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NOW CLOSED Share your top tips on how to make Christmas run smoothly with Clas Ohlson and be in with a chance of winning a £50 voucher

(102 Posts)
TheOtherHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-Nov-12 17:36:55

The household goods retailer Clas Ohlson would like to hear your best advice and pearls of wisdom about how to make your Christmas run smoothly.

If you're not familiar with Clas Ohlson (and even if you are!) please do check out their pages on Mumsnet. Here are a few words from them: "Clas Ohlson sells thousands of useful products that aim to make everyday life easier. With Christmas just around the corner, we know that now's the time to get organised, which is where we can help!"

How do you approach Christmas? With a Zen-like calm and festive cheer? Or with an impending sense of doom and dread?

If you host Christmas, how do you stay organised and keep your home from turning into a tip? If you head elsewhere for Christmas, how do you make sure you take everything you need and don't forget essential pressies etc?

Please do share your advice and top tips for avoiding Christmas disasters and making the festive season run smoothly. Everyone who posts their comments on this thread will be entered into a prize draw to win a £50 Clas Ohlson voucher.

Clas Ohlson are also running a competition on MN - if you'd like to enter, please click here.

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw!
MNHQ

NotQuintAtAllOhNo Thu 15-Nov-12 22:26:04

Can I just say, I love Clas Ohlson.

Seeing them in Kingston just makes me think I am in Norway. grin

GetKnitted Thu 15-Nov-12 22:43:54

Be organised (erm, of course) but don't forget, the supermarket will be open again in 2 days, so no need to panic buy! smile

Emmysmum2010 Thu 15-Nov-12 22:53:16

Christmas for us is alternated each year between both sets of parents. In 7 years living away from home I've yet to cook and cater for the Christmas dinner - this saves money too as I don't need to buy a turkey etc until after boxing day when they ate cheaper smile

We see both sets of parents, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon for dinner.

A pen & paper is always at hand to write down which gifts are from who and the mess is all left behind at Nanny & Grandad's house

I think some people get a bit more worked up about it than they need to. Basically for us it means some visitors, a big meal, some presents and just some "trimmings" (decorations, stockings, Christmassy music etc), but most of those aren't really that hard to sort... The most important thing is to have a nice time together, and that's easier when you are not all stressed about getting everything just like in a magazine, but more laid-back about it all. I think the hardest bits are present shopping, and clearing out the spare rooms (full of junk) ready for visitors. The rest of it, with a little bit of planning and prep, shouldn't really be that bad.

ArcticRoll Fri 16-Nov-12 08:04:15

I have large extended family so we agree only to buy presents for children and grand- parents only.
I host Christmas Day but usually only seven of us .
However when I meet up with my side of family there is over twenty so we book a meal in a restaurant so nobody has to stress about catering.
I book an an online supermarket delivery - couple of days before Xmas- then if they miss anything from order I still have time to stock up.
I always book leave for days preceding Xmas so I am organised before children break up so can enjoy the build up to Xmas rather than panic and stress.

Ahardyfool Fri 16-Nov-12 09:22:54

Don't go mental and hallucinate that you have turned into a Craft Queen. It may sound like a good idea to have homemade xmas cake, pudding, screen printed wrapping paper and embroidered monogrammed stockings for your children, but really it isn't.

Also, never ever plan to peek chestnuts.

Oh, and buy trifle sponges and marzipan NOW, better still in July.

Ahardyfool Fri 16-Nov-12 09:26:37

Peel not peek

Kendodd Fri 16-Nov-12 09:40:23

Christmas is easy.

Shopping is done on line, they'll often even wrap it for you. Food delivered on the 23rd so we have enough time for a last minute trip to the shops if anything was unavailable.

Part of Christmas lunch in frozen in advance- potatoes and parsnips are par boiled then frozen so that they can just go straight in hot fat from the freezer. Mashed carrots and swede, also frozen and microwaved when needed. Mince pies also frozen in advance, pudding made late autumn. Brussels sprouts, red cabbage and pigs in blankets all prepared the evening before so that they just need cooking. And I always do a cold (easy) starter.

I put the children's stocking presents all in plastic bags as I get things, one bag each, so that they can just be decanted into stockings on Christmas eve, no sorting needed.

flamingtoaster Fri 16-Nov-12 13:51:56

We have our first full Christmas meal by candlelight on Christmas Eve (we started doing this when the children were tiny so I could really enjoy Christmas morning without worrying about the turkey). We all dress up and there is still a wonderful sense of anticipation.

Christmas morning stockings can be opened anytime after 5.00 am, tree presents can only be opened after breakfast has been eaten and washed up. List is made of who sent what as it is opened. After church we have a light lunch and then another full Christmas meal by candlelight in the evening.

I start looking for the following year's Christmas presents in the January sales and try to have everything bought by the beginning of December.

RedKites Fri 16-Nov-12 14:27:18

I find lots of lists make me feel more organised in the run up to Christmas. Although the really important bit is getting things on the lists done, rather than, for example, delaying buying presents in case I spot something better nearer the time. I'm still working on that bit...

I've been collecting presents in sales and as I've seen them since August but as usual, I've bought too much for DSis who is easily pleased!
I think buying the rest now in November is the best plan, certainly not waiting till the last minute. dD is 2 and so isn't bothered about volume or cost yet, do she'll be getting some jan sale bargains smile

Himalaya Fri 16-Nov-12 16:06:31

Don't read magazines.
Avoid department stores.
Generally don't overload the day with expectations.
Buy some presents, but don't go overboard.
Decorate but don't feel like you are trying to create a winter wonderland in your house.
Make xmas dinner, its only a big roast.
Don't cook things that are traditional but you know no one likes.
Drink brandy. enjoy.

we do christmas eve at mine, breakfast at my siblings house and parents in the afternoon (all of us are at each - madness really).

lists of who is getting what, then wrap them and put them in big bags (finally the endless charity bags that come through my door come in handy) for each household so i know which ones are going where.

it is a bit exhausting to be honest. in between the morning/lunchtime bit and the late afternoon bit we come home and have an hour or two to chill out but ds can't chill as he knows more presents are waiting at grannies house.

i have it easy really as i don't host anything formal or demanding - i make christmas eve a casual affair with something like beef stew and mash that is tasty but easy to serve and most of the work can be done beforehand. i don't have to serve much alcohol as most of my family is driving to midnight mass afterwards and as i have a little house everyone is eating wherever they can find space - most on their laps.

i don't think i could pull off a formal christmas day and as there is just ds and i at home it would be a bit sad to do it on our own and he'd miss the rest of the family. sometimes i dream of how nice it would be to not have to go to three venues and have every minute accounted for but in reality it's nice and it has become our tradition. worst part is at my parents as they always argue and make things really stressy. trick is to breathe and not rise to any of it. alcohol flows generously through necessity.

BettySuarez Fri 16-Nov-12 20:10:41

When our children were teeny we used to save Christmas dinner until boxing day.

It's sounds strange but it was so much less stressful and meant that we could dedicate the day to the kids instead of stressing in the kitchen. We would have cold meat and pickles Christmas day and full blown dinner on boxing day.

ScorpionQueen Fri 16-Nov-12 22:37:22

Prepare as much food in advance as possible. M & S is your friend.

Don't leave wrapping until Christmas Eve- you will run out of paper/tape/time/patience.

Put the meat in the oven and go for a nice walk (the pub) for an hour to avoid going stir crazy.

Record anything you really wanted to watch in case you miss it.

Have spare batteries ready.

And wine.

CMOTDibbler Sat 17-Nov-12 09:40:35

Its not worth gettingg stressed over, it really isn't.

Personally, I'll be hoiking christmas dinner 80 miles to eat with one person who can barely string 5 words together, has a very poor memory and is forgetting what food is, and another being driven mad by caring for the other. Presents may consist of just about anything, and the house will be filthy.
But they are my parents, and I love them, so it will be great. Its not about the matchy wrapping paper, decorations and faffy food, its about making an effort for those you love.
And then crying in the car after ds has fallen asleep on the way home because you miss the woman your mum once was, and the christmasses past.

ScorpionQueen Sat 17-Nov-12 09:55:55

CMOT you are so right. The important thing is to be with loved ones even if it isn't always the easiest thing. I hope you win the voucher.

Happiestinwellybobs Sat 17-Nov-12 11:17:43

I start buying presents early on and pick up things as they are on offer. If we are hosting Christmas I make sure that my food delivery is booked 3 weeks in advance to give me the best date for perishables, but always anticipate something not being delivered so allow time to nip to shops.

The table is dressed the night before along with any prep that can be done.

Presents are wrapped with a glass of wine in hand and "Love Actually" on the TV so it is not stressful at all - although after a second glass of wine the wrapping isn't quite as neat!

And we book the dog in for a bath and spruce up well in advance so he smells gorgeous smile

justcait Sat 17-Nov-12 17:02:43

My top tip: live on a different continent to both parents and in-laws (requires all presents to be posted by end of Nov, no last minute panic). Then take off to a nice quiet rental house in the country for a week, stock up on food and wine and settle in! No real plans, no real 'traditions', just relaxing. And presents. There must be presents. And some tinsel if I'm feeling organised grin.

androbbob Sat 17-Nov-12 18:37:26

Lists and more lists. Only now not on paper as kids can read but on password protected file on pc.

Also got a free gift list app on phone so planned who to buy for and budget. Then add items and cost when purchased. Easy to seee at a glance who is left to buy for.

Trills Sat 17-Nov-12 20:26:13

How to avoid Christmas disaster - don't expect people who don't usually get on to magically be the best of friends because "it's Christmas".

mumnosbest Sat 17-Nov-12 21:08:36

Make sure you stock up on batteries, xmas light bulbs,cellotape. Keep spare wrapping paper for the present you forgot to wrap and have a loaf of bread and pint of milk in the freezer for when you run out.

mumnosbest Sat 17-Nov-12 21:11:18

I hope CMOT wins the voucher too and buys something nice for her mum n dad and a big box of tissues for herself x

Jux Sun 18-Nov-12 10:49:05

Tbh, I have no idea how we have a calm Xmas, but we do. I suppose it's mainly because we've done it for 13 years and so we just know.

Terribly unhelpful, I'm afraid.

Oh, this might be it! We do Xmas lunch on Boxing Day. This isn't in order to add to the calm, but simply so I don't have to think about timings on Xmas Day, so then I can do prolonged opening of presents, have a glass of champagne etc, along with everyone else. We have a Smorgasbord of Yumminess on which we all graze all day. It also means that anyone can drop by on Xmas day and have drinks and food.

We do tree and wrapping presents on Xmas Eve, so it's a big flurry of excitement and anticipation. Everyone gets stockings.

happybubblebrain Sun 18-Nov-12 11:13:08

Eat out on Christmas day.
Buy gifts throughout the year when on offer or in sales.
Buy all cards, wrapping paper, crackers etc in the January sales.
Aim to have all presents bought and wrapped by the end of November.
Don't buy too much.
Have a spreadsheet for cards, presents and food and just update each year.
Relax and enjoy December while everyone else runs around like crazy people.

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