How do you do it – planning for birthdays, Christmas and other occasions?

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We’re just approaching the final bank holiday before the end of the year, and even though there’s still back to school and Halloween to come, some people are already well underway with their Christmas planning.

In our family we have the majority of birthdays between October and January, so I always like to get at least the initial ones out of the way before concentrating on anything Christmas oriented.  I would plan earlier, but no mention of Christmas is allowed before brother-in-law’s birthday at the start of November.  It does mean everything ends up really rushed, especially when you have lots of nephews and nieces to buy presents for, and you’re waiting on a list so you don’t buy the same as someone else…that happens way too much with the OH’s family.

I know lots of people hate talking about Christmas, but if you want to make it as pain free as possible (apart from opting out or going on holiday to somewhere hot), then planning has got to be essential.

Here’re my tips for Christmas (although easily applicable to any occasion, depending on how big you want to make it):

  • Start at Christmas for the next Christmas.  Sounds mad, but if you record names, what they bought you, what you bought them at the time, you can keep hold of this for next year to avoid buying the same presents
  • Use your list and divide into people you can buy for now (usually adults) and later (usually children as their tastes are more likely to change during the year).  Then you can spread the cost throughout the year and make use of sales.  If you check out specialist Christmas shops or websites, they often have sales or discounts outside peak season.  I’ve bought traditional advent calendars and Christmas countdown decorations outside the season during sales
  • Look for decoration ideas on websites (I love Pinterest) and in magazines.  You could get really over the top on organisation and have a folder of all your ideas and recipes
  • Practice your Christmas meals beforehand.  We have a big family meal at Easter and turkey is usually on the menu (although not with all the usual Christmas trimmings).   Why should you only have turkey at Christmas?
  • If you prefer technology to paper lists, create wish lists online.  They can be private or for public, so you can use for buying as well as receiving requirements.  There are also phone apps for buying gifts so you can keep track of ideas and whether you’ve bought and sent the gifts
  • Get the children involved.  Last year N and I made salt dough type decorations, and this year I’m planning to do more with him in the run up given he’ll be even more excited than he was last year.  I shall be getting lots of ideas from various online sources.  I do prefer to use two colours only, so he might have to have a little display in his own room.
  • Embrace the Christmas spirit.  Ok, so maybe getting excited now is a bit over the top, but if you’re usually a ‘bah humbug’ type (like my OH), then I think getting involved nearer the event has got to be more interesting than not at all.

I like to try and find a new decoration for our tree every year, so will definitely be looking out for our 2013 bauble.  After a nightmare search last year, I did find a nativity scene, but I’ve spotted some great ones on UK Christmas World that would have fitted the bill perfectly.

nativity set

What’s your tip for planning for an occasion, and when do you start planning for Christmas?

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by UK Christmas World.

4 Comments

4 Comments on How do you do it – planning for birthdays, Christmas and other occasions?

  1. Kate Davis
    August 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm (11 months ago)

    In the past we haven’t been very good at getting into the Christmas spirit because we haven’t planned and it got to the point where we said there is no point getting a tree because we’re going away in a few days.

    Last year my early planning was making some DVDs with the Christmas episodes of our favourite shows, buying some Christmas music and making mulled wine.

    I’ll have to start thinking about how we’ll decorate our new house, our existing decorations are not going to go far.

    Reply
    • Emma Tustian
      August 21, 2013 at 5:41 pm (11 months ago)

      I wouldn’t dream of not having a tree. But the OH refuses to get it out of the roof early, so it’s always last minute. But last time it didn’t go back in the loft…so I’ll be able to put it up when I want.

      It’s great having children to be able to start proper traditions. The dvds are a good idea.

      Reply
      • Kate Davis
        August 24, 2013 at 1:58 pm (11 months ago)

        I think I obsess about creating traditions for the children, because I feel we didn’t have many. Probably a good thing my husband holds me back a bit. His thing is, if we’re going to have a try it must be real.

        Reply
        • Emma Tustian
          August 24, 2013 at 8:06 pm (11 months ago)

          Fair point really. I love Christmas, but OH hates it (plus he works anyway over Christmas being on a farm), so it’s hard doing nice decorations etc when he doesn’t want the place looking messy with them. Hopefully he’ll agree a bit more this year.

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