Who here has started shopping for Christmas? I have. In fact, I already ordered gifts for my daughter’s classmates and currently looking for gifts for my son’s friends. While we are still over three months away from the night Jesus was born and we gather around the tree to open gifts, it is never too early to think about the festive season. You might be hankering after a quiet Christmas, a large family get together or even spending the winter holidays somewhere more exotic. However you choose to spend your festive season, there’s nothing wrong with planning your days wisely.
Christmas should be a time of goodwill and giving, but can often descend into the most stressful and demanding time of the year. The kids may spend the holidays running riot, the bakeshop might run out of cakes, you might suddenly realize that you don’t have enough chairs for everyone to sit around the table and that all important toy that your little darling craves might have sold out of all the shops because you’ve left it too late to buy it. Stress-laden, busy and hectic festive days should be banished to the past by thinking about your Christmas season a little earlier than most. Take a look at these ways you can make your winter holidays more peaceful and enjoyable.
The holidays are all about spending time with your nearest and dearest and going that extra mile to see friends and family that you might not have been in contact with recently. If it’s your turn to host Christmas this year, start planning early and make a list. Christmas is the perfect time to make a list and check it twice, just like how the song goes! Work out how many guests you will be having around to your humble abode and decide how much food you need. The festive season is about excess, so don’t scrimp on food and drink.
What many people forget in the festive madness is checking on dietary requirements. Just because everyone was a bona fide omnivore last year doesn’t mean those adolescent nieces of yours haven’t become vegan in the past year. In our case, I also think about adding food that is safe for diabetics since we have diabetics in my and my husband’s family. Check with your guest list to ensure that everyone has a sumptuous gastronomic experience for their meal.
You might go down the traditional route and cook Christmas Ham. For those who don’t eat meat, you might opt for a nut roast or vegetable Wellington. Or you might forego the traditions and opt for something a little more creative. Salmon en croute, four ribs of beef or brussel sprout gratin could be gracing your dining table this year. Whatever you do, don’t leave the food shopping until Christmas Eve as you will be asking for trouble and stress. Order your food locally and get it delivered to your home or your local supermarket where you can collect it a couple of days in advance. That way, the ingredients you purchase will be of the highest quality yet you won’t have to spend your hours queuing up at the checkout.
Even if you aren’t hosting Christmas this year, and you are venturing out to your parents, sibling’s or best friend’s home for your festive meal, don’t forget to be the perfect guest. Take a bottle, offer to bring dessert and always offer to help in the kitchen. The chances are that they will say no, but it’s always polite to ask.
While the thought of traveling to spend your Christmas day in a far-flung exotic location complete with sun, sea and a beach might be a little too surreal, a Christmas spent in a snow-laden paradise can be the stuff of dreams. A Christmas Day barbecue on the beach might be too odd for you to consider. Instead, why not think about taking your little cherubs on a trip of a lifetime to see Santa in Lapland, meet Rudolf and the gang and spend some time wandering through a fairytale-like winter wonderland landscape.
For kids of a certain age, they still relish the make-believe, awe, and wonder of Father Christmas. Spending part of the festive season in the company of the red-suited fellow could lead to a lifetime of memories for your kids. After all, isn’t Christmas all about treating your offspring and giving them wonderful memories to treasure. You could spend your days out dog sledding, snowshoeing across a glacier and feeding the reindeer before retiring to your log cabin deep in the snow and enjoying hearty meals and a good old sing-song around the Christmas tree.
The art of gift giving can be a tricky beast to master. Our kids nowadays seemingly have it all with all the latest gadgets and gizmos at their fingertips. There’s nothing wrong with trying to gauge what they might be yearning for a couple of months in advance. For those past the age of innocence, money always goes a long way but can lack a little surprise or wonderment.
Instead, why not consider gifts that the entire family can enjoy. Booking experiences such as a trip to an ocean park, ATV riding along a Volcanic trail, or pony trekking in Baguio can be wonderful gifts to enjoy. If something more materialistic is the order of the day, don’t forget the joy of a stocking. Hanging up by the window, these shouldn’t just be for show but should be filled with lots of little goodies. The best gifts are not always the most expensive ones or the ones with the largest bow on top. Consider the satsuma, the sweets and the novelty socks that raise a smile every single year.
The festive season, while seemingly far away, will soon be upon us. The seasonal rows of decorations, toys, and crackers will soon be appearing in every high street store, and you will soon have to think about gifts, food and the tree. Panic might set in which can see you reaching for a paper bag and suffering palpitations. To ease the stress of perfecting Christmas, start your planning and preparation early to allow you to enjoy the festive season with your family.
Are you getting ready for Christmas already?
How do you prepare?