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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

maximum4 Tue 13-Nov-12 16:31:23

Top Christmas Tip - Give everyone money (kids, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles etc...)!! Then you have no Christmas presents that are unwanted, you save money and you are Eco friendly! i.e. less postage miles, less wrapping, less petrol (doing the shopping!) - All very Bah Humbug I know!!

Blatherskite Tue 13-Nov-12 21:01:13

I try to have all my Christmas shopping done before the end of November and I do the majority of it online. I hate the crush of the shopping centre near to Christmas so try to avoid it at all costs. Online tends to be cheaper too. I always have a list else I end up forgetting what I've bought and over-buying or panicing.

We've signed up for the Tesco delivery saver this year so I should get first dibs on the Christmas delivery slots for our food but to be honest by then, it'll only be the fresh bits to get anyway as I'll have stockpiled everything else - this is when having a spare freezer in the garage comes in very handy.

pleasestoparguing Tue 13-Nov-12 21:26:31

DON'T
-leave all the wrapping till Xmas eve - you will burn your lovely relaxed Xmas Eve meal and not get to bed till shortly before the DC wake up
- leave the turkey in the freezer till Xmas Eve evening it will take till lunchtime the next day to defrost
-think that DH will 'just know' what to do - you will have to give clear instructions maybe get him to repeat it back to be sure
DO
just remember that if the DC are happy then Xmas is perfect - as that is all that matters - they will remeber the fun and the presents not whether or not the table decorations matched the crackers.

GetKnitted Tue 13-Nov-12 21:45:28

my [unhelpful] advice, stay calm, it's only 1 day out of 365, there's plenty of other days to do a full roast dinner and give things to people if you'd rather relax on 25th December

hytheliz Tue 13-Nov-12 21:48:42

I have been slowly doing my xmas shopping since September and it's definitely the best way to grab bargains as they come up, avoid the stress of last minute shopping and get thoughtful gifts. I mix it up by doing lots of shopping online as well as picking up random bits as I see them in the High Street. My top tip is just to be organised and not leave things to the last minute.

ICutMyFootOnOccamsRazor Tue 13-Nov-12 23:27:43

~ Is is best to forward plan or stagger it?
I think a bit of both so that it doesn't always rush up and make the last couple of weeks totally manic. I enjoy wrapping presents etc quite close to the day, though.

~ 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?
Without a list I would be totally sunk. I would probably buy 15 things for one person and miss 2 others off completely. I need to keep track of what's been bought and what I have left to buy.

~ What are your Christmas shopping top tips? What about food shopping (snapped up that Ocado slot yet? )
I try NOT to food shop at the last second, but if I do need things during ther last couple of days (inevitable), I race out super early and get to the shop as it's opening. It's the only time of day that it's a)relatively well stocked and b)not utter hell.

renaldo Wed 14-Nov-12 11:11:49

My top tip is dont do your internet shop with sainsburys
Despite having ordered 6 weeks in advance they turned up on chrismas eve with no turkey for me
'out of stock' apparently
never shopped with them again
I ove Ocado now

JustFabulous Wed 14-Nov-12 11:31:42

Blu you will have to check that none of the families have lost or added a relative though.

CalmingMiranda Wed 14-Nov-12 11:35:06

I have changed my mind about early preparations!

Panicked by MN I started my Xmas shopping early.
Now I have had better ideas for things people want or have heard them mention an ideal pesent, and one person I have already bought for has declared they do not want ANY presents. Gah!

JugglingWithPossibilities Wed 14-Nov-12 18:43:31

I try to keep Christmas as simple as possible & enjoy all the lovely free bits like the DC's School carol concert in the Cathedral, or their nativity plays when they were younger.

I'm hoping to make a nut roast this year as shop ones not always so good, and my top tip to myself this year is to buy in some quality accompaniments like bread sauce, cranberry sauce, stuffing, & veggie gravy. DH does a sterling job of preparing and cooking Christmas lunch (team effort) but he does go a bit crazy for his packet mixes ... stuffing/ gravy/ bread sauce etc. I'm hoping to upgrade these without him noticing too much !

Second tip is to shop on-line and ask advice on Mumsnet pressie threads - everyone so helpful and kind. Make sure tissues are to hand though as kindness of strangers apt to bring a tear to the eye in the Christmas season grin

HannahLI Wed 14-Nov-12 18:58:43

So presents wise I have been shopping all year as I see things and I just have a few to do. Planning for me is key and I usually do a mix of food ordering from the butchers, delivery slot and I send my dh if we have to go to the shop. This year we are sharing Christmas lunch with my parents so that takes some of the strain off. My top tip is think ahead with Christmas lunch as stuffing balls and sausages wrapped in bacon can be made weeks before and then frozen saving you time! Just remember to defrost them with your turkey!

I try to wrap each present as I go when buying.

Cook in advance and freeze as much as you can for the big day.

carovioletfizz Wed 14-Nov-12 20:24:38

I start buying stuff in January - go into your local charity shops and you'll find a whole load of unwanted Xmas gifts that people have dropped off.

I start buying in earnest in July - just a few things each month, then you don't get a shock when it comes to December!

Always leave buying things for children between 5-18 till last as they do change their minds about what they want - nothing worse than spending a fortune on something in October only to be told in December they don't want it any more!

StainlessSteelCat Wed 14-Nov-12 20:27:03

Even if you don't buy the presents until the last minute (despite swearing blind every year you'll get more organised next year) do work out what you want to buy people - it makes the last minute dash round the shops that little bit less traumatic! I now keep Amazon wish lists for the children updated throughout the year, so come xmas I can just order on line for them.

Top tip for on line shopping: cultivate your neighbours, it'll save you hours and hours if they can take in your deliveries grin.

For the food shopping, I make a big list in early December. I buy the stuff that'll keep early. I do a veg/fruit shop in the final week. And a replacement alcohol shop because we've necked it all.

I always try to be organised about wrapping but other things get in the way, so me and DP end up on xmas eve doing a marathon wrap. It's kind of fun though - make sure we do the kids stocking first so we don't' get too drunk to put them in the right place!

goingmadinthecountry Wed 14-Nov-12 20:47:40

Find the old GH recipe for Christmas Pudding vodka and make it about 6 weeks before - uses up all the daft Christmas Pudding leftovers and tastes yum.

I keep 4 bags in my wardrobe and wrap and put stocking presents in there as I get them. I make a list for each and use different paper for each child just in case. This is very useful if like us last year your 6 - 8 drinks and nibbles people stay till very late and you drink too much wine and forget to eat!

Under a different name many years ago, I recommended chopping veg and putting them in plastic bags and using disposable roasting trays Nigella style. I was annihilated for my anti-planet saving advice. I still do it, just on this one day. Less washing up = more fun time. So shoot me.

goingmadinthecountry Wed 14-Nov-12 20:49:49

Oh, and only go to Waitrose after mid December. Tesco is hell.

bryonywhisker Thu 15-Nov-12 18:44:56

My top tip is to put the sprouts onto steam the day prior to Christmas Eve. keep topping up the water if it runs dry and they will be perfect by lunchtime on the big day itself.

JugglingWithPossibilities Thu 15-Nov-12 19:13:22

You are joking there Bryony ? grin

Sounds like a tip from my old school dinner ladies wink - nice, mushy tender sprouts !

Gosh, I hope you're not serious, and going to be terribly offended blush

Puppypoppet Fri 16-Nov-12 09:48:05

My top christmas tip is to do food shopping off peak - say 9pm onwards or really early in the morning. Shelves have usually been restocked and it is much quieter. Also for my Christmas food shop rather than go to Mr Ts I head to waitrose or sainsburys - again much quieter shop and the food shop is more interesting as don't usually shop there. If I need anything last minute rather than head into the city I go to a nearby market town and shop there - find it less stressful.
I have 2 Christmas shopping lists one for food and the other for gifts - I aim to get gifts bought by early December and food shopping done 2-3 days before Christmas Eve. I buy the vast majority of gifts online as there are much better deals - cashback and discount codes and usually free delivery.
I like to spend christmas eve at home - definitely not a day to venture out to the shops.

mummybrained Fri 16-Nov-12 13:01:50

I love xmas shopping online, as I don't get side-tracked by all the sparkly tatt in the shops. But my tip is do one 'window-shop' of the major shops and brands, especially with gadgets, books and toys, so that you see them in the flesh before going online to get the best price. There's nothing worse than thinking you've got xmas sewn up, then it all arrives in the post and looks flimsy and cheap!

JugglingWithPossibilities Fri 16-Nov-12 16:47:35

I think I've had a pretty good day of on-line shopping thanks to other thread - the bargains one. I think it's def less hassle, and less easy to get distracted by tat. But yes, I'd probably mix it with a bit of RL tat shopping too grin
Last year I got lots on-line and then enjoyed going to our local Notcutts one afternoon to get extra little bits for stockings. It was a rather expensive trip for nothing much - except maybe a bit of Christmas magic and sparkle plus chocolate grin - but it felt better knowing it was a tat stocking trip and nothing more smile

rosiesmartypants Sat 17-Nov-12 04:17:15

The one thing I do every year is start putting money on giftcards in the summer (normally Asda and Boots), and add to them each month as I get paid, using them like a 'savings' card....then use them to go Christmas shopping with at the end of November. I also divert all my ClubCard rewards to the Tesco Christas Savings club for the same purpose.

Doesn't cover off everything, but certainly helps a whole lot grin

Bosgrove Sat 17-Nov-12 17:29:13

If you like fresh homemade mince pies warm from the oven for your Christmas tea, what you can do is make the pastry early. Roll them out and put and fill them your pies as usual in your pie tin. Then wrap the whole tin in cling film and freeze uncooked. When you want to eat them, cook them straight from the freezer adding a couple of extra minutes to the cooking time.
I have bought lots of cheap extra pie tins just for doing this every year as it is so much cheaper and nicer than buying mince pies.

Cantharellus Sun 18-Nov-12 09:35:42

This year we are hellishly skint, so I am in complete denial.
I have done perfect Christmases in the past and everything in between.
I refuse to beat myself up over anything.

My teenage son told me yesterday his favourite thing about Christmas is a) the stoccking full of silly things and b) chilling in front of silly films with us.

So we can do that! And it won't cost the earth. And we will all feel better for not having hyped everything up to the max for 5 hours of one day in the year.

Punkatheart Sun 18-Nov-12 20:32:41

I am loving some of these tips!

Is is best to forward plan or stagger it?

I pick up things throughout the year. Sometimes they don't make it to Christmas and they are used as emergency birthday presents. But I am in the January sales...picking up all kinds of Christmassy stuff, to pack away.

Do you have a Christmas shopping list (and do you check it twice?!)?

I tend not to do official lists except for my daughter, who writes her own. No Christmas Eve madness for me. I don't like crowds or panic.

What are your Christmas shopping top tips?
What about food shopping

I hate all the sweets at Christmas...I am sick of them in November. I buy loads of fruit and veg. I never panic buy, but I do pick up things a week before and take it easy.

I think it's a case of being 'What's the worst that can happen?'

I make up hampers, I write stories for small relatives. I don't lose sight of the fact that Christmas should be fun!(snapped up that Ocado slot yet? )
~ Whatever your Christmas preparations involve, we want to hear about it.

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