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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:

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,


DioneTheDiabolist Wed 07-Nov-12 11:10:45

My top Christmas Tip is:
Open all the presents carefully. Remove the plastic tags, insert batteries/put toy together (if needed) and check that it works. Then put it back into the packaging and wrap. This saves hours of faffing about and annoyance on Christmas morning when I have better things to do than struggling with white plastic tags.angry

I also have spare stockings so I can fill one in advance and then swop it for the empty one.

My Christmas Eve is so relaxed now. Put DS to bed, eat my Christmas Eve feast, drink sherry and then just put all the pressies under the tree and swop the stocking before I go to bed.

gazzalw Wed 07-Nov-12 11:12:11

Ashamed to say that I leave it just about all up to DW and she is ace at forward-planning, although this year she rather took her eye off the ball and is very much regretting it!

She does have a Christmas shopping list for food/drink and associated Chritmassy stuff. She tends to start early with stockpiling the nice, non-essential foodie things as it's quite often the case that if you leave until the last minute shops have run out or put the prices up no-end! Also, when she's mooching around different supermarkets and shops she just looks out for special stuff which is a bit different from our 11-months-of-the-year-fare....

Focus early on the stuff that you know you'll need (stamps, wrapping paper, cards, sellotape and all the food/drink bits which can be stored) and only set forth present shopping when you've got a half-decent wish list to follow. Absolutely no point (or worth the expense) floating aimlessly around the shops when they're heavingly busy. If you do need to do 'browsing' pressie shopping,try to do it in November before the crowds get unbearable - you are less likely to make rash and expensive choices/mistakes which you then regret.

Or my top tip...delay Christmas until New Year by which time you will have had the opportunity to benefit from the Sales and can appear much more generous with your pressies ;-).

Also, if you are prepared to be flexible and have the nerve, it really is worth while hanging around the supermarkets on Christmas Eve just before closing time for some super-duper foodie bargains. I wouldn't however advocate doing it unless you have 'reserves' in the freezer though....

Bah humbug (only joking!)

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 07-Nov-12 11:19:27

Oops, I forgot to say, sort the toys out a week in advance, not crimbo eve.blush.

It's even better if you do it with friends and wine.grin

InMySpareTime Wed 07-Nov-12 11:20:49

I pick up presents throughout the year, and save up my Amazon vouchers, so by November I'm pretty much done buying presents.
Christmas dinner is just a roast with kilted sausages, I pop to my local butchers a few days before Christmas to get supplies, comes to about £10 including a small chicken, to see us through to about the 28th.
Stockings have useful stuff I would have bought anyway, such as toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, pants, woolly socks, slippers etc. as well as a bag of marshmallows and a carton of drink to keep them quiet until at least 7am.
Pyjamas "appear" on DCs pillows while they're at the Christmas Eve christingle service, so they look presentable for morning photos.
I keep Amazon vouchers back for emergency presents and new year birthdays, as Amazon's sales start on Christmas Day.

SiameseIfYouPlease Wed 07-Nov-12 17:02:27

I always get Xmas wrapping and tags in the jan sales, and pack it away with the decs. Also Xmas themed PJs and socks super cheap, a size bigger for nx Xmas too.

I start buying bits and bobs in Aug sales, and never have list so DD and my little DSis end up with mountains of things!! I'm trying not to do that this year..

We save up our nectar points for our Xmas shop, and always have a Xmas eve spicy ham and jackets before church. It's nice to have something other than the turkey lefts overs on boxing day!!

And we've made a pledge to keep video records of DDs xmas's

glitch Wed 07-Nov-12 17:25:35

I start shopping in November but leave the wrapping until closer to Christmas. I have lists about lists and then more lists.
Food wise, I usually have a delivery for the dull stuff and then go shopping myself too.

aJumpedUpPantryBoy Wed 07-Nov-12 18:00:30

I have a spreadsheet where I keep a list of possible gifts for friends and family. That way if someone mentions something they want/like early in the year I can make a note of it as a possible gift.

I buy stuff throughout the year (referring to the spreadsheet blush)

I love wrapping presents. In December my craft room becomes a wrapping room and I wrap and label everything during the first week. This means that any stuff that has to be delivered/posted can be done with time to spare

I order my food online, (apart from the meat which I get at the buthers) but don't have my delivery on Christmas Eve, that way if there is some kind of delivery disaster or something is missing I can pop out and get it.

Doogle2 Wed 07-Nov-12 18:02:18

I do as much food prep as possible on Christmas Eve. I invite my mum over and we have a glass of wine whilst chopping and peeling. This means less time in the kitchen on the actual day and has turned into a nice tradition for us (also makes me feel less guilty as its my husband who does the cooking on the day so I feel I've helped!)

pushitreallgood Wed 07-Nov-12 18:04:06

i start shopping for christmas really early say in august to stagger the costs. i also order the meat from my local butchers and go and pick it up early christmas eve so i dont have to worry about any where running out or defrosting etc. i like to shop for the other food stuff myself so i can pick out what i am getting. i wrap the pressies as i go so as not to be left with a massive job the night before. and always try to have a few back ups as i always seem to forget some ones child. i always have a list of people i need to get for and cross them ff as and when they have been got for.

Hotchillipepper Wed 07-Nov-12 21:20:53

I write everyones names down i have to buy for, and plan what to get, so i dont go over budget. I start buying pressies in September to stagger the cost, then I look in as many shops/ websites possible to look for bargains. We have family abroad so we have to buy early, we have to be prepared. Everything's wrapped in December with music playing so we feel all Christmassy. Luckily I have not had to do Christmas dinner yet smile

lorisparkle Wed 07-Nov-12 22:15:20

Is is best to forward plan or stagger it?

Since having children I am now much more a planner and a buyer of a few things at a time from when the bits come into the shops

~ 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?

Have a list and this year have bought all major presents already - ordered online and then checked. My family have a traditional shopping trip where we take my Dad to buy my mums presents.

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

Little and often is how I organise it.

notactuallyme Wed 07-Nov-12 22:23:41

My top tip; buy for everyone you buy for in the same house at the same time. Then wrap it and gift bag it/jiffy bag it for posting. Eg if you buy for granny, do granddad at the same time, wrap them etc. This saves buying little top up presents for granny when you buy for granddad later.
Buy ready filled stockings - really nice on xmas morning to be surprised by what santa left.

prakattack Thu 08-Nov-12 09:13:46

I'm a forward planner, always have been and always will be! I write a list early and pick up bargains whenever I see them.
We've just decided that we're staying at home for Christmas this year though, for the first time ever! So now I have to write a whole new list for the food/ drink - not sure where to start!

CMOTDibbler Thu 08-Nov-12 09:21:04

My top tip is not to get stressed by Christmas. I feel no pressure to produce perfect homemade mincepies etc, especially for school events, have no compunction in telling people that if they do an Amazon wishlist it is strongly in their favour, and don't give a toss about colour co-ordination.

I refuse to do any shopping before December, and we do the food shopping a couple of days before - though I do order a veg box from the farm shop and sometimes meat. No lists grin

TheTempest Thu 08-Nov-12 09:37:17

I don't have any top tips, I just tend to wing it and it seems to come together in the end! I try and get all the presents sorted by December so I'm not panicking, and everyone who comes for christmas at mine pitches in. I'm very lucky really.

Every year I tell myself it's going to be magazine perfect, and then realise I don't have the time or energy for that!

jes73 Thu 08-Nov-12 09:46:24

I beat the queues and the crowds and shop online. Its absolutely worth it as there is more choice online and if you are buying clothes you can be sure that there will be no disappointment with the sizes. Also most stores offer a free store collection so all you need to do is go pick them up.
I start shopping in December and for older nieces and nephews, I get gift cards so they can pick up what they like.
I love Christmas and family and getting together...

skyebluesapphire Thu 08-Nov-12 09:49:58

I always buy wrapping paper in the Jan sales and put it away for the following year.

I buy bits and bobs cheap when I see them and then can make a present by putting several things together.

I also sort out toys by removing all tags and putting batteries etc in then put them back in the box, so that DD can just open the box and take it out.

ArtexMonkey Thu 08-Nov-12 10:00:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrscumberbatch Thu 08-Nov-12 10:15:20

~ Is is best to forward plan or stagger it?
Forward planning AND staggering the costs are the only way that I can have a fun and debt free xmas.

~ 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?
Quite often I'll find what I want to buy online and then go into stores and buy it, so I have a clear idea of what I'm looking for. I start stocking up on bits and pieces early in the year and put them on top of my wardrobe. By the end of the year there's quite a haul and no massive expenditures!
That said, I do still get into a panic and end up in M&S on xmas eve!

~ What are your Christmas shopping top tips? What about food shopping (snapped up that Ocado slot yet? wink)
Food shopping we usually do a few days before xmas to get decent sell by dates. I'm a terrible cook so rely on M&S a lot for many bits and pieces. My xmas food shop top tips are to layer your clothing because it's going to get hot and sweaty and you'll want to cast off everything you're wearing!!
Also, never take a trolley- You'll end up jammed. Give every family member a basket and send them to opposite ends of the store with a list of things to get.

~ Whatever your Christmas preparations involve, we want to hear about it.
The rest of Xmas is all quite relaxed for me, I like giving the house a good clean before I put the decorations up, get the Xmas dvds going as of Dec 1st and every year I do a 'Xmas Craft' thing. Last year I embroidered a stocking for DD, this year I am going technical and I am using a laser cutter to make some personalised acrylic decorations for my family. (Local Maklab- you should definitely check this out!)
Then, it's all plain sailing. To GP's for xmas dinner, everyone over to our house on boxing day for quizzes, silly games and nibbles and then taking at least a few days off of work to hibernate!

MakeTeaNotWar Thu 08-Nov-12 10:36:10

I stagger the preps by picking up gifts throughout the year in sales where possible and by using the daily deals sites. I don't have a list which means I can overbuy for one person and omit another so should get more organised.

Food shopping I'll do an online shop in the days preceding. My DH is a butcher so we don't need to worry about ordering in turkeys etc!

On the big day itslef, no one gets waited on and everyone has to muck in

YouveCatToBeKittenMe Thu 08-Nov-12 11:01:43

I don't really like Christmas much (Bah Humbug!) I find it very stressful. My side of the family is really small but DH seems to know or be related to everyone in the world. Christmas was lovely until I became a 'responsible' adult. and married someone from such a huge sociable family

However I have found that not over-planning works best. Go with the flow, Get presents when you see them, don't wait and go back or leave it till too near Christmas. Although saying that Amazon were brilliant last year and we were ordering stuff in the week before Christmas and it all came in time.

My biggest mistake used to be trying to get everything perfect for just one day. A few years ago I would bath the dogs, make mince pies (which no one would eat) clean the entire house from top to bottom, make nativity costumes, decorate the house, write all the cards etc etc and it made Christmas really stressful as I was trying to make that one day so perfect. Now I just do the essential stuff the dogs stay smelly and the house stays dusty

We have shopping lists, DH's parents are quite tricky to buy for. I usually get Christmas cards in the January sales
We do most of our shopping online, including the food shop. Last year we used nectar points and our £300 shop shock came to about £5 grin.
Like aJumpedUpPantryBoy I have it delivered a few days before so I can still get emergency bits, we do buy our veg at the last minute so it is fresh.

I have told DH I am staying at home this year. We usually go to his parents for a few days. The fall out hasn't happened yet, but I'm sure its imminent!

BellaVida Thu 08-Nov-12 11:20:41

We split our time between family here and overseas, so priority is always getting flights booked.
Apart from that, it just feels wrong to do any Xmas shopping at least until the Xmas lights go on! If I don't feel 'in the spirit' it just won't happen.
When it comes to present shopping, I always focus on the children first, to make sure I can get their main gift and rely on a list to track everyone and what I have bought. That way, when I come to wrapping, ( having hidden stuff in odd places all over the house), I know if anything is missing!
Putting up the decorations and tree will happen the first weekend in December. Just us and the kids, plenty of tea and cake and we can drag it out for the best part of a Sunday.
Food shopping is another matter. Usually it is done a couple of days before, with a list for main items, then we just enjoy throwing in things we would never buy at any other time of year. On Xmas day, anything goes, including chocolates for breakfast!
As long as we are with the kids, I could honestly do Xmas anywhere.

TaggieCampbellBlack Thu 08-Nov-12 11:22:19

My top christmas tip.

Get a little bit drunk. And then keep topping up throughout the season. Not pissed, or puking, just a little bit fuzzy. It's a fine balance but I have managed to perfect it.
It's the only way to cope.

GeraldineAubergine Thu 08-Nov-12 11:35:58

My tip is: go to harrods at 15 mins to closing time on Xmas eve and you can get all kinds of fancy food really reduced. We had a weird lobster starter and a fancy pasty type thing last year. Probably works for wait rose and m and s too smile

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