobody is buying red & green glitter glue in the Summer so they're usually reduced!

As for days out and Santa visits, you may not be able to get a lower price but you will save yourself a lot of stress by looking at what's on in your area early - deciding what you like the sound of and booking straight away. You'll have more choice of dates and can go at a time that's best for you.

Our favourite Santa's Grotto releases their tickets at the end of September and I always make sure I've put enough money aside to book the day they're released so that we can go at a time that suits us.

And finally, there's Advent and the countdown to Christmas itself.

Every year I do a book advent with my children - we usually reuse about 12 books every year which means we need 12 new ones. I find that The Works and The Book People often do some really good Festive book bundles for about £1 per book - these are ideal for book advents! I've also found some good festive books in charity shops too.

I also spend a little time in November planning out our Elf On The Shelf activities for December and picking up or making any props we might need for it - this saves any last minute hassle when December rolls around and makes everything go much smoother!

So that's how I'll be prepping for Christmas this month - which should leave me free to enjoy a nice calm December knowing that everything is taken care of! Fingers crossed!

What are your top tips for prepping for Christmas? I'd love to hear them!

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