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NOW CLOSED: The countdown to Christmas has started - share your best Christmas preparation advice with Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger! There's £100 cash up for grabs

(153 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 07-Nov-12 10:59:41

To celebrate the forthcoming release of the sequel to Nativity - Nativity 2 Danger in the Manger (released November 23 - staring David Tennant and Joanna Page - check out the trailer here) the film makers want to know hear all about your preparations in the run up to Christmas.

So, do you have any top tips for making Christmas run smoothly?

~ Is is best to forward plan or stagger it?
~ Do you have a Christmas shopping list (and do you check it twice?!)? Or do you battle your way through the high street on Christmas Eve?
~ What are your Christmas shopping top tips? What about food shopping (snapped up that Ocado slot yet? wink)
~ Whatever your Christmas preparations involve, we want to hear about it.

Also, throughout November Nativity 2 have a fab advent calendar on their Mumsnet pages, where each day you can uncover a great piece of Christmas planning advice, take part in a Christmas quiz or win a prize.
Take a look at what's behind today's date here: www.mumsnet.com/microsites/nativity-2

Everyone who adds their comments to this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one winner will receive £100 cash in time for Christmas!

Thanks and good luck,

MNHQ

VerySmallSqueak Sat 10-Nov-12 15:43:28

I plan,plan,plan.I have an idea of what I want to get people and I list it.

I hand over all 'real' food shopping to DH (ie meals) and I buy the extras (cheeses,snacks etc) myself. I also buy non alcoholic drinks.

Once my children go back to school in September I start picking up on things that they mention and making lists of toys, games or activities that they may like as gifts. I can buy for my DDs from mid November onwards as they are teenagers. I like to plan early but don't actually do anything until after Bonfire Night.

DS writes his list for Santa at the end of November and leaves it on the mantelpiece before bed on the 30th November. When he gets up the next day the letter has gone and in its place is his Advent calendar. He knows that once the letter has gone there is no changing his mind - and it gives me three good weeks to shop for his gifts.

I buy non-perishable foodstuffs as I see them - hopefully when they are on offer, like the packs of J2O that I bought this week. My turkey, ham, fresh veg etc are bought early on Christmas Eve.

I usually make some gifts so start early making those. I should be done by the end of this month.

Wrapping is done during the day when the DCs are at school. I write our cards in early December and post them all second class. I usually wait until I've had at least three or four delivered here, so I don't look too eager. blush

Christmas Eve is for relaxing until the Children's Mass after which we have nibbles and something bubbly. Christmas Day is relaxed too - we eat when the food is ready and slump in front of Dr Who.

Declutterbug Sat 10-Nov-12 20:19:01

I forward plan by having a present spreadsheet (yes really blush). However, although I tend to start the shopping in Oct, I do also stagger it by doing it in bursts. I hope to have the vast majority done by the end of the first week of Dec. if at all possible I will avoid the high street altogether and order everything online? If it saves money then I'll do click and collect.

AlreadyScone Sat 10-Nov-12 22:32:56

I used to do spreadsheet Christmases, with all the family at mine, stockings for grown-ups, nearly all foodstuffs home-made...

This will be my 10th year in charge of Christmas and the formula is

-big presents bought early-ish
-little presents bought late-ish
-cards & parcels done by 1st week of December
-buy enough nice food for 3 days
-wing the rest, don't be a control freak, embrace tat, and enjoy yourself

These are a precious few days off work and school to celebrate with your DC. Don't spend them in the kitchen or the car!

angell74 Sat 10-Nov-12 23:28:17

Thinking about festive food I try to get lots of things prepared and stashed in the freezer before the big day so I don't spend all Xmas day in the kitchen.

I always par boil my potatoes then freeze them so they can be cooked straight from frozen on Xmas day, I make chicken stock for gravy by boiling carcases early in December and then freezing it in bags. I buy sausages and bacon and make my pigs in blankets then freeze them on a tray ready to go. Even bread and cranberry sauce can be made and frozen.

This just means I feel a bit calmer and Xmas Eve I can just prep my vegetables and make sure the bird is ready to go in the oven.

cherryjellow Sun 11-Nov-12 07:30:22

I plan in advance what everyone's getting, then as I get money over the months before, I buy the presents. Then last minute the week before, I buy any food late at night in tesco. That is my top tip, food shop when it's 9.30 etc, trolley bumping is no fun and it's stress free! We always make a few home made gifts too usually in the start of December. No last minute rushes on that one!

lionheart Sun 11-Nov-12 09:14:02

Yes, what swallowed said. Support you local shops if you can.

Take a couple of bin bags and have a total house purge a few weeks before Christmas. Collect up the unloved, unplayed with, downright annoying toys along with the stuff gifted last year that has languished in a cupboard ever since. Deliver them to a local charity shop. smile

Otherwise, at 10 am on hristmas morning, your house will resemble a toys r us sale.

Welovecouscous Sun 11-Nov-12 10:38:04

Start shopping early!! smile

MaryZezItsOnlyJustNovember Sun 11-Nov-12 12:31:11

[http://memegenerator.net/instance/29236114 here]

Hope this helps grin

MaryZezItsOnlyJustNovember Sun 11-Nov-12 12:31:25

Rats: here

Kveta Sun 11-Nov-12 13:56:50

~ Is is best to forward plan or stagger it?

i pick up little things during the year and keep them on top of the wardrobe, then forget they are there until after Christmas which should save a last minute scramble to buy.

~ Do you have a Christmas shopping list (and do you check it twice?!)? Or do you battle your way through the high street on Christmas Eve?

I make a list, but am flexible if I see something better, or the person I'm buying for mentions something they're after.

~ What are your Christmas shopping top tips? What about food shopping (snapped up that Ocado slot yet? )

main tip is to avoid being pregnant over christmas, as I spent last christmas mainly throwing up in between preparing meals. it made food shopping an endurance test too. as we only have 4 of us to cater for, 1 who will only just be on solids and one who will be too excited to eat much, we are not doing anything adventurous this year.

wellcoveredsparerib Sun 11-Nov-12 16:32:27

I do try to plan and buy presents and booze from October onwards to ease the financial pain.

My best recommendation is to buy online as much as possible and comfortably in advance to avoid the "will it arrive on time" stress.

Visadiva Sun 11-Nov-12 18:00:59

I buy a little extra something with the weekly shop from about September ( box of biscuits, chocolates, tin of shortbread etc) and stick them on top of the wardrobe. You don't notice the few extra pounds spent and can build up a nice little stack of Christmas goodies.

Buy all veg pre prepped. Life's too short to chop carrot and turnip and trim sprouts if someone will do it for you.

Lay the table on Christmas eve. Saves the stress on the day of trying to do it while running in and out of the kitchen and opening kids toys.

Take the kids to the cinema on Christmas eve afternoon to watch something festive. Calms them down a little bit grin

janx Sun 11-Nov-12 19:50:39

Before kids I would swan around the shops in December and would be buying presents right up to Christmas eve grin
Now I tend to pick up things all year round - mainly for birthdays but may stash some aside for christmas. For immediate family I tend to buy in Nov. my son has a birthday at beginning of Dec so that month can get expensive.
Food wise I am probably less organized though I don't feel stressed about that.

Shinyshoes1 Sun 11-Nov-12 20:03:08

~ Is is best to forward plan or stagger it?
heck yeah !!!i'm a 'buy it Boxing day for the following year kinda person. On my Facebook page I start the Christmas countdown and links to various bargains......much to everyones annoyance
~ Do you have a Christmas shopping list (and do you check it twice?!)? Or do you battle your way through the high street on Christmas Eve?
I have a spreadsheet.. I list what i've bought people previous years.. The budget per person this coming year, Which shop in order (can picture the layout of Lakeside shopping mall in my head) in and out.. minimal fuss with a break for the Special Christmas Starbucks offer and then a break in time for lunch
~ What are your Christmas shopping top tips? What about food shopping (snapped up that Ocado slot yet? )
I order the M&S christmas food ordering...I'm literally queing up for the Christmas catalogue....I spend days pouring over it

QOD Sun 11-Nov-12 20:16:59

Stay with family Xmas eve and day (and insist on donating cash and helping with every single bit - I act as galley slave whilst slowly getting pissed)

Boxing Day at my mums - repeat as above except no money given

Happy days!

HullyEastergully Sun 11-Nov-12 20:36:21

Go to ESK.

They have Christmas for 5p.

Today I bought a flying santa in a plane that sings when you clap. And a hat that is a chimney with boots hanging from it. And a large furry reindeer head.

What more does one need?

Taffeta Sun 11-Nov-12 22:01:21

Is is best to forward plan or stagger it?

Food etc I do both - some last minute, some advance prep. I don't like pre frozen mince pies eg, I like them fresh from the oven.Presents I normally have them all by early Dec, staggering it so head doesn't explode

~ Do you have a Christmas shopping list (and do you check it twice?!)? Or do you battle your way through the high street on Christmas Eve? . I buy presents mostly in Oct and Nov.

~ What are your Christmas shopping top tips? What about food shopping?
I booked my Waitrose slot months ago <smug> DH buys the turkey the last day he's at work in London from M and S or Waitrose, the fruit and veg ordered ahead from our local van. Nearly all presents I buy online, I don't set foot near a high street or mall from end Nov until end Jan.

TheWintersTale Sun 11-Nov-12 22:46:10

I live abroad, but usually try to make it home to the UK for Christmas. My top tips are:

1. Shop for gifts year-round. As other posters have mentioned, there are great bargains to be had throughout the year and these purchases can be used as presents for Christmas.

2. Put all presents in a specific place in your house so that you don't forget about them and then buy too much.

3. Christmas gift sets look lovely, but it is possible to create your own unique gift sets using crafty bits that you may have lying around the house. I tend to buy a few bath accessories/ cosmetics throughout the year when they are on sale, and then put them in a little basket that I decorate with ribbon etc. Works out cheaper, and it's lots of fun.

4. Final tip is more for those living overseas: I write my Christmas cards in the summer, when I'm back in the UK. I stamp them up and get my mum to pop them in the post come December. Good way to avoid international postage costs.

racingheart Sun 11-Nov-12 22:53:09

Top tip: relax! The DC would far rather have smiley parents than ones who are stressed because they walked up Oxford Street 5 times to look for a sold-out Lego set.

Don't shop too far ahead for main presents. I know people who buy it all in November but my DCs lists have changed beyond recognition since last week. I hold out until advent before shopping for most people, unless there's a really good deal on.

But do pick up stocking fillers as soon as you see them. I keep them in separate bags, so I know how much stuff each DC has.

Don't buy tins of chocs and biscuits ahead of time unless you have willpower. Mine just get eaten and replaced several times over if I buy ahead.

All year round we shop online, but for Christmas we hit the supermarket. I want to see exactly what we're buying.

VirtuallyHere Mon 12-Nov-12 10:48:21

~ Is is best to forward plan or stagger it?

Some forward planning in that around November time it is worth making a list of who needs presents buying/what Santa is going to bring this year.

~ Do you have a Christmas shopping list (and do you check it twice?!)? Or do you battle your way through the high street on Christmas Eve?

A Christmas shopping list generally. And avoid the high street in Christmas Eve like the plague.

~ What are your Christmas shopping top tips? What about food shopping (snapped up that Ocado slot yet? )

We use our Nectar points and go shopping normally a couple of days before. As our Sainsburys store is 7 minutes walk away and they only now shut Christmas/Boxing Day I dont' see the need to stockpile lots of food.

~ Whatever your Christmas preparations involve, we want to hear about it.

Gifts will come from online and local shops (I like to try to support local businesses where possible). Xmas cards and wrapping paper ordered from charity this year. Xmas cards will start being written at the beginning of December and presents wrapped as we buy them (to save spending Xmas eve doing it).

~ Is is best to forward plan or stagger it?
I try and save throughout the year and tend to buy most things November/December, but I do buy wrapping paper, cards and gift tags in January when they are reduced a lot.

~ Do you have a Christmas shopping list (and do you check it twice?!)? Or do you battle your way through the high street on Christmas Eve?
I do have a list but do anything to avoid shopping on Christmas Eve apart from some fresh food items. I buy as much online as possible.

~ What are your Christmas shopping top tips? What about food shopping (snapped up that Ocado slot yet? )
We have a traditional Christmas dinner. I buy as much as possible the week before but always end up going for last minute fresh things on Christmas Eve. I always promise myself I will get it delivered but then get jittery incase it isnt delivered!

~ Whatever your Christmas preparations involve, we want to hear about it.
We plan the day to keep the young children occupied - save presents for them to open in the afternoon when everyone has eaten dinner and they are getting bored. I prepare by making lists and crossing things off as they get done. I have bought most of my presents now and I love the feeling that I wont be battling through shops the week before Christmas finding presents. Online shopping is a godsend too, if it can be bought online it is!

Cambam2010 Tue 13-Nov-12 09:48:48

I always intend to shop early but inevitably leave it to the last minute.

I do as much of my gift shopping online to avoid the hustle and bustle of towns and shopping centres, esp with a toddler in tow.

My best tip, and one that I manage to follow year after year, is- Always get yourself invited round to a relatives house for Christmas dinner! This cuts down on a lot of the preparation work ;-)

My biggest problem this year is getting my 2 year old to says his Nativety lines "I bring Myrrh" at the right spot in the play...

shriekingnora Tue 13-Nov-12 14:38:24

Eat at everyone else's houses (if you're invited of course!). Shop onlin eduring October half term. Start Christmas cards at least two weeks before you think you need to.

badger01 Tue 13-Nov-12 14:49:57

I find buying small bargain gifts for stocking fillers as I find them from September onwards and stashing them away takes the pressure off the December rush for presents. Also the cost is them spread through several months and not in one hit.

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