It sounds mad to talk about Christmas already with the summer holidays only just finished and Halloween and Bonfire night still to come but starting to plan in September can save you an awful lot of stress in December.
Put your hands up, how many of you feel totally overwhelmed by the time Christmas rolls round?
There is a better way - start early and set deadlines. Here are some timetabled suggestions for getting ahead of the festive fiasco...
September is for planning and list making
The kids are back at school, you can breathe and start to think ahead. Start making lists. Writing things down helps you mentally prepare for what's ahead and lessens the chance of that last minute panic.
Gift Lists - Who do you need to buy for? What will you buy for them or consider handmade gifts save money and mean more to the recipient
Christmas Cards - If you still send them, who to? Look around for cards or better still make your own
Entertaining - Plan ahead who you want to spend time with and invite them now and if you plan to go out for Christmas meals book ahead.
Conduct an audit of Christmas supplies so you know what you already have, like wrapping paper, sticky tape, ribbon, left over cards, gift tags and presents already bought. Start to look for what you need now whilst there is more choice and bargains can be grabbed from late summer sales.
October and November are for doing - book, shop, buy, order, make, schedule and declutter.
As we know Santa is very energetic and can be found in lots of different places in December, but even he gets booked up, so it pays to buy your tickets early. Likewise it pays to book your panto as soon as possible, so you get the session and seats you want and sometimes an early bird discount.
Declutter toys to make space for the new ones that Santa brings. If you need smart clothes for the big day, check that everyone has an outfit. Write your cards towards the end of November, so they are ready to send out December 1st. Wrap the gifts as you go to save the nightmare that is Christmas Eve otherwise but remember to keep a list of what you have got for everyone!
Christmas Fairs and markets are ideal for that unique, handmade gift. Keep an eye on the Raring2go website, as we will be listing them in the What's On section as soon as we hear about them.
And relax, December is for enjoying.
Decorate the tree. Spend time with the kids. Enjoy the school plays, watch movies together and quietly congratulate yourself for a job well done!