Mid winter – the kick off to Christmas Planning.

Many years ago when I was back in the family home for Christmas, my little brother, who had obviously grown out of the “up before dawn” Christmas morning behaviour that little kids tend to do, was still soundly sleeping.  The rest of us were peering longingly through the lounge curtain in anticipation of all the gifts piled up ready to be unwrapped. As the fun could not begin until everyone was there, Grandma was sent as the messenger to get him up and out of bed.   “Wake up!” she said – “Santa has been!”  The response has gone down in family history now. “Has She?” my little brother said.  

Just as he had figured out that mum was the force behind all the abundance piled around the tree for us and Santa had had little to do with it (except maybe set high expectations) it is highly likely that you also are the CEO behind Christmas in your house-hold.  Which brings me to why I have mentioned the “C” word so early in the year.  Apologies for frightening you like that, but I am always interested in how we can reduce stress in our busy lives and this is one way that we can start pre planning for one of the biggest family events of the year, thereby reducing the pressure further down the track.

Here in our southern hemisphere winter a lot of people and even organisations brighten up the long cold months by putting on a mid-winter Christmas  dinner. For me, this kicks off my Christmas planning – even if it is just thinking about budget and who I am going to buy for this year.  Of course, it depends on what stage you are in life who you buy for and your family may have reduced your gift giving considerably.  Even though my children are all young adults now, they are still the main focus of my gift giving and now we have a grandchildren coming they will be added to that list along with partners, parents and in-laws. 

I use my journal to note down each name and some ideas about what they may like.  Then when I am out and about and see something that I think they would like, I can buy it and stash it away until Christmas.  You can even wrap them if you are really efficient but make sure you put a note to self on the gift to remind you what it is and who it’s for.  I have been caught out scratching my head wondering who this beautifully wrapped gift is for and sometimes have to supervise a bit of gift swapping on the day if I haven’t labelled carefully.

I always buy good linen for the kids every year so pick up some good bargains at sales.  You never know what you see out there that you know someone on your list will love and you are giving yourself enough time to think about that.  If you are a handcrafter then get started on your projects now or you may end up with a whole lot of half completed projects when December comes.

Start thinking about a budget and begin saving now. Overspending and debt is the dark side of the season so make sure you have a budget in mind and put money aside now.  One tip I have heard of is to get an envelope for each person and put some cash into it every week or fortnight.  The more modern version of that is to add a sub account to your bank account, give it a name and start automatically transferring funds on pay day.

Have a special hiding place for your gift stash and included paper, ribbons, Stickytape and scissors.   I usually keep a supply of gift items ready for birthdays or unexpected celebrations in a secret location.  An old leather suitcase, vintage boxes or baskets all make beautiful and useful places to stow your treasures.   

Sorry again for bringing this up now but I hope this will save you a bit of pain 6 months down the line when we end up getting over busy and stressed out trying to be Santa for everyone.

And if you are putting on a mid-winter feast then I hope you have a great time.

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