Christmas Countdown – Planning for Christmas

planning for christmas
I’m not actually going to apologise for posting about Christmas in August, mainly because I’ve been planning for it all year and posted about making gift hampers way back in April. So nur.

I like Christmas (I actually used to hate it but I don’t anymore) and like to make sure it is well organised and easy when the season eventually rolls round. My birthday happens to be just a few days before Christmas so I always strive to have everything done by mid-December in order to enjoy and celebrate both without worrying I’ve fogotten about something.

As with every year I’m going to post regular Christmas planning updates in the run up to the big JC’s birthday, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re a lover of the season. You can also check out my previous Christmas posts here.

If you want to start planning for an organised Christmas you still obviously have loads of time. Here are a few things to note down and work out before you can get started.

Where will you be celebrating Christmas?
Do you go away? Will you be travelling to stay with family? (If you are travelling how much will it cost and how far in advance can you book it?) Will they be coming to you? I know it might be early but if you’re going to be lugging gifts across the country you may want to consider what you’re buying and how much it weighs. Also, I just plain like to know where I’m going to be on Christmas day, I usually decide by about January 5th, but then again I’m annoying.

Time off
Are you going away, even just to stay with family? Will travelling further afield mean you need to book time off work? If you’re able to (and I know some professions don’t) try and book your time off now or at least bring the topic up with your manager so the discussion can take place with your work mates.

Who will you be buying gifts for?
Some families like to decide to only buy for children or to do secret Santa, so that needs to be decided on soon. If you don’t participate in those kinds of schemes, now is a good time to write down the names of everyone you will be buying for and work out a rough budget of how much you’d like to spend both in total and individually.

Crafting gifts
If you’re the crafty type now is the time to dedicate yourself to that knitting basket or what have you. No one wants to spend the 23rd of December crying into mulled wine because you still have 2 scarves and a jumper to knit. Mainly because you’ll get all drunk and rowdy and miss a stitch then find yourself down The Trafford Centre pushing through the crowds of shoppers to find at gift at 9pm. This has never happened to me. Never.

Buying gifts early
Guess what? You can buy gifts more than 3 days before an event. Who knew? Get out there and start shopping now. Buying a gift or two per month spreads the cost across various wages packets rather than just blowing into oblivion putting a dent in your shiny November wage.

Do you already have decorations? Are the fairy lights working? Do check those now because the price of fairy lights is about to take a sharp leap upward as we head into the colder months.
Can you use the decorations you already have? If you’re sick of the same baubles why not trawl Pinterest for some crafting ideas and get to work on those now.

Food and drink
Okay, sure you’re probably not going to buy the turkey today but if you see a really good deal on tins of chocolate, a specific alchoolic drink you know your brother in law loves then why not stock up a little if you have the room? Make sure it is well within the expiration date. Also do only stock up if you know the items will be used, it is incredibly wasteful otherwise.

If you plan to give edible treats then get started now. Our blackberry vodka is already on the go and we’re just about ready to make apple sauces and gearing ourself up for chili chuntney made with our home grown grub.

By the way I have a Christmas Pinterest board which you may find helpful and inspiring.


P.S. Don’t even dare raise your eyebrows and say ‘Christmas? IN AUGUST?!’

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  1. I’ve already started buying and wrapping my Christmas gifts for everyone – I always end up messed up and disorganized spending loads of money I don’t necessarily have otherwise! I also dug out the decorations the other week to see if there were any that needed replacing. Most people I have told think I’m absolutely nuts but seeing this post just makes me feel so much better :) Thank you :)

    Helen xxx

  2. I think you are ace posting about Christmas now and think you should do one every month :-) most people act like Christmas is this big suprise every year and I am never sure why! One of the things I do from January 2nd is stock pile my Boots points all year round. I usually have about £20 worth by the time their 3 for 2s hit the shops. Boots usually have loads of gifts at the £5 mark so I essentially get 6 gifts for “free”. These go to friends/secret Santa at work/stocking fillers. I just love all your Christmas tips Mrs T. Keep em coming x

  3. I always start around September, so it’s good you remind me (: I love being ready around mid-November … then I can start baking and decorating the house while everyone else is still in present-stress! I love christmas – as far as I’m concerned, I could start preparing in January!

  4. Squee!!!!!!! I am already very excited about Christmas prep. We sort all our cards and gift wrap in the January sale, and then I spend all year picking up perfect gifts as and when I see them. Around now, I have to start thinking about my hubbie (I can’t start earlier or he buys the stuff for himself (or i get so excited about my plans for him that I give them to him early!!)) Last night I started making our Christmas Cake – I’m having a new kitchen before Christmas so I thought I’d get it done now incase I don’t have an oven by then. We’ve also started on the home brew wine for next year (blackberry and elderberry) and you can see what we did on my blog and follow the progress. I’m so paranoid it’ll get infected, but I want to give it AGGGGES to mature too.

    Penny xx

  5. We do the £5 christmas in our family and have done for the past 4 yrs. We all spend up to a fiver on each other and the only rules are no combined pressies. Everyone buys 11 pressies (max spend £55) and receives 11. We like fun and tacky so we all decided who gave us each the best pressie and then the person with the most votes wins the trophy (yes we really have a trophy!). It makes the whole present thing more fun plus it’s amazing what you can get for £5 if you look. I normally start my buying as in the new year and am already 75% through my list only 3 to go then I’m done yay!!

  6. I shocked myself yesterday as I made an appointment to see someone in 4 months time- the week before Christmas. I was so suprised I asked my family if they knew how many weeks it is until then and they hadn’t a clue. Must get started on the gift making. I say it every year and I’m always late. Hence looking at your blog.
    Brenda in the Boro

  7. I shocked myself yesterday when I made an appointment to see someone in 4 months time- the week before Christmas. So that means its 17 weeks to go. Got to get busy making.
    Brenda in the Boro

  8. I’m glad someone else is super organised too! Granted, I’ve not actually done anything yet, but I’m certainly making a mental list of presents etc (and your voddy looks like a great addition!)

  9. I love getting ready for christmas but since having the kids I feel have been so disorganised. Not this year! Getting a list together this month. I also put up 2 trees last year. One for the kids in the living room and one in the dining room with all my nice glass baubles I had gathered before having kids. Last year I made some white pompoms and paper snowflakes as I felt the kids tree looked a bit bare and money was so tight so I couldn’t buy any. I loved it so much I am only doing the kids tree this year! My four year old has already glittered some pine cones we had collected. Present wise, I have breen teaching myself to crochet, I am hoping to make a few crochet items and maybe some jewellery. Once I finish crocheting this baby blanket……

  10. I love this post. We’re thinking of having both families to ours for Christmas for the first time this year. And I really want to be organised so I can enjoy it with everyone else. I appreciate posts like this :)

  11. Thanks for this! I always plan early too and have started buying some gifts recently. You’ve inspired me to make some more plans <3

  12. I collect gifts all year and have a mad wrapping session during October half term.
    There’s a box in the garage labelled ‘Xmas food’ and tins etc on offer go in there NOT to be touched before Advent
    And I made my cards back in January, using the once I received the previous year.

    You are not alone!!

    festive blessings xx

  13. I love making crafty gifts! This year I’m going to make a load of christmassy ‘sharpie mugs’ and give them to my friends and family :) My grandparents LOVE a good hamper too, and its always so much cheaper (and nicer) to make one rather than buy one, you can put all their favourites in it and make it really personal!

  14. I have planned most of my christmas presents, budgeted the rest and started making some of them already. I love to be organised and I love christmas too. I like to be ready with all my presents and cards by end of october because it makes financial sense, I can start giving them to visitors instead of posting and as a primary school teacher things get a little hectic, gittery and exhausting in December!
    Keep up the good work Thrifty!
    Zoe x

  15. OH THANK GOD I thought I was the only one thinking about Christmas already!!!

  16. I buy saving stamps with my supermarket over the year. £5 a week every week so I have £350 to spend on food, drink and small gifts that can be purchased there. If at all possible I try and get a few extra stamps here and there and that makes a difference. My husband and I also set a limit on how much we are going to spend on each other so we know how much we need to save. We also have wish lists set up with a few places so we know what to get each other. This year I want a sewing machine, a pressure cooker and a Kindle. 2 practical gifts and something to help declutter the house!! As for the rest of the family, I always take advantage of 3 for 2’s and also complete surveys on to get vouchers for HMV and Amazon.

  17. My fiancé and I are moving into our first flat very soon (as soon as we get given the keys!) and I’ve already made arrangements with my mum to take a big box of decorations she doesn’t use anymore. Now I just have to get started on food and presents in the next couple of weeks so I can have it all done by the start of December then we can do Christmassy things like ice skating and having a wander around the Christmas markets in Manchester. SO EXCITED!!

  18. Omg I am so excited this year. Last year was an exhausted blur with a 3 month old!
    I have a present cupboard that I started at beginning of the year so I don’t buy twice due to the black hole of the ‘safe place’. Have a few more to buy and just starting my crafty gifts.
    Would love to get some chutney ideas though if you would be kind enough to share…..?
    Thank you for the post, nice to know Im not alone.

  19. you’re a Christmas life saver! thank you for making is perfectly acceptable to start the Christmas nonsense in August. I’m usually irritatingly full of festive cheer by the end of October so making hampers might allow me to work some of it off in private. xx

  20. I told my fiance just yesterday how I was feeling ‘christmasy’ – it caused some debate, so I’m glad I’m not alone :) I always try and start planning early-ish, I get into full swing around October (as soon as my birthday is out of the way at the end of September). So far, we know what we are getting for my future father-in-law, and we always save out nectar points throughout the year, so by the time we do our christmas shop, it isn’t much above normal in cost :)

  21. Ooh I feel inspired! I love christmas but always hold out to start doing preparations until what is deemed an appropriate Christmas time….and then….run out of time, feel stressed, and enjoy it a whole lot less! Definitely going to start early this year and let myself enjoy it!xx.

  22. I love December! My birthday too and Christmas :)
    I’m going to plan it all out early to avoid rushing about a few days before…although I always say I’ll be organised…but I do love the rush to get presents before Christmas 😉

    I keep hearing people mention Christmas though! I think it’s because we didn’t get a good Summer so people skip to the next big holiday. I love buying presents for people, honestly I think it’s better than receiving! Anyway, great post, thanks for reminding me! :)

  23. “Guess what? You can buy gifts more than 3 days before an event. Who knew?” – ha ha ha! I love you. This, my dearest, is a true life FACT. I love being organised. It gives me a sense of being smug. Which I enjoy immensely.

  24. I’m starting to think of the gifts I’ll be making for Christmas. I’m also saving up Nectar points to spend on kidlets prezzies… my budget isn’t huge this year since I’m just starting up a freelance career!

  25. My christmas crafting always starts about now. my old housemate thought i was completely nuts when i started making stuff in July last year.

    I am so glad that you wrote this post – it makes me feel less odd about the fact i’ve started planning gifts and what i am making.

  26. Bwah ha ha, I’ve already got my sister’s Christmas present. People at work thought I was crazy when I was bragging (I mean, casually mentioning) it. I was going to post about Christmas but I thought people might kill me.

  27. Handy post! My mum always starts christmas shopping for our family about now, abusing those summer sales! ahah

    Sophierosehearts, currently having an 100 follower giveaway :) x

  28. I’m glad someone else is excited for Christmas!I’m most excited for Halloween at the moment (autumn vibes and such-also my birthday is on Halloween!),but once November starts,I’ll be getting right into the Christmas spirit.Anyway,in my house we start watching Christmas films at the start of September :’-)

  29. Nope, I’m with you on this one! I’ve actually got a selection of Christmas blog posts that I’m itching to hit ‘publish’ on but thought I might be hated by all. I planned to start posting them after my birthday (mid September) and even that makes me a bit nervous. Hurrah for Christmas lovers! I’m doing entirely handmade Christmas gifts this year so looking forward to having plenty to blog about and am drooling over your Christmas pinterest board!

  30. I already have my Christmas File out and working ready for Christmas. It holds the list of who, what and when bought, and a running total of expenses. Can anyone say CRAZY?

  31. EEEEHE thank you for doing this! I have not been seeing enough christmas posts so it has made me hold back on bringing it up (even though I have a spreadsheet/craft on the go/two presents bought). xxx

  32. Your christmas pintrest board has made me soooooo excited! NEVER TOO EARLY!! It’s the most wonderful time of the yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar, belting out some christmas tunes tidying the kitchen now! What have you started?! Hahaha xxxxx

  33. I never really get christmas organised until early december but i’m thinking i should probably get sorted already! x

  34. Because I have three small children and live on a very tight budget I think of Christmas all year around so no worries on my end-I think its super fab that you do too! Gotta save the $$ and plus its also fun hehe xox

  35. Please please please do not buy the tins of sweets like Quality Street, Roses etc. Weight is down 450g and suprise suprise the price is still £5 :( :( makes me really cross with such blatant profiteering. Again.
    Other than that rant aside…..bring on Chrimbo :)

  36. And here I was feeling guilty blogging about Christmas! I’ve been organising since June and now I feel a lot better – If I’m weird, you lot are weird too. Yay!

    Got a big box of about half of my gifts already wrapped, I’ll be using my October holiday to do the rest of my crafting (tree decorations/stockings etc) and I’m pretty sure I’ve already decided what I’m making for Christmas dinner.

  37. haha “the big JC”, love it!

  38. I foolishly didn’t pre-buy my advocaat stash last year and went to every shop looking for it on Christmas eve (think I found some of the expensive stuff eventually). Come Christmas day due to gifts etc I somehow ended up with 4 bottles so I drank 2 and the others are waiting until December!

  39. I love people starting to prepare for Christmas in a ‘make it yourself’ or ‘buy early in the sales’ type way but I hate all the commercial Christmas profiteering that starts late August/early September. Your Christmas Pinterest board is fabulous MrsT. I made chocolate vodka last week and it is yummy so that will be something I will be making nearer the time but I can look out for cheap vodka in the meantime.

    I have a apreadsheet of who I need to get gifts for as I also hate the phrase I hear nearer Christmas ‘this will do for xxxx’ That’s not ‘will be perfect for’ that’s just ‘get it out of the way and off my list’

    I also have a spreadsheet list of things I would like so if I (or one of the family) am asked for ideas there is a reminder there. I amend it as necessary.

    So bring on the ideas.

  40. I love Christmas! I really wish it was christmas everyday!

    Can’t wait to read about your crafty gifts :-)


  41. I am putting together ideas for a DIY/thrifty xmas this year due to budget limits. Any ideas for dads? My dad HAS to be the most awkward on EARTH to buy for. He doesnt: cook, do gardening, play golf, wear ties, work at a desk, drink any booze except lager, wear glasses, read fiction, use man-prodcuts, have an ipod/laptop etc, like cars or motorbikes or any vehicles except his work van. He is also colourblind, VERY picky about his socks due to leg circulation probs and the only things he likes to do are go to the pub, watch football, go fishing and go on holiday to Tenerife. He does like rocking out in his van whilst working, so I have previously and just recently made him some mix cd’s with fancy covers etc for birthdays and christmas. But that idea is getting a bit old! :S Literally have NO idea!!

  42. thanks for posting.

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