FLY Christmas countdown.

(81 Posts)
Jas Thu 09-Sep-10 13:18:40

Week 1

First Things First - Make a Book!

Get a folder (any sort) as a place to put all your Christmas paperwork
and write Christmas Folder' on it. I use an A4 ring binder and have lots of those clear pocket pages in and some dividers. If you participated last year you just need to find the folder you already made, but put `somewhere safe' after Christmas. I transferred the finalised gift list from 2009 into this year's folder to try and make sure I don't give anyone something too similar to last year's gift!
Write a list of all the people you are going to buy gifts for and make a rough budget for each person (don't fill in the gifts yet). If this year you feel you want to change things, for example you and your sister are just going to buy gifts for the children this year, call her and let her know. Put the list of gifts in your Christmas folder. You can have a divider if you wish labelled 'Gifts'.
Write a list of all the people you want to send a card to. Don't get
addresses just yet. Count the number of cards needed and write it on the bottom of the list. Calculate for an extra 12 cards in case you have forgotten someone (you can always use the extra cards next year!!) Put the list in your Christmas folder (divider - 'Cards'). You can reuse your card list from last year, and just add in any new friends.

Making Bookings

If you are going to be away over Christmas and /or New Year, now is the time to book your travel arrangements and arrange kennels/cattery places for pets.
Hotels and Travel Lodges book up early so reserve for yourself and also those who are coming to visit you. If you plan to eat out on Christmas Day, book now at the Restaurant of your choice if you haven't already. Think about Christmas day and all the other days in the holiday season. Are you staying with family or having 10 for dinner?!! Just because you did it last year (and the 5 years
before that) does not mean you have to do it again this year. Decide what YOU want to do and call the relevant people. If you tell your mother -in -law that you are not going to come for Christmas she can make other plans.
Make your own Christmas traditions and discard any from the past that
you don't want to do anymore. Don't forget to give others the same
opportunity if they don't always want to conform to your usual Christmas rituals.

Get a Savings Card (optional)

If your local supermarket has a Christmas Savings scheme, go and get a
card. Put a small amount onto the card each month, this will make your
Christmas shop so much easier. If you only put £3 onto the card each
week as you pay at the checkout you will save £48 to spend on
Christmas extras.

And most importantly smile when you think of Christmas, don't give a moan!

Thanks Jas, this is handy. I AM groaning already but I'm determined not to have a manic run-up to christmas like every other ruddy year.

Would you mind posting the link for the FLY UK site please? I've googled but can only find the USA one.

Jas Thu 09-Sep-10 13:42:09

Yes it does thank you smile

dylsmum1998 Thu 09-Sep-10 14:48:01

thanks Jas will have a proper read through this evening as I am supposed to be ironing now hmm

tigger32 Thu 09-Sep-10 16:00:11

Ooh thank you for this, is it ok if join in?
I'm just on my way to the Flying page as I need to get fully organised now! (My whole life not just Christmas)

sapphireblue Thu 09-Sep-10 16:50:53

Jas I want to be you.

jas thanks! May get round to it as I need Xmas to be sorted early as my baby is due 25th November!

realitychick Thu 09-Sep-10 23:48:58

All I've done so far is sort out who's coming.

Jas Fri 10-Sep-10 09:16:25

I haven't actually done any of it! I do have a folder from last year I can get out though.

Jas Tue 14-Sep-10 16:15:11

Week 2
Countdown to Christmas Week 2 - 14th to 20th September 2010

Hopefully you will all now have a folder for Christmas and also have
an idea of who you are buying presents for & a budget for them.

This week's tasks are:

Get Wrapping Supplies Together

Designate a place for wrapping supplies - maybe under a bed, in an accessible cupboard, somewhere you don't have to pull everything out to get to them!
Get all the wrapping paper, tags, bags, boxes left from last year,
together with a pair of scissors and a roll (or two) of sticky tape.
These supplies are just for Christmas - sticky tape & scissors are
not to be 'borrowed' for other things :-)
Whenever you buy a present you then have all your supplies in one
area to wrap it straight away, without having to hunt everywhere for
what you need.

Get Christmas Cards Together

Hopefully these will be found in the same place as leftover wrapping
paper!
If there are ones you have been hanging onto because you don't really
like them, now is the time to get rid of them. Charities will take
cards for recycling - some take them all year round. If you know you
will do it, keep them aside for the mass recycling easily found in
supermarkets after Christmas - otherwise get rid of them now.
Count up how many cards you have and compare it to your list. This
will save you then buying more than you need (although it is always
worth having a spare dozen for those people you forget!) And ladies, those christmas cards have already hit the shops!!

Get Your Gifts Together

Designate a place for gifts - if you already have some presents put
them in this place. Also don't choose an area that's too warm - chocolate gifts may melt!! Any gifts can now be wrapped and labelled and put away from prying eyes - and if they are all going in the same place you won't 'lose' any in therun up to Christmas, have to buy
something else and then find the original present in February. There will also be no mad rush on Christams Eve to ensure all presents are wrapped, meaning you staying awake until 3am to finish the task :-( (some ladies have already said this was their problem last year!!)

Check your supplies cupboard for ingredients for Christmas cakes/
puddings. If you need anything, add it to your shopping list.
Checking this early means you can spead the cost over a few weeks if
need be.

Have fun :-)

Jas Wed 22-Sep-10 09:32:10

Christmas Countdown 2010 - Week 3 - 21st to 27th September

Crafty Presents & Cards

For those of us who are making any presents this year, now is the
time to decide what you are making (and what you need in order to
make it), who you are making it for and when you are going to make
it. Ideally get as many crafty presents out of the way between now
and the end of November. Obviously anything like truffles will need
to be made at the last minute - but hopefully this list should ensure
we are not too frazzled by then to actually do that! Purchase any supplies for making the presents this week - at least you will not then start to make it and find you are missing something vital halfway through....
Cards - do not leave cross stitching cards until Christmas Eve :-)
Decide how many cards you need to make between now and the
first week of Dec (for ones which need posting - you have say another
week for family and friends you will see during Christmas week) and
divide these up by the number of weeks available and have this as
your weekly target. Purchase any supplies you need for them this
week - with a view to starting to make them by this weekend.
And if you have a crafty friend, how about arranging a get-together for a crafty
morning

Gift List

You may already have some gifts completed on this with items already
bought. This week, try and think of ideas for those remaining on the
list - with a budget. You can always phone them for ideas if you are
really stuck. If you need to post items to people make sure they are
among the first items bought to ensure they are ready before the
posting dates - think about the weights too - the cost of the gift
can double with postage if it is a heavy item :-(

Cards & Wrapping Supplies

Hopefully these are now all to hand and you know if you need to buy
any more. There are already quite a few stores with Christmas items
in, some even running 3 for 2 promotions. However, if you only need 1
pack of cards, buying 3 just because they are on offer is not really
a bargain - you can always get more for next year in the January
sales!

Treats Fri 08-Oct-10 12:59:29

has this thread finished? I was finding it really helpful sad

tigger32 Fri 08-Oct-10 14:31:48

Oh just remembered about this thread and came on to catch up, so I better start wrapping. Thanks Jas

Jas Fri 08-Oct-10 14:34:42

Sorry. There is another one or two to come. I'll go and hunt for them.

Jas Fri 08-Oct-10 14:35:56

Christmas Countdown 2010 - Week 4 28th September to 4th October

Posting cards/ presents
Throughout the next few weeks I will try and give you alerts for
upcoming postal dates around the world.

Christmas Puddings & Cakes
If you haven't already, now is the time to start thinking about
making these. You don't have to - it's not a competition :-) We love puddings in our house but not so keen on cake - and I always buy mine!

Gift List
Try and buy a present or two this week. At the very least research
some ideas for the gaps on there. If you do buy some presents, wrap
and tag them straight away :-)

Christmas Budgets
No one wants to be paying for Christmas in March. Check out
www.moneysavingexpert.com for some great ideas for budget presents. A
good place to start is here:
http: www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/christmas-savin gs

Photographs
if you are booking a photographer to take family photos to include
with cards/ presents, book the session now - they get booked very
early on. If you are taking them yourself plan the outfits you will
be wearing and book an appointment in the family calendar/ diary to
have a photo session (formal) or plan a couple of outings out to a
forest/ arboretum/ park to try and get a series of informal shots in.
This will give you time to take another set if necessary.

Childrens Rooms
See if you can help your children (depending on their ages) to sort
through their toys/ books with a view to clearing some out. Donate
unwanted ones to Operation Christmas Child, a charity shop, a
recycling bank or maybe a school/ nursing home near you will be
having an Autumn/ Chritsmas fair and you can donate items in
excellent condition to help raise funds.

Pantomimes
These can sell out early for popular days. Book now if you are
planning on going!

Jas Fri 08-Oct-10 14:37:14

Christmas Countdown 2010 Week 5 5th October - 11th October

Stamps
Throughout October & November buy a packet of stamps a week to spread
the cost - you can always use them up on parcels. Remember larger
cards will need different value stamps!

Gift List
Buy minimum 2 presents this week - wrap, label and update the gift
list. Leave space to update when given/ posted to recipient. Keep
receipts in your Christmas folder (a large envelope or one of those
clear pockets is good for this)

Homemade Gifts
Hopefully you are making good progress with these. Try and finish
another couple this week. Any bulbs for Christmas presents/ displays
should be potted up by now.....

Christmas Decorations/ Colour Scheme
Although it might seem early, decorations are beginning to creep into
the shops. Think about how you are planning on decorating your house
this year. Are you changing the colour scheme, or just updating
slightly. Whilst no-one is suggesting you buy vast quantities of new
decorations, a couple of new items each year can update your look.
Table cloths - have you a large enough one for Christmas? Do you need
a new one? Look now before everyone starts looking and things sell out. Plain cloths can be 'jazzed up' by a runner or lengths of ribbon along the middle.

Zone Work
This week covers zones 5 & 1. Is there any decorating/ touching up
required before Christmas? Aim to do it this week if possible - if
not, time plan it to be fitted in in the next 2 weeks.

Time for Self
Don't forget time out for you. Many hairdressers and beauticians are
taking Christmas bookings now - so take time this week to book
appointments for cuts/ colours/ waxes/ a relaxing massage before all
spaces are taken! We CAN be organised, stress free goddesses this
Christmas :-D I have all my hair cuts booked right up to Xmas Eve already!

Jas Fri 08-Oct-10 14:38:17

Sorry about the missing/very late week. There should be one a week right up til Christmasblush

aristocat Fri 08-Oct-10 14:42:35

Jas this is fantastic!

dylsmum1998 Fri 08-Oct-10 14:58:10

ahh this thread fell off my list, must must must catch up!

MNTotoro Fri 08-Oct-10 15:59:28

Hi Jas,

Going to watch this thread

invisibleink Fri 08-Oct-10 16:03:04

OOH! Am so behind! Must catch up!

johnworf Fri 08-Oct-10 21:06:59

Love Love LOVE! this thread grin

LittleCheesyPineappleOne Fri 08-Oct-10 23:20:36

watching - thanks all

emmie31 Sun 10-Oct-10 17:29:13

I'm loving this thread, I love christmas so this is certainly making me feel christmassy! smile

Toffeefudgecake Mon 11-Oct-10 12:43:20

Thank you for this fantastically useful thread, Jas. Please keep coming back and posting!

LittleCheesyPineappleOne Tue 12-Oct-10 17:09:27

(fell off "threads I'm on")

Jas Wed 13-Oct-10 09:23:28

LittleCheesyPineappleOne....If you go on to the customise link at the top, you can reset threads I'm on for 7 dayssmile

Christmas Countdown 2010 Week 6 12th - 18th October

Cards
If making any cards for Christmas, try and get another batch finished
this week.

Stamps
Buy another pack of stamps and put them in your Christmas folder. Christmas stamps will be on sale 2 November, this year they are Wallace and Gromit

Gifts
Buy another few gifts (try and aim for minimum two) and wrap and
label. Update your gift list. If purchasing online try somewhere like
www.moneysavingexpert.com for discount codes/ codes for free p&p.
Keep your eyes open for sales (Debenhams seem to have one permanently!) and 3 for 2 offers.
If stuck for ideas, hampers/ boxes/ baskets full of little bits and
pieces relevant to the recipient can go down well. Baskets can often
be picked up cheaply in pound shops. Boxes can be old shoeboxes
wrapped in festive paper. The box/ basket can be themed (eg: golf -
tees, a pack of 3 balls, a golf towel, golf ball shaped chocolates,
golf ball shaped soap, a new golf glove etc) make sure you keep a
total of the spend though - it is actually quite easy to buy lots of
little bits and pieces which then add up to more than your original
budget!
If making gifts, aim to finish some more this week.

Childrens Crafts
If the children are making cards/ presents then try and get them
started soon. Half term isn't far away so get in your craft supplies ready.
Photo calendars - always a popular one for grandparents. Time to start rooting through those pictures to find some suitable ones :-)

Christmas Groceries
The shops are already stocking cakes, puddings, advent calendars,
stocking sweets etc. If you plan on buying any of these aim to buy
sooner rather than later - there are some offers on some at the
moment. Buy one or two items a week and put them away in a cupboard that no-one knows about so they cannot be eaten early!!!

Kids Rooms Challenge
Set them (if old enough) the task of sorting through 1 area of toys/
books - old/ unwanted items can be donated to charity shops/hospitals/playgroups
etc... Broken items should be thrown. Don't forget you could make some money selling them on Ebay.

Healthy Options
Now that the weather is cooling down, rather than go straight for
(yummy) winter stodgy foods, how about some lovely homemade soups
(using up the last of the garden produce, maybe?). Puddings can be
warm fruit compotes - yummy - lots of plums around, or maybe you have
apples and blackberries to use up from the freezer/ garden

Kitchen
Go through your tupperware style pots - get rid of cracked/ broken
ones and ensure you have enough lids! Replacements can be bought
quite cheaply from places such as IKEA/ Matalan. Finally check your
bakeware - has some of it seen better days? Do you need a larger/
smaller roasting tray for dinner this year? Either make a note to
start buying a few replacement pieces or add them to your 'wanted' list for Christmas.

have fun & don't stress about the small stuff!

TheGrumpalo Wed 13-Oct-10 09:28:31

Going to keep an eye on this thread, I'm trying to be more organised with Christmas this year!

Treats Wed 13-Oct-10 11:30:30

Excellent - glad this is back. Got some catching up to do now, but really pleased to have some actions. I had my folder all ready to go but nothing to put in it!!

ooo ooo marking my place panic reaching me. thanks be back later for a good read through (thx toffee)

Gosh, I haven't started yet - I am so behind already! Will definitely be watching (and trying to keep up) with this thread this year!

Nuttybear Tue 19-Oct-10 20:41:57

Jas I've come over to join you! I've taken the week off after half term to enjoy getting ready! A real luxury but who wants extra time off at the end of March! I've got quite a bit left over from over working last year!

Jas Wed 20-Oct-10 19:33:47

Christmas Countdown - Week 7 - 19th to 25th October 2010

Stamps
Buy another packet of stamps and add it to your wrapping/mailing area
or your Christmas folder.

Gift List
Buy a few gifts from your list. Then update Gift list, wrap and label
them. Keep receipts in your Christmas folder (in punch pocket) in
case you need to return anything. (divider - `receipts)
If you think things may need to be returned ask for a 'Gift Receipt'
these are longer length receipts from stores which means you can buy now and return in January.

Now is the time to buy catalogue and mail order items so if they are
out of stock or you're not happy with the item you still have plenty of time to exchange them/order something else in time for xmas (Sylvia had problems with Amazon last year promising a book would be in for Xmas and then it wasn't - so don't leave things to chance!)

If you are having guests for meals at Christmas go to your dining
area. Think about Christmas day and other events. Do you have enough
chairs? Does the table extend - if so do you have a tablecloth that
fits, enough tablemats? Space for the larger table? Maybe you can
have a separate kid's table. Thinking about this now avoids nasty
surprises nearer the time.

Find, buy or sew a tablecloth for your table. If in doubt play safe
and buy a plain tablecloth and add a Christmas table runner down the
centre.

If you prefer check out the Christmas catalogues for paper
tablecloths. Studio Cards do a big range of tableware with matching
accessories (just right for all of us SHEs who HAVE to have co-
ordination)

Kitchen Challenge
Have a sort through kitchen cupboards/pantry. Throw away any food
that is out of date. Put all the baking stuff together, the
condiments together, the tins together etc. Sort-out plates, pans
etc. Throw away any cracked, warped, stained or broken items.

Have a brief think about Christmas Day and other events. Do you have
enough plates and glasses? For a sit down meal you need plates, side
plates, starter/desert bowls, serving stuff and cutlery. For a buffet
style meal you can manage with disposable plates/cutlery if you want
to.

WARNING:
Do not get carried away and start cleaning the cupboards! Just group
things sensibly and throw away the junk. We will clean the cupboards
nearer Christmas so we have a lovely organised kitchen to work in on
Christmas Day

Keep Smiling - less than 10 weeks to go!

Jas Wed 20-Oct-10 19:34:40

pushmepullyou....You cannot be behind with FLYladygrin
Just jump in where you are and you will be fine.

Balletpink Wed 20-Oct-10 19:45:42

OMG Jas I am in awe of you! Can you come round and organise my life? This is the most useful thread ever grin

EnchantressNettieSpaghetti Thu 21-Oct-10 06:25:36

Brilliant I was a Christmas control journal! I've started Christmas cards and they bear down on me like a two stone weight from above. Presents bought and have designated present case for all presents grin

Feeling chuffed with myself, will now go and check kitchen ware. I know i need new cutlery and have been looking for lovely dishwasher safe melamine plates for
DC.

Thanks jas

EnchantressNettieSpaghetti Thu 21-Oct-10 06:35:23

want blush

Jas Thu 21-Oct-10 09:24:24

Just a little note to all you misinformed mumsnetters who think I am super organised....these are copies of emails from Flylady UK, not my own work!!

I am Much less organised than this!

There is a link to join FLuk at the beginning of the thread. It is a yahoo group, and not easy to find/join unless you know where to look.

Nuttybear Thu 21-Oct-10 09:24:44

Marking my spot. I'll pop back later with a cuppa, mince pie and last years journal smile

Nuttybear Thu 21-Oct-10 09:58:14

Morning again I've had a mince pie and tea and have now got out my Christmas Journal. Thank you Jas for your tips. Wallace & Gromit stamps will look great. (out 2nd Nov for everyone else) I can't beleive that I didn't write in what I finally got for a friends!or final receipes for Christmas Day. I've lost the photo of the table setting that looked fab! I promise to put down a few lines over the Christmas Hols to remember what worked and what did not!
So My two Christmas tasks for today will be find out which Panto we are going to go to and fix it with DH & friends this weekend.
2 Go around the house looking for Christmas wrapping paer & cards left over from last year!
We normally go to Winchester for the Christmas carols but the family we normally stay with are getting a divorce (Nothing to do with us honest (well! I don't think so!!!))
Would love to keep the tradition but we don't have anyone to babysit our boy for the evening bits & not sure about the cost of a hotel either.

Fab thread!

I have a lot of catching up to do!

Can anyone join in or is it just you FlyLadies?

Nuttybear Thu 21-Oct-10 10:30:01

No, Anyone can join. Maybe we will covert you to our cult and you'll be with us the rest of the year! grin But you must get a stop watch! I can't tell you what's it's for until you have taken part in the cermony which includes lace up shoes shock and a frilly bra (have asked for naked men to be included but the elders are keeping them in their basements) blush

onadietcokebreak Thu 21-Oct-10 10:35:18

Already wrapped a tonne of presents but actually need to write it all down and get organised.

Love this thread!

LOL Nuttybear! I have been on some fly threads in the past. I even get the emails!

I am starting to panic a bit as I feel I am so disorganised this year. Haven't even gotten a list done yet.

I have bought some presents though. And made Christmas Chutney.

I live in Budapest and we are off to UK on Saturday for a week so I will do some shopping then. And will get sorted properly once we get back.

Nuttybear Thu 21-Oct-10 10:44:04

Oh! yes Buda I remember you now, how are you doing? Hope the yukky water hasn't been anywhere near you? I used to be Starbear.
Its 10.43 and i'#ve done nothing productive so see you all later.

Toffeefudgecake Sat 23-Oct-10 07:55:49

This thread fell off my list, so am marking my place again - this is so useful. smile

amnon Sat 23-Oct-10 22:10:36

Jas suggests making a donation to Operation Christmas Child. Before you all rush in, I suggestion you read their leader's article to find out what this "charity" is really about.

MNTotoro Sun 24-Oct-10 09:02:47

amnon - Jas isnt suggesting donations to Operation Christmas Child, FlyladyUK is. The concerns about that charity are well documented and I'm sure most people are aware of them.

I'm feeling smug as I have managed to do the kids stockings and they are getting bikes as main present. Now just have main family to buy for.

Unfortunately I bought 2 x 15m rolls of wrap for the 'santa' gifts and DD saw it....

Jas Mon 25-Oct-10 09:23:48

amnon - My feelings about operation christmas child mirror yours....if I had read the email properly before posting it here, I would have deleted that bit!

Bookmarking smile

Jas Thu 28-Oct-10 10:11:44

Christmas Countdown - Week 7 - 19th to 25th October 2010

Stamps
Buy another packet of stamps and add it to your wrapping/mailing area
or your Christmas folder.

Gift List
Buy a few gifts from your list. Then update Gift list, wrap and label
them. Keep receipts in your Christmas folder (in punch pocket) in
case you need to return anything. (divider - `receipts)
If you think things may need to be returned ask for a 'Gift Receipt'
these are longer length receipts from stores which means you can buy now and return in January.

Now is the time to buy catalogue and mail order items so if they are
out of stock or you're not happy with the item you still have plenty of time to exchange them/order something else in time for xmas

If you are having guests for meals at Christmas go to your dining
area. Think about Christmas day and other events. Do you have enough
chairs? Does the table extend - if so do you have a tablecloth that
fits, enough tablemats? Space for the larger table? Maybe you can
have a separate kid's table. Thinking about this now avoids nasty
surprises nearer the time.

Find, buy or sew a tablecloth for your table. If in doubt play safe
and buy a plain tablecloth and add a Christmas table runner down the
centre.

If you prefer check out the Christmas catalogues for paper
tablecloths. Studio Cards do a big range of tableware with matching
accessories (just right for all of us SHEs who HAVE to have co-
ordination)

Kitchen Challenge
Have a sort through kitchen cupboards/pantry. Throw away any food
that is out of date. Put all the baking stuff together, the
condiments together, the tins together etc. Sort-out plates, pans
etc. Throw away any cracked, warped, stained or broken items.

Have a brief think about Christmas Day and other events. Do you have
enough plates and glasses? For a sit down meal you need plates, side
plates, starter/desert bowls, serving stuff and cutlery. For a buffet
style meal you can manage with disposable plates/cutlery if you want
to.

WARNING:
Do not get carried away and start cleaning the cupboards! Just group
things sensibly and throw away the junk. We will clean the cupboards
nearer Christmas so we have a lovely organised kitchen to work in on
Christmas Day

Keep Smiling - less than 10 weeks to go!

Toffeefudgecake Fri 29-Oct-10 10:02:56

Thanks again, Jas. I am hoping that this is going to be the first Christmas for many years that I have not been up until 3am wrapping presents on Christmas Eve. smile

Jas Thu 04-Nov-10 11:04:12

Sorry this one is late....

Christmas Countdown - Week 9: - 2 November – 8th November

Stamps
Buy another packet of stamps and add it to your wrapping/mailing area
or your Christmas folder. Christmas stamps are available from today if
you prefer them - Wallace and Grommit is this year's theme....

Christmas Cards
Write one third of your Christmas cards. You can use computer labels
and hand-write the signature or write them all by hand.

Gifts
Buy a few gifts from your list. Then update Gift list, wrap and label
them. Keep receipts in your Christmas folder in case you need to
return anything. There are lots of offers on at the moment so keep
your eyes open.....

Clothing
Get out your special party clothes. If they need dry-cleaning take
them in now before the cleaners get too busy. Try things on and check
they fit and are a style you still like. If not send them off to the
charity shop. If you have fancy shoes or evening bags you never wear,
this is the time to let them go.

Kids clothes also need to be checked out. Throw or pass on anything
which doesn't fit or they dislike. It's better for them to be in clean
jeans and T-shirt and happy than miserable in a fancy outfit they
won't wear again. Charity shops will appreciate good winter clothes
and fancy outfits especially at this time of year. Every little helps
to those who are struggling with finances at this expensive time of
year. You are not throwing away good things you are giving someone
less fortunate the chance of good, cheap clothing for themselves and
their children

You don't have to buy new clothes for Christmas, especially if your
budget is tight just add the odd cheap accessory to update your old
outfits e.g. sequins to a plain top, scarf, dress jewellery etc.
Or maybe get a bunch of your friends together and have a swap party!

Zone - Kitchen
If you will be very busy in December, cook double portions of family
favourites now and freeze for the mad days.

Top up alcohol in Christmas pudding and cake, whether you've made your
own, or bought it at the supermarket.

If you like making homemade biscuits, make a batch of dough and freeze
to save time later. Make sure you label it clearly! Check out the files for recipes other members have posted

During this month try to eat up all the odd bits and pieces in your
freezer then clear out and defrost ready for the Christmas food. Sylvia pays for a freezer hamper of meat through the year which is delivered the beginning of December - so she always has to make room!!!

Throw out all the old tea towels that have seen better days and check
out the ones just for Christmas – and add a bit of Christmas fun in
the kitchen, or buy new ones to tone with your colour scheme.

Toffeefudgecake Thu 04-Nov-10 17:12:12

I love this. Makes me feel organised just reading it. Thanks.

Jas Tue 09-Nov-10 22:57:36

Christmas Countdown - Week 10: - 9th November – 15th November

Stamps
Buy another packet of stamps and add it to your wrapping/mailing area
or your Christmas folder. Think about any parcels you may need to
post - do you have the right sized jiffy bag or box to post it in??

Christmas Cards
Write another third of your Christmas cards.

Christmas decorations
Get out all your Christmas Decorations and lights from
cupboards/garage or loft.
Check through them. Throw away any broken or horrid ones. Give away
(to friend or charity shop, also schools/playgroups are grateful for
them) any nice ones that don't match your colour scheme or you don't
need anymore. (Try and keep a few good empty boxes that presents have
come in to put decorations away after Christmas so they will be safe
for next year)

Gifts
Buy a few gifts from your list. Then update Gift list, wrap and label
them. Keep receipts in your Christmas folder in case you need to
return anything.

Order any internet/catalogue/mail order items by now so there is
plenty of time for them to arrive and exchange if required

Appointments
Book your Christmas Party baby sitter now so you won't be panicking at
the last minute.

Also make appointments with the hairdresser and the beauty salon for
manicure, pedicure and body wrap etc Christmas week (you are important
too!!!!). With all the planning you have been doing you will have the
time to spend some precious moments on yourself

Advent Calendar
Buy your advent calendars this week. The ones with a tiny chocolate
behind each door are fun, as are the ones which can be reused each
year.

Christmas Kids Craft
If you want to make cards, calendars, decorations or other crafts with
your kids, do it this week. Grandparents particularly like home-made
cards from kids. You can quite cheaply buy card and mini calendars
then all you need is your children's imagination

Zone - Bathroom
Sort through the Bathroom cupboard and throw out of date medicine and
old toiletries. Restock with plenty of paracetomal, rennie, resolve,
kids paracetomal for those after party moments!!!

Check you have plenty of nice towels for Christmas guests (and
yourself). Fix leaking taps, loose loo seats, unpredictable showers
now.
If the bathroom lock is broken or awkward, oil or replace it now.

Jas Tue 16-Nov-10 13:46:12

Christmas Countdown - Week 11: - 16th November – 22nd November

Stamps
Buy another packet of stamps and add it to your wrapping/mailing area
or your Christmas folder.

Christmas Cards
Write one third of your Christmas cards. You can use computer labels
but hand-writes the signature or write them all by hand.

Christmas Supplies
Check your camera. Buy a spare battery for it and get several rolls of
film (does anyone still have a cameral like this?). If you have a digital camera, check that you know what all the functions do and buy a spare memory card. Make sure you know where you have put the camera so it's ready for Christmas morning. Make sure you have the charger for your video camera and that you have room on your film/disc/card or get a spare one ready

Christmas decorations
Decide what additional decorations you need to buy. Try to stick to a
simple colour scheme or theme. We like red and gold, tartan, blue and
silver etc.

You can use a can of gold or silver spray paint to convert things that
are the wrong colour into your colour scheme. You may want to buy a
few extra decorations but only if you need to. I am guilty of having
far too many and still buying more

Gifts
Buy a few gifts from your list. Then update Gift list, wrap and label
them. Keep receipts in your Christmas folder in case you need to
return anything.

Zone - Bedroom
If you have guests coming to stay check beds, bedding etc this week.
Give the bedding in the spare rooms a wash and freshen up. Check sofa
beds and airbeds if you have not used them for a while – a bit
embarrassing if there is a big stain on the fold away bed or the air
bed won't pump up due to the hole in it and your guests are waiting to
go to bed!

Have you got enough pillows and duvets? Think where everyone will
sleep. Although you can't create extra rooms you can be realistic
about how many people can stay after the Christmas party!!!!

Re-evaluate
At the end of this week it is only 5 weeks to Christmas Day. How
ready are you?

Go through your Christmas folder and make notes to yourself on things
you need to do.

Take several deep breaths you will be ready we promise!

Nuttybear Thu 18-Nov-10 21:27:37

Jas I've got my Christmas journal in front of me and I'm going to start now! I feel I might be running a little bit behind everyone but, I haven't got a big family so I should catch up.
I'm going to do a Nov/Dec calendar and squeeze in, everything I want to do around other things happening.

Nuttybear Thu 18-Nov-10 21:29:20

Ops! Run out of paper. Top of my list for tomorrow!

ByThePowerOfGreyskull Thu 18-Nov-10 21:34:21

wow just found this,
thank you for probably the most useful thing I have ever seen on t'internet bear

Nuttybear Thu 18-Nov-10 23:05:35

Just put the timer on so I would only spend one hours making Christmas plans. It worked really well.
*Have now sent e-mail to volunteer to man a stall at the church Christmas Bazaar.
Figured out that on saturday I need to buy a tin of Quality Street to fill jars for the Christmas bazaar.
Sent a e-mail to friend who will be coming over from Canada to fix a meet-up
Thought through that I need to ask someone to look after DS while we shop for toys for kids.
sent an e-mail to myself at work to remember to ask school when the Christmas Play is so I can ask for time off work.
I feel a ittle more sorted
Thanks Jas Love you xx
Hi greyskull bear

Nuttybear Thu 18-Nov-10 23:06:05

Sorry should read 1 hour blush

Jas Sat 27-Nov-10 15:25:53

Sorry it is late again....I lost the email!

Christmas Countdown - Week 12: - 23rd November – 29th November

Front Entrance
This is your last chance to clean up your front entrance ready for
lights, door wreath etc. Take out fading bedding plants, brush up
leaves and do a quick general tidy up.

Under the stairs
Also think about your hallway, does it need de-cluttering? Put away those summer sandals, throw out any old/worn out shoes, put away light summer jackets to make more space. It's not a spring clean so don't start pulling it all out! just make it presentable and add some more space for all those extra shoes, coats etc.. from visitors over the festive season.

Dining Room
Check that you have enough glassware for Christmas events and wash
them and rinse in a weak vinegar solution so they are sparkling clean.
Put them away in a cupboard so they stay dust free for Christmas

Stamps and Christmas Cards
Hopefully you have all your Christmas cards written and stamped by
now. Aim to send by the end of next week, (3/4/5 December) that way
you are not caught out by volume of mail and people who go away for
Christmas still get your card. Also you can send them all 2nd class
and save a few pennies.

You've got a spare dozen cards in case you have forgotten a few
people.

Christmas decorations
Anytime from 1st December is OK to put up your decorations. Or you
can wait until nearer to Christmas if you prefer. Either way they are
sorted and ready for you to put them up. If you have lots put up a
few at a time. You can do anything for 15 minutes! (Sylvia's already spotted a tree up in someone's house!!)

Christmas crackers and turkey stuff
This week buy Christmas Crackers to match your holiday colour scheme.

Also buy the extra wide tinfoil and if you don't have one get a turkey
pan. Check the turkey pan fits in your oven!! Have a think about all
the accompaniments you may need for your festive meal – stuffing,
cranberry, bacon rolls etc – if you can, buy them now and store them
in freezer or if tinned/jar in a separate store cupboard for Christmas
goodies

Gifts
Hopefully you have now have bought most of the items on your Gift
list. Stuck for the last few people? If they are in the UK, send them
vouchers to a sports, music or bookshop. If they are nearby you could
take them food items instead – make up a goody basket.

Don't forget family birthdays in December and January. It's
particularly important for these poor souls to be remembered.

Cooker
Over the next 3 weeks we are going to clean the cooker. Take off all
the knobs and clean them (Yes they do come off!!)

Take the interior oven door off (needs unscrewing) and give it a good
clean.

Keep going! We are nearly there now!

Jas Tue 30-Nov-10 13:23:01

Christmas Countdown - Week 13: - 30 November – 6th December

By the end of this week, if you have been following the programme, you
should find all your cards are posted and all your presents bought and
wrapped (Doesn't that feel good!)

Don't worry if you are not up to this stage yet as it is not a race,
you have not `failed' and there is still time to finish your Christmas
preparations without too much stress. Just keep going and do what you
can 15 minutes at a time

Zone Work - Kitchen
Clean your small kitchen appliances (mixer, coffee machine, bread bin,
toaster, food processor, slow cooker etc.). Don't obsess about this
just empty out loose food particles and give the appliance a wipe over

Clean the racks in the oven. Use Oven Mates if you can find them, they
clean chemically for you, otherwise try Cif and Brillo pads. Anything
is better than doing nothing

Preparation
Plan your menus for Christmas and the days before and after. You may wish to do a list of all lunches and dinners but Sylvia just makes sure there are plenty of options in the fridge and freezer so everyone can help themselves (no little ones to prepare for on a daily basis). She only does a set meal on Christmas day and New Years day

But remember not to go too mad – if you do something special with the
turkey keep the accompaniments fairly plain. Use your menus to plan a
shopping list (even if it is just for Christmas day). Check if you
have any special diets/allergies for those eating with you and cater
accordingly

Order your meats from the butchers now – you can sometimes pay a third
off each week till Christmas Eve so that all the money is not coming
out of your kitty at once

Gifts
Post gifts for outside the UK now, as the last date for some countries
are early December. Start to fill stockings for family members. Leave
fruit or other perishables until later.

Summary
Have a quick run through your Christmas book and see if you are on
track. Check your florist arrangements, your gift list, last postal
dates for overseas gifts, card list (don't forget great auntie
Tilly!!!!) etc., etc. When you look back you can see how far you
have come

Keep Flying and have fun this December with less stress and more time
to do the things that are important to you and your family

_.,_.___

bounty007 Wed 01-Dec-10 20:25:27

fab thread Jas Im copying & pasting to put at the front on my Christmas Folder...
am I correct in thinking that week 8 is missing...any chance you could post it.
TIA

Jas Thu 02-Dec-10 18:36:33

Yes you are right. Week 8 does appear to be missing. I don't have it in my emails, either, so not sure what happened!

If I can get into the Yahoo site I may be able to see it and copy it for you. I'll have a try tonight.

Sorry.

Jas Thu 02-Dec-10 18:52:49

For bounty smile

Christmas Countdown - Week 8: - 26th October to 1 November

ADVERTISEMENT
Christmas Countdown - Week 8: - 26th October to 1 November

Stamps
Buy another packet of stamps and add it to your wrapping/mailing area
or your Christmas folder.

Card List
Get out your card list (hopefully made a few weeks ago). If you did
not make one, do it now!

There are two approaches here 1. Computerised labels, 2.Hand-written
envelopes.

If you are going to hand write the envelopes check you have all the
addresses in your address book or organiser and update anywhere you
have a change of address notice. Remember you can find postcodes at
www.royalmail.co.uk

A computerised address label file will save you time in future years,
try exporting from your organiser software or manually typing in the
addresses into a spreadsheet (e.g. Excel) and mail merging with a
label template to produce labels. Buy Christmas Address Labels to use
in your printer.

Gifts
Buy a few gifts from your list. Then update Gift list, wrap and label
them. Keep receipts in your Christmas folder in case you need to
return anything.

Best Price Challenge
Most of the shops are stocking their Christmas goodies now, so next time you are
shopping make a note of prices of things you WOULD NORMALLY BUY (Don't get
seduced into buying extras you don't need!!)Things like tins of
biscuits,chocolate advent calendars etc... then you can compare the best deals.
Sylvia left it late last year to buy her tin of sweets and didn't have a great
choice! so if you are happy you are getting a bargain then start to get a few
choice
things now.

Craft Area Challenge
If you don't have kids, perhaps you like to do craft.
Spend 10 minutes clearing your main work area. Then collect together
all the materials for the Christmas crafts you have in mind. Now when
you have a few spare minutes, you can be creative.

Be Good to Yourself
Congratulate yourself on how organised you are (however big or small) take a
deep breath and repeat "I am a domestic goddess and will be fully prepared in
time for Christmas"

bounty007 Thu 02-Dec-10 19:19:30

Thank you Jas!!! In years to come I will not let Christmas creep up on me...

Jas Wed 08-Dec-10 18:01:19

Sorry this is late - it's been one of 'those' weeks!!

Christmas Countdown - Week 14: - 7th - 13th December

All presents bought, wrapped and labelled? All cards sent? I hope
you are all achieving your Festive goal of peace this Christmas

Christmas Table
It is time to do your Christmas table preparation so you don't run
round on Christmas morning looking for tableware and dishes that you
can serve your roasties!

Wash and press table linen (tablecloths, napkins) make sure you know
where you have put them!

Clean all serving dishes. Use your Christmas day menu plan and decide
on what dish for what food - put a little note in each dish so others
can help you out on the day and not have to ask what goes where. Put
the dishes away in a dust free cupboard so they are ready for use on
Christmas morning (some you may have to use on a daily basis but make
sure they are clean and ready on Christmas eve)

Kitchen
Clean kitchen cupboards - give them a quick wash down so you have a
nice environment to work in on Christmas morning. If you have time
give the insides a quick wipe too - just do one cupboard a day

Last step on cooker cleaning - you should now have cleaned the knobs
and buttons, the oven door and the shelves. Now you just need to give
the oven itself a clean and it is ready for the turkey!! Try and
clean the cooker top as you go along each day

Other Preparations
Get ready for guests - clear out the wardrobe in the spare room, so
they can put their clothes in there! Maybe buy a nice plant or plan
for flowers nearer the time, you can add a few small decorations in
here too if you like.

Check out some of the web sites that deliver frozen foods - Iceland
etc. If your freezer is ready then order your frozen foods and
condiments on line NOW. You can buy frozen roast potatoes (they are
very nice) frozen sprouts with chestnuts, glazed carrots and tray
stuffing - all time saving and tasty.

Note for the panicking!
If this is not where you are at don't worry. Concentrate on sorting
out gifts and cards and planning the food for guests.

Its party season time right now, and if you struggle with your weight
its easy to let it all go until January. If you are in this mind set
at the moment please stop and think about that. Strategies may
include only going once to the buffet table (no return visits),
choosing diet drinks and offering to drive others - so no alcohol, in
restaurants choosing light options like salads and sorbet and not
having a huge tin of Roses at home to dip into!!!!'

ToffeeChristmascake Sun 12-Dec-10 19:11:41

Lost this thread, so am marking my place now I've found it again. I am way ahead of myself this year, thanks to all these useful reminders smile.

Jas Wed 15-Dec-10 09:16:41

Christmas Countdown - Week 15: - 14th – 23rd December

Hi everyone

Can you believe this is the last message already that will take us up to Christmas Eve!!! I hope you are all excited about the coming festivities

This week there is added a Christmas dinner countdown as well.....

Have fun!!!

Plan your New Years Party and invite people.

Make sure of your numbers so that you can get your menus sorted and
buy some of the food you need when you do your Christmas food shopping

Write shopping list for fresh food

Using your menu for Christmas period write a detailed list of all you
need to buy. Maybe a list for each section (frozen, veg, baking
etc.). Don't forget to include a couple of treats for yourself.

Go to the hairdressers/beauticians.

Treat yourself this week as you deserve it. If you have children at
school this is the final week of peace and quiet. You don't have to go
shopping for presents or cards cause that is already done so GO ON
indulge yourself (even if it is a home made pedicure, spend some time
on you – as the advert says `You're worth it')

Watch lots of movies – enjoy the kids.

You have the time now so in the few days before Christmas get out the
videos/DVDs and watch the favourite Christmas movies (Miracle on 34th
Street, Santa Claus the Movie, It's a Wonderful Life etc etc.) Cry,
laugh and have fun without thinking you have other things to do. If
you don't have little children with you then be one yourself!!!

Now The Work Bit!!!

Bedrooms
Make up the beds for your Christmas guests and yourselves. Put on
fresh sheets, bring in some plants or flowers, plug-in the air
fresheners and make everyone feel special on Christmas Eve when they
get into bed

The Whole House
No we don't mean clean everything!!! Spend 5 minutes in each room this
week and stand in the centre and see what you can quickly improve on –
don't stash and dash but try and make a small improvement that will
make you smile. Put a candle on the coffee table, throw out an old
pile of magazines (or donate them to the doctor's waiting room), chuck
out the junk mail, straighten a dresser top and put a nice item on it
to prevent re cluttering, hang coats in the closet, put a plug in air
freshener in your hall – whatever little change you make will make the
room a better place to be in.

If all else fails, get yourself a couple of largish cardboard boxes
and fling anything that's cluttering up a counter/table/surface into
them and store them away somewhere out of sight. You can start with
emptying these boxes in January for your Spring Cleaning!

Christmas Dinner Countdown
Christmas dinner can be one of the most stressful times of the festive
period. Don't put yourself through unnecessary stress when there are
so many shortcuts to help you

Lets starts with the turkey! It will basically cook itself with just a
few little steps of preparation

First defrost it early enough

To work out the defrosting time for your turkey, check the packaging.
If there aren't any defrosting instructions, use the following times
as a rough guide for how long it will take to thaw your turkey (but
remember to check that it's fully thawed before cooking and there are
no ice crystals in the carcass).

In a fridge at 4°C (39°F), allow about 10 to 12 hours per kg, but
remember not all fridges will be this temperature.

In a cool room (below 17.5°C, 60°F) allow approximately 3 to 4 hours
per kg, longer if the room is particularly cold.

At room temperature (about 20°C, 68°F) allow approximately 2 hours
per kg.

DO NOT WASH YOUR POULTRY BEFORE COOKING!!! There are several nasty
bacteria in poultry and they can be scattered around your kitchen when
you dangle your turkey under a running tap. Just check it is properly
de-frosted, put a whole peeled onion inside, butter/salt/pepper on the
skin and cover in foil. (all the bacteria will be killed in the oven)
Clean up with paper towels and disinfectant and then thoroughly wash
your hands

On the Web-site below there are great tips and ideas for preventing
food poisoning at Christmas
http://www.eatwell.gov.uk/healthydiet/seasonsandce lebrations/winter/sa
ferchristmaseating/

As a general guide, for a turkey under 4.5kg allow 45 minutes per kg
plus 20 minutes; for one weighing between 4.5kg and 6.5kg 40 minutes
per kg; and for those over 6.5kg 35 minutes per kg at 180°C, 350°F,
Gas Mark 4 (after the oven has preheated).

You will need to baste your turkey with its juices a few times and
leave the foil off for the last 20 minutes to brown and crisp the
skin. All meats need to be left to stand for 20 minutes before carving
as in this time the flesh will relax and let some of the juices seep
back in – making it moist and juicy

Christmas Morning
Some people like to cook their turkey the night before but generally I
don't - I prefer it warm.

So here is my routine for dinner at around 1.30pm (Turkey 12-14lb)

9.00am – Prepare and put in the turkey in pre heated oven – it will
take approximately 3½ hours plus 20 minutes standing time. Put white
wine in fridge to chill – open red wine to breath. Wrap mini sausages
in bacon and put in fridge

9.30 – Have family breakfast and play with kids) relax and watch TV,
listen to carols etc

10.30 – Prepare fresh vegetables/potatoes or if frozen leave this step
till later. Put vegetables in salted water till ready to cook (carrot
& turnip, sprouts etc)

11.00 – Set table and put out condiments, wine glasses, crackers etc
(Sylvia does this Christmas Eve night before she goes to bed)

12.00 – Par-boil potatoes for roasting and prepare other items for
oven (parsnips, sweet potatoes, stuffing, mini onions, sausage in
bacon etc)

12.30 – Put parboiled potatoes in oven and put parsnips, sweet potato
around turkey (take foil off turkey to brown the skin)

12.45 – Turn on heat under vegetables and bring to boil

1.00 - Take out turkey and put on warm plate to rest (cover with foil)
Drain some of the juices to make gravy. Put tray back in to finish
cooking parsnips etc. Put in stuffing, sausage and bacon etc

1.15 – Check on vegetables, drain if done and put in covered servers
(or in pan with lid on). Put wine on table. Make gravy using meat
juices, gravy granules, and a drop of port

1.30 – All should be cooked. Carve Turkey, put out vegetables pour
gravy and enjoy

Please don't try too much – no one likes the smell of burning martyr
at Christmas!!!!!!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

ToffeeChristmascake Wed 15-Dec-10 19:49:34

Thank you, Jas. This thread has been so useful. I particularly like Flylady's advice to fling all the clutter into a largish cardboard box and store away until January smile.

Hope you have a happy - and organised - Christmas.

Beginningtoffeealotlikexmas Sat 10-Dec-11 12:24:07

Just bumping this because it was really useful last year.

blondieminx Sun 11-Dec-11 10:58:29

Jas thank you so much, I printed off the entire thread and added diary notes to this year's diary and this year I'm so much more organised (even with an almost 2 year old in tow)! Wishing you all a very merry Christmas smile

blondieminx Sun 11-Dec-11 10:58:41

or even smile

Some0ne Thu 04-Oct-12 17:10:28

Ooh, I love this thread! My Christmas notebook which is actually a Christmas Excel spreadsheet is up and running grin

loving this

StripyShoes Thu 04-Oct-12 18:00:50

Thanks for bumping the thread!

GossipWitch Fri 05-Oct-12 14:28:13

oooohhhhh an organinised xmas..... marking my place

Engelsemama Sat 06-Oct-12 12:51:15

Great. Just copied and pasted into my own doc so I can get organised for this year. Thank you!

GossipWitch Tue 16-Oct-12 14:34:25

I have 2 out of three kids done !!!

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