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Next Christmas is going to be a bit different, we're going away for a week until the 23rd and Christmas Lunch will be in a restaurant.
So it'll all be about pre planning, and getting everything sorted before we go away.
* Start buying family cards as soon they come into the shops, don't put it off until the last minute.
* Don't buy or make a christmas cake, unless it's a really really small one.
* Remember that you can't re-freeze frozen pastry, buy fresh pastry or make my own so I can freeze mince pies in advance, this years home made mincemeat will be fine next year, as long as I heat it back up.
* Don't leave it until December to start getting the house in shape.
* Buy more nuts.
* Make FILs Birthday cake at the beginning of December and Freeze it.
We went to Lapland from 20-23rd and it really encouraged me to do everything early, which left us all a lot more relaxed. Also, neither of my DSs asked for much this Christmas and instead of panic buying extra things I pretty much stuck to their lists and they were not disappointed.
Buy fresh made mince pies and freeze them, they keep beautifully.
Do NOT allow DS to wait till the weekend before guests arrive (& the bin men have paid their final visit till after Xmas), before clearing out his room which doubles as the guest room.
Decide on a max number of items to serve for Xmas day lunch. Nobody needs roast potatoes, sweet roast potatoes, roast parsnips, turkey, stuffing, pigs in blankets, cauliflower cheese, carrots, sprouts and red cabbage, plus bread sauce, cranberry sauce, gravy and home made Yorkshire pudding all on the same plate!
I started very early but decided to leave some things to closer to christmas - so I ended up with a mad panic once again .
So for me I shall make sure that an early start means an early finish so I can enjoy christmas. Rather than just spreading the work over 2/3 months and still not being ready!
I second the remembering to start sorting out the house/DD's room/toys before december.
Remember I do not need to buy stuff for meals for 26th-30th. There is always more than enough meat left from christmas and boxing day, and all we end up eating is that, with fresh food and meat sitting in the fridge going out of date. So I must remember not to bother.
More wine/fizz for gifts. I stopped buying so much as we don't really end up with surprise guests/invitations - apart from this year - when I had to make a quick dash to asda for last minute wine for the hostess!
Plan meals in advance, so only need to buy what we need. Make food in advance and freeze, so that some items are ready for the oven once thawed, and there are some casseroles for days when we can't be bothered to cook.
Buy M&S 'The Big One' chocolate and toffee assortment, far and away better than Quality Street. DH admitted that he didn't enjoy the QS Christmas before last, and he really liked the M&S ones.
Decorate more minimally, I will stick to a few focal items and it looks just as nice, also the rooms don't look so bare when they are taken down.
I bought my DC a large Kilner jar each and filled with sweets (I know they do filled jars in sweetshops but they really like certain ones). They were scoffed (in the Christmas Eve Hampers) over a period of time, whereas the Galaxy bars are still unopened.