Christmas 2020 might not have been the Christmas most of us were hoping for. Many people found themselves unable to be with their loved ones and many of our festive traditions were put on ice for a year. If you are feeling a little anxious about your Christmas preparations this year, then worry no more. You are in the right place. You have just found the So Just Be December Christmas Checklist!
Stop worrying right now. If your tinsel is in a tangle and you are full of festive fear rather than cheer, let us help you get organised and begin your countdown to Christmas.
Stop filling your December calendar right now! Nothing is more overwhelming than trying to please everyone and be everywhere. You can’t do it! So start saying no to people and events that really will not bring you any joy. At the same time, pencil in time for you, your family and your friends. Prioritise the things and people that are most important to you.
If you haven’t already, start your present shopping now. With many online stores offering Black Friday deals, there will be plenty of bargains to be had. But stick to a shopping list, make notes of what you have bought and who they are for – this way you won’t overspend or forget who the gifts were for. Set some time aside each week to write out Christmas cards, too, then you can post these in December and that’s one job out of the way.
If you order festive treats from your local butcher, their diary will be open now, so get your order in for all the goodies you enjoy. You know what you need for main meals, and can plan the rest of your festive food and drink in a couple of week’s time.
Now is the time to look at your decorations at the very least, but we say start putting them up. Get up into the loft and dust off those baubles, untangle those fairy lights, get the whole family involved (if you dare – we know some of you are very particular about decoration placement) and release the Michael Bublé Christmas tunes. It’s tricky to clean your home once all the decorations are up, so we also have a hoover and cleaning cloths to hand, giving areas we know we won’t able to reach a good clean as we decorate, too.
If you have friends and family overseas, now is the time to post their cards and gifts. Final posting dates can catch you out and be much earlier than expected, so be sure to check your postal service. For Royal Mail last posting dates for home and abroad, click here.
And speaking of post, it’s important to get letters into Father Christmas as soon as possible. His address is: Father Christmas, Santa’s Grotto, Reindeerland, XM4 5HQ. He very kindly pays the postage for you so there is no need for a stamp, and if you write your letter properly, including your name and address, he promises to write back, too.
Get wrapping. Don’t leave it all until Christmas Eve – you do it every year, cussing as you tear sticky tape with your teeth, tearing paper with blunt scissors and getting upset because you know that smug sister-in-law of yours will be smugly handing out beautifully wrapped, co-ordinated gifts with hand-made present toppers, while yours resemble a battered pass-the-parcel gift from a 1970s children’s birthday party.
Get some simple paper, plenty of sticky tape (the pros will go for double-sided tape) and some pretty string or ribbon. Lock yourself away in a room with a big table or plenty of space. Put on a Christmas movie and plough on through. There are plenty of YouTube videos to help you if you struggle – here’s just one that shows how we all wrap, then how we should wrap.
You might have already ordered your turkey and other treats, but now is the time to plan the food you will need over the festive period. Hopefully you have sorted the majority of your social plans, so your diary is up to date and you know where you will be and what you need. Make lists. Lots of lists. There will be things you can order now, there will be things you can start to buy and squirrel away, and there will be things that you will not buy until closer to the main event. Go through meal plans, listing the ingredients you need and then add them to the appropriate shopping lists.
The week before Christmas
Stress levels are starting to rise now, so sit back and take a breather. Grab a Chocolate Orange, a large glass of red wine and a note pad and pen. Every year you get to this stage and think it’s all in hand, then find yourself on your hands and knees on Christmas Eve crying as you scrub the oven door because you know that smug Sister-in-Law with the perfectly wrapped presents will judge you.
Stop right now! There are jobs that still need to be done so do write them down now then get cracking over the next few days. Put some Christmas music on if you can still stand listening to it, then blitz the house. Clean it all and prevent the annual festive meltdown that you always have. We know you don’t want to do it, but we don’t want you scrubbing the oven at 10pm on Christmas Eve in tears either.
Other things to add to the list are things you will need such as batteries for the present someone gave the kids, or an extra gift or two already wrapped that you can give an unexpected generous visitor, lemons and limes for drinks, icecubes and cream for those mince pies in the freezer. You’ll also forget about the mince pies in the freezer and find them in February, so buy a box or two of ready-made ones … we won’t judge.
Plan in those food shops that you organised recently, knowing that you only have to go out for bits rather than trying to push two trolleys around Sainsburys as you watch adults fight over the best dates on the Warburtons sliced white loaf.
And that’s it! OK, so we could have gone all smug and suggested you prepare the veg and set the table on Christmas Eve. But fuck it … if you are normally crying with a can of Mr Muscle oven cleaner in your hand at that point, who wants to add to the pain by peeling sprouts and setting the sodding table. Even if you are a grown up, the kid in you (or your weak bladder) will have you up early on Christmas Day, so the veg and the table can wait until then.
Pour yourself a large Baileys and congratulate yourself on making it through … just don’t forget about those bloody mince pies in the freezer!