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Weighing up the "How Early is Too Early" with "Leaving It Too Late"

(28 Posts)
70isaLimitNotaTarget Sun 06-Nov-16 17:04:11

I like to plan Christmas , IMO it's half the fun.
But I don't want to have it all done by the start of December. I like the last minute shopping trips when its truely Christmassey. The lights, the cold, the anticipation looking for the right present.

But, today, DH said "D'you want to buy some mince pies" , I said "No, too early"
To which he replies "Not according to the Tesco advert" ..........fhmm It's an Advert .

I haven't bought wrapping paper , I'm looking for boxes (but I might not find them)
I haven't bought a Christmas Jumper (they're wafting into the shops now though)
I haven't made my cake (but I made two puddings last year so I'm ahead there)

I want it all done (presents) by mid Dec , then my Big Shopping for Food the weekend before.
DS has a December birthday and DD keeps rewriting her list.So no point buying too early for them.
Any last minute fresh veg, milk, bread on the Friday before Christmas.

And I need to stalk the shelves for the Nutella jars with the name voucher.

Last year DD and I went to London on the 23rd and shuddered at the thought of leaving it all till then (Do people actually do this? Like real life Christmas with the Cranks? )

I have my copies of Good Housekeeping and Woman&Home that I'll read and mark off things.
And buy the TV Times when it comes out.

OvO Sun 06-Nov-16 18:22:34

I like to have it all done by the end of November. Then I can mooch about the shops in December buying the occasional impulse item, knowing I don't have to stress or fight crowds for the 'perfect' gift.

Food is easy as we get Indian food so I don't even need to buy or think about anything - just peruse the takeaway menu at my leisure. fgrin

If I do all the stuff that costs ££ early on then there's more time for fun stuff plus any money I have in December can be spent on activities/fun stuff rather than presents.

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Sun 06-Nov-16 18:47:22

I would LOVE to have all presents bought and wrapped up by the end of November! I am often still running around and racking brains in the last 2 weeks of Dec, and have been known to still be wrapping up at midnight on Christmas Eve.
However I have started writing Christmas cards today, and did some shopping yesterday - a few presents out of the way.

I make my own mince pies but will only make the first batch on 1st Dec. They are the trad. small ones - thin pastry and loads of mincemeat - and don't last long with dh around. That is also when I put carols on for the first time. I will make a lot more batches before Christmas!

I make my own puds, but usually not till Dec. I don't know why they tell you to make them way in advance. Mine is an old, traditional recipe but the puds are always relatively light and moist - even people who don't usually like Xmas pud - at least the very dark, dense ones in the shops - usually like mine.
Don't usually put the tree up until at least mid December, and often more like 19th or 20th, so it's still nice and fresh on the day.
Christmas cards will begin to be blu tacked up as soon as they start arriving, though - usually very beginning of December.

PikachuSayBoo Sun 06-Nov-16 18:49:40

I've made my cake.
Bought most of the presents.

I wouldn't start wrapping presents for ages though.
And I wouldn't eat any Xmas food until Xmas eve.

ceeveebee Sun 06-Nov-16 18:51:15

I never start shopping until December and usually end up chasing round trying to find gift tags on Xmas eve

RhinestoneCowgirl Sun 06-Nov-16 18:55:33

I don't enjoy shopping, so I tend to do present buying online in November.

This then means that I can go Christmas 'shopping' in December, which actually translates as me and DH taking a day off work when the DC are in school and mooching about looking at the lights and having a nice lunch somewhere. grin

Wrapping presents can wait until nearer the time, usually an evening in the school holidays with a festive film on the telly.

MrsMcAvoy Sun 06-Nov-16 19:00:57

I'm with 0v0, I like to get majority out the way before December so that I'm not too stressed out and can take my time with smaller bits and bobs.
I can't stand going shopping when it's busy, but I do enjoy it when it's all festive and Christmassy. So it's nice to just have a potter round and not be desperate to find something

MrsDilligaf Sun 06-Nov-16 20:52:41

If I had to leave it until the last minute I wouldn't enjoy Christmas - I'd be a stressed out, mardy cow and that, frankly, isn't pleasant for anyone.

Presents will be all bought by the end of November. DH's are the exception as I tend to leave his to buy a week beforehand so I am "Christmas Shopping" IYSWIM. They are all wrapped and ready to go at the beginning of December. They are distributed when I go "back home" and any we receive will be kept in a box in the spare room.

Cards are also written and ready to post at the beginning of December. In fact I was going to start writing them today but decided to spend the day playing with my DD grin.

I am planning on making the cake at the weekend so I'll need to measure out the fruit in the next day or so, so that can get all boozy, plump and juicy. I am going to attempt a christmas pudding this year too.

Food shopping wise we have decided to wait until 23rd December until we fall into the "It's Christmas So We're Eating Like Gluttons" trap. The goodies will arrive on 23rd and we usually go back to normal eating habits on 27th. Four days of rich indulgent food is more than enough for us and I've just got rid of my fat ass and last year we threw so much away that I am determined not to do the same this year.

I think in general, you're either the sort of person who enjoys the anticipation and planning or you're not. For me, there's no such thing as too early but leaving it too late would take away the enjoyment of Christmas. fgrin

AlwaysNeverOnTime Mon 07-Nov-16 10:20:32

I'm about 85% done with present shopping. I already know what I need to buy to be finished so I'm basically sorted present wise. I always leave the kids stockings until December as they are my favourite but and I love looking around the shops for buts and pieces that I think they'll like. I do most of the present shopping online.

I haven't brought any wrapping paper as I got loads and loads of 10p rolls after Christmas 2 years ago so I've been using them for the last 2 years and there are still quite a few left! I won't do the wrapping until I've brought all the presents because I'm sad and like to see everyone's 'piles' pre-wrappinggrin I do need to get cards, but I'll be ordering the ones the kids do at school.

I've brought some new garlands that I need to decorate but I'll probably leave that until the day before we put the Christmas decorations up so they don't get ruined. I can't wait to do them as we've been collecting Pine cones ect to put on.

I don't bake and not a great cook so no food prep to do. Food shop will hopefully be booked on 22nd (23rd is my birthday)

I absolutely love the run up to Christmas! Probably more than the day itself.

PatriciaHolm Mon 07-Nov-16 10:28:10

I'm assuming that most people posting in the "Christmas" topic are not those who leave it until Dec 23!

missyB1 Mon 07-Nov-16 10:35:03

I haven't started at all yet and it's the first year that I've left it later. I'm planning on starting at the end of November and just having a shopping frenzy grin I will start baking and food shopping first week of December.

My ds has his birthday in December but I've got that sorted. Bike ordered and party booked.

Cheesynightmare Mon 07-Nov-16 18:29:03

Nice and early for me just in case there's a present disaster or god forbid a turkey nightmare. With everything done I usually pop into Boots and buy 3 for 2 all for myself. smile

heron98 Mon 07-Nov-16 18:38:23

I buy everything online in the first week of Dec, wrap it as soon as it arrives and then I'm done.

I do not go anywhere near the shops until the whole thing's blown over.

BaggyCheeks Mon 07-Nov-16 20:28:26

I like all the presents sorted by the middle of December, but will get them wrapped over the week leading up to.

On Christmas Eve we'll go to my parents' to collect DS's bike.

The only issue I can see with your plan is buying food the weekend before - it'll have a full week to sit before the day. I'll be doing mine on the Friday 23rd.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Mon 07-Nov-16 20:50:21

Ah, the "Week Before" shopping is the pantry/freezer/drinks/things I need to bake with/chocolates/crackers for cheese/wrapped dairy that has a long shelf life.

That'll be using my Nectar Points , then a couple of days before, I'll get the veg, bread, dairy.

DD and I are going out on Saturday to nose round Selfridges,John Lewis, the M&S in Marble Arch.... then she'll drag me round Top Shop and Primark.
I'll make her buy me lunch though fgrin

FreeButtonBee Mon 07-Nov-16 21:08:40

I love Christmas Eve and now that I am a proper grown up, j have to be organised so that I have time to enjoy my Christmas. So I have started to buy gifts, have started to plan meals around Christmas (e.g. Something pre-made for Christmas Eve, out for dinner on 23rd, curry for the 29th once everyone has gone!)

Plan is to wrap everything the weekend before Christmas, do a big boring crap online grocery shop the weekend before as well so that the Christmas Eve delivery is not so enormous and is just fresh stuff.

I have mincemeat for 2 years ago so will have to make some pastry. I have pudding from last year too so that's fine. Need to make a Christmas cake but it's not a boozy one so can make it in December.

DH will do cards.

Then hopefully Christmas week will involve me swanning about getting fresh flowers and handmade chocolates and a manicure. Ha!

d270r0 Mon 07-Nov-16 21:30:51

I like to have the majority of it bought by the end of November. I will pick up bits earlier in the year as I see them but get most of it in October/November.

December is always so busy and so much to do but I enjoy wrapping so leave that until December when I have everything, then do it in sessions in the evenings.

ChristmasEvePJs Mon 07-Nov-16 23:38:14

I only have to get presents for parents and grandparents then I am done. DH and I go 'christmas shopping' mid December but that really involves champagne lunch and a squiffy purchase of an 'extra' gift for each DC and a NYE party dress for me.

Everything will be wrapped by December 11th. I like to enjoy baking, watching films, festive outings etc. Finish work on the 16th so can food shop child free too!

SpringerS Tue 08-Nov-16 10:07:57

I like to get everything done throughout the year so there is nothing I 'have' to do in December, just things I want to do. The only exception is that last year I started what will be a tradition of me making some of DS's Santa gifts. Last year it was customised action figures as some of the characters he wanted didn't exist. This year I'm making him another figure and some customised Cars as he's seen them on youtube and would love them.

I only do that crafting in December. I like to sit at my kitchen table after he's gone to bed, get all my tools out, play Christmas FM and get to work. I just love the feeling of being a real life elf and making him something that only he will have.

HungryHorace Tue 08-Nov-16 10:19:54

That's lovely, Springer!

I want to be done by the time December starts on the present-buying. And I want to be organised with wrapping too this year.

I finish work on 16th but have a trip to the Lakes and one to my parents to fit in during the week before Christmas. We will get back from my parents on 21st, at which point I'll go into food delivery / collection mode as well as making mince pies etc (we make do with shop-bought until I finish work!).

I've started to love Christmas again since having kids, so I'm excited to get going with making it special for them (the oldest will be 3.6 at Christmas so really gets it this year).

AmyAmoeba Tue 08-Nov-16 13:03:15

Since having the kids December has inevitably been the month of colds, flus, tummy bugs, accidents, falls and hospitalisations fsmile So this year October is for shopping, November is for crafting, wrapping, writing cards, and decluttering and December is for decorating, baking with the kids, and snuggling with DVDs.

Dionysuss Tue 08-Nov-16 13:28:19

I started Christmas shopping ridiculously early this year, I'm now finished. In previous years I went shopping with my sister in mid December and got everything in one long, tiring day. There are now too many to shop for and I dread the crowds.

I refuse to wrap anything until December though. Our tree goes up on the first weekend then I'll find a quiet weekday morning, put on some Michael Bouble and have a wrapping marathon.

Lovemusic33 Tue 08-Nov-16 14:24:45

I am trying to hold back a bit this year in hope to spend less, I usually finish by the end of November and then spent December buying things I don't actually need. I have bought a couple things but not much yet this year, I bought some wrapping paper last weekend but not gone crazy yet.

girlywhirly Tue 08-Nov-16 16:36:29

I have wrapping paper, Christmas cards, some presents and stocking fillers, and the meat is ordered. I'm planning the food, and will do some items in advance for the freezer. Will do internet ordering of presents we can only get online. Going better than some years!

BiddyPop Tue 08-Nov-16 16:53:40

I am working on the present buying, as I have a looong list of recipients and want to make my €s stretch to things they would love, not just a generic toiletry set. I have already accepted that this year is not the "Year of Homemade" that had been planned (nor was last year, despite my plans - I have loads of projects in bags to make!). DH actually purchased the main Santa item this morning, and I have the stocking sorted. DD's birthday is Boxing Day, but she got her present early this year (a bicycle - she grew, a lot, and also had cycling safety lessons in school as well as cycling to school - so she got it in late September). Overall, I am about halfway there on the presents.

I have my Limoncello steeping, and hopefully will bottle that shortly. I have a batch of mincemeat that I made last year to use this year (see above about last year's disaster of a season!). I am hoping to get some bit of decent weather this weekend when "down home" to pick sloes, for sloe gin.

I had 2 business trips in the past 3 weeks, so I have about 3/4 of my Christmas cards written. What else are you going to do on a 2 hour flight, the report of the meeting is for the following day in work not late evening travels?! fgrin I still have a handful to do but that's ok. I also used those trips to acquire a bunch of nice Belgian chocolate for hosting people for DD's birthday in the cottage we're renting.

I have checked my wrapping supplies. I have plenty of ribbon but need paper and tags. So I need to do that soon.

I have bought the PJs for Christmas Eve - DH and mine today, as it happens! DDs I got in a sale in January.

This year, we are travelling so no need to do lots of advance prep at home. Yes, we will decorate (the fake tree due to travels), and have some treats in for when we are home, and decent meals for the manic days of December. If we were at home, I would have bought the nice wine for the turkey dinner for ourselves by now (I do that in September) and be starting on gathering "party wine" for a few gatherings over the season. I have bought gluten free treats as some of those coming for DD's birthday are GF.

December is normally manic in our house. Work is bananas busy for both DH and I, and usually includes a few foreign trips. DD has a bunch of extra activities as most hold some sort of party. I have to organize the party for the Cub Scouts. We have DD's birthday to arrange. And a few work and friend's gatherings of our own to get to as well. I also want to get to at least 1 purely musical seasonal event too for my own enjoyment. Along with a family history of someone coming down with something, to knock us off-kilter, or the weather mis-behaving. So I try to have as much of the "preparations for Christmas" work done by 1st December. I try to do a "Thanksgiving" dinner on Thanksgiving or that weekend as well.

The decorations only go up in December (or maybe the very last weekend of November). The Advent Calendar, fleece blanket, Christmas cups and glasses, and Christmas books and movies - all come home from the storage unit for 1st December and get put into use from then. I may buy presents early, but only wrap in December (often on some of DH's nights out, once DD is in bed with either a cheesy movie or some classic Christmas music on to enjoy as I work).

DD gets a "shopping trip" into town one afternoon after school in December - using public transport and with me having no shopping to do, just help her buy her things, go see the "Live Crib", and enjoy a hot chocolate and people-watching stop together.

If we are cooking the meal, I do the shopping a couple of days ahead. In person. If we are not, I try to use internet shopping to avoid supermarkets that week. Or get things in the M&S near work early in the mornings before it gets manic. I work very near some main shopping streets so I can run in and grab a few things easily, and enjoy the atmosphere, on lunchbreaks - without the pressure of having to get everything all in 1 trip.

I have already conducted some market research though on shop-made mince pies this season - I started with the M&S gold box (stupidly - can't go backwards now) and can reveal they are LUSH!! I am rubbish at pastry so my own versions are the Jus-rol giant vol-au-vent cases with HM mincemeat spooned into them and then reheated.

The week before Christmas though does need a couple of evenings marked out for cookie making - DD brings cookies for her class, another activity class, and teachers. And there is the school fair that needs baked goods too. A new type of cookie last year was particularly labour intensive but exceedingly well received and I have already been asked (by classmates!) to make those again. And while some years DD has the time and energy to bake from scratch for Santa on Christmas Eve, I always make sure that there's a half a log of cookie dough in the freezer so we can just "slice and bake" if necessary, which means a different batch being prepared at some point. So that will all keep me busy too.

The last few days includes a food shopping trip, a trip to the cheesemongers near me at work (looooong queues form there), Leonidas near work (ditto), getting logs for the fire, generally visiting the butcher, often getting to the fishmonger etc. I don't have an allotment anymore - so at least I don't have to go harvest the sprouts like I did for a few years!

I really love going into work on Christmas Eve, to eat chocolates and visit other offices, then bring DD to meet DH (he has an early coffee waiting for us) and buy DD's birthday cake in M&S, any other nibbles etc we need, and any last minute presents, get a nice lunch and head home. DH makes the stuffing, DD makes Santa's cookies, and I prep the veggies and potatoes (DH helps once the stuffing is done). We have a nice dinner together and do the Christmas Eve candle, then hamper for everyone and DD lays out her stocking before a bath and bed - when DH and I relax for a couple of hours.

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