Advanced search

This topic is for paid for discussions. Please mail us at if you'd like to know more about how they work.

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,


QueenofNightmares Thu 08-Nov-12 17:25:19

Sort it all early in the year! So many people wait until the last minute then panic buy or the things they want are completely sold out.

Don't go mad and feel under pressure to keep up with everyone else. A Small xmas can be just as special as a huge extravagant one.

Start buying your presents in the sales, pick up a little something every time you go shopping just a stocking filler it all takes pressure off you in the last few weeks run up.

Your local butcher can be your best friend ours do a hamper that you can pay off in bits through the year then pick up on xmas week with all your meat ready to go and he'll sub out anything you don't like too.

HullyChristmasgully Thu 08-Nov-12 18:16:46

Drink sherry

You will find everything runs smoothly and if it doesn't you won't care

cashmere Thu 08-Nov-12 18:46:05

I've been really organised this year and the shoppIng is all done. I have a list so I don't buy twice. I just use my iPhone to make the list so it's easy to update.

I've got nearly everything online- I've also done this previous years but have left it too late so things have been out of stock/delivered late.
It's worked well as I got some deals in Aug/Sept that people will be less likely to have seen (and know I got a bargain!). This includes The Book People sale.

I've also got the odd thing from supermarkets eg £12 bags of Mega Bloks for £3.50 in Tesco summer sale.

I've made a book advent calendar this year for DS. I got 80% of the books in charity shops over the last couple of years. It's already wrapped so it doesn't become yet another chore as Christmas approaches.

As we'll have a newborn this year I'm thinking of using lots of gift bags to make present wrapping easier. Im going to seek out some cheap ones. I usually enjoy wrapping/adding ribbons but seeing as I can't drink wine whilst I wrap/ sit on the floor comfortably I think this is the way forward.

In fact I think a few shortcuts will be introduced each year so the
festive season remains fun- not a tick list of things to achieve.
A fun new tradition could also be added each year as our children grow as this is what it's all about.

Badvoc Thu 08-Nov-12 19:30:39

Oh yes to gift bags!
Most gifts from me come in a gift bag smile
I tend to get the ikea paper ones as a) they have lovely retro designs and b) they are more Eco friendly than foil ones.
One thing I have found this year is an usborne book - making Xmas decs. Paper chains, angels, snowflakes etc.
It was £4 from the book people and will do for this year and next year!
I have made ds2 a fabric advent calendar..really easy. Piece of fabric about 35 cms x 65 cms and 24 squares of felt/fabric. Sew or glue on the numbers 1-24 and voila you have a calendar you can use year after year. You can put little toys, sweets, chocs, books even in the pockets.
You can also personalise them.
I am planning to get some Xmas fabric and make a tablecloth...will see what time I have! smile

missorinoco Thu 08-Nov-12 20:25:53

~ Is is best to forward plan or stagger it?

I stagger my Xmas shopping. It started in October this year. Think I even bought some biscuits for Xmas in September, but then gave them away as a gift, so that doesn't count.

~ 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?

Sort of. I choose presents as I go along. For food, I have a list, and I meal plan over Xmas. I quail at the thought of present shopping at any point in December on a weekend with the children. Xmas eve might break me.

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

Erm, I might have been known to stalk Ocado and Sainsburys slots in advance for when they were coming out. I missed them last year, and got an early slot,. which worked better, as I then had time to pick up all the non delivered items and substitutes.

Yuk, I have become spectacularly retentive about all of this. I am depressing myself reading it.

My tip is to get the wrapping paper and xmas cards out of the loft, before you buy a batch more in a fit of being organised. I haven't gone up there yet, but have ordered more, and have a sinking recollection that i put them up there saying how i wouldn't need more for next year. Deja vu, i did this last year too.

FrillyMilly Thu 08-Nov-12 20:28:00

I definitely forward plan. I start my list in the summer of everyone I have to buy for and ideas of what to get. Then I pick stuff up when I spot a good deal or offer. I like to be completely finished by the end of November. I could think of nothing worse than doing it the day before!

I also stagger the food shop with the exception of anything fresh. I pick up mince pies, nibbles etc every week when I go shopping.

EdgarAllanPond Thu 08-Nov-12 21:16:20

from about september, keep an eye out for good presents - buy and hide them. If somethings right - don't hesitate so long as the money is in the bank - buy it! if you are doing a '£10 each' xmas - shopping online makes it harder to overspend - there is less immediacy to it.

check you have got all main presents by end November, then any Xmas shopping is just for the fun of it and for nice little extras.

you often get weird food outages in the weeks before xmas - eg no Roule cheese, no butter puffs biscuits, no cream, no nuts etc - make sure you have everything that doesn't have to be fresh a week or two before xmas if not earlier. You will have way too much food on the day so it doesn't really matter if you are missing anything in the end.

OldBagWantsNewBag Thu 08-Nov-12 21:50:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hopezibah Thu 08-Nov-12 21:53:23

My tops tips for Christmas:

Do as much as you can online - shopping for groceries, presents etc

Once you think you have bought enough presents for everyone you planned to, then stick to it (i.e. don't suddenly impulse buy a load more stuff).

Don't feel pressured to sent Christmas cards if you don't want to. We just tell everyone by email that we are giving a charity donation instead and haven't lost any friends over it. It saves lots of time and helps out a good cause.

Do buy yourself a box of your fave choccies to nibble through during Christmas day. It will give you something to look forward to!

If you like entering competitions, the run up to Christmas is a great time to increase your chance of winning (I have no idea if this is backed up by facts but in my experience I have had more wins in December than other months because everyone is too busy with Christmas to bother doing the extra little things like entering competitions.

Be prepared for changes of plan. If you've arranged to meet a friend, be more prepared for them cancelling because people tend to have a last minute panic of being too busy in the run up to christmas.

I would honestly prefer to just go away on holiday and escape it all - but DH / kids and grandparents wouldn't really go for that idea.

WhatWouldVegansDo Thu 08-Nov-12 21:55:32

~ Is is best to forward plan or stagger it?
Plan ahead, buy in the January sales, buy things throughout the year if you see something nice.

~ 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?
We don't buy for other adults, makes things much much easier. I think of what my son would really like, though he is only two so an easy age right now. Food wise, we are vegan so don't need to worry about getting a turkey, and it's easy to cater for ourselves. Not so much different to a Sunday roast. No stress.

~ What are your Christmas shopping top tips? What about food shopping (snapped up that Ocado slot yet? )
Buy ahead, in the sales. Go vegan. ;)

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

flamingtoaster Thu 08-Nov-12 22:05:10

~ Is is best to forward plan or stagger it? Start in January in the January sales and buy things in sales and on offer through the year if you see what you want.

~ 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 list and I do check it at least twice (ever since my mother discovered she had no potatoes after the shops had closed on Christmas Eve - a small shopkeeper was happy to let us have some!).

~ What are your Christmas shopping top tips? What about food shopping (snapped up that Ocado slot yet? ) Weeks ahead get in all the boring stuff like washing up liquid, toilet rolls, tissues etc. (stocking up when on special offer) Then start on the packet/tinned items You should only have the fresh produce to get just before Christmas then.

~ Whatever your Christmas preparations involve, we want to hear about it. We pick up our turkey form the butcher on Christmas Eve morning and it goes into the over after lunch on Christmas Eve. We have our first full meal by candlelight on Christmas Eve - makes for a relaxed Christmas morning and great to prepare the meal while the shops are still open!

MaureenLove Thu 08-Nov-12 22:07:32

I prepare for Xmas by doing it all online.


MaureenLove Thu 08-Nov-12 22:08:25

And I am presuming the PR company behind this gives NOT ONE TOSs about any of the answers.

turnipvontrapp Thu 08-Nov-12 22:46:55

Grr just added a message and phone lost connection so here it is again!

Do it all online- its so much easier and relaxing!

Just remember its only a day so no need to spend ridiculous amounts on food and drink. I sound like a right Scrooge now don't I! grin

DorsetKnob Thu 08-Nov-12 23:28:00

Plan and shop early.

Join a thrift or put some money into savings.

This month I am starting to prepare and freeze food to cook.

stephgr Fri 09-Nov-12 01:41:33

I make lots of lists and records of gifts not because I want to but because I have to! My memory is dreadful so I can easily end up giving someone the same present every year or more than one present whilst someone else gets nothing so I have to keep records. I'm very guilty of recycling gifts and I try to encourage people not too spend too much on gifts for me/my family or not to give us anything!

Flippityjig Fri 09-Nov-12 10:11:56

I'm not very good at planning and we don't have a huge get-together at Christmas but my top tip is online shopping!

Try and reserve your grocery shopping slot as soon as they become available but have enough time after the delivery to pop to the local supermarket to get the things they didn't deliver!

I do as much as possible of my gift shopping online, thereby avoiding the busy shops and getting the best price.

MissChristmastRee Fri 09-Nov-12 10:16:11

~ Is is best to forward plan or stagger it?

I do try and forward plan for Christmas, i.e. this year I started my Christmas shopping in October. I'm not that far forward thinking that I buy presents for the following year in the January sales 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?

I have never EVER done my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve (I've seen the carnage first hand working in a supermarket!). I tend to book a day off (with DP) at the beginning of December and we have a lovely festive day of shopping.

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

Try and buy as much as you can in advance - leaving only the fresh stuff to be bought (from a Tesco Express if you can!!) a few days before Christmas!

Issy Fri 09-Nov-12 10:56:33

Each year, I get a little closer to perfecting the art of 'The Slacker's Christmas':

Parkinson's Law applies to Christmas: Work expands to fill the time available. I don't start buying or planning for Christmas much before mid-December. The time pressure increases efficiency. Anything that doesn't get done, probably doesn't need to be done.

Don't send Christmas cards: Send 'Thank you for your Christmas card' cards. These can be written during the post-Christmas slump, there's no posting deadline, they can always be sent Second Class and will be enjoyed after the recipients have swept their mantelpieces clear of festive stuff. Obviously, if everyone did it, the whole Cunning Plan would fall through, but I will cross that bridge when it happens.

Turkey is Tyranny: Talk to your family in advance, find out what they really really want to eat on Christmas Day and serve that. However bizarre.

Don't plan for starvation: Apart from a 24 hour period on Christmas Day, you can buy food throughout Christmas and you have more time to do it after Christmas than before. OK, you may have to buy milk, eggs and flour from a petrol station and make festive crepes, but that's good too.

Something to Do: The one thing worth planning for Christmas is something to do on Christmas Day - church, walk, group sex, a swim at our local leisure centre which is bizarrely open on Christmas Day. A day spent at home over-eating, over-hot and over-excited is bound to end in tears.

lia66 Fri 09-Nov-12 12:25:05

I normal have most of my present shopping done by now. It being on maternity leave means I have to rely on dh to get into gear. His idea of being organised is panic buying on Christmas eve

Lunch is just a posh roast isn't it?

We ways make paper chains and have music channels on tv and sing whilst decorating the house the 2nd week in December

Can't wait for the film to come out, loved the first one. X

professorpoopsnagle Fri 09-Nov-12 12:40:39

Lists and more lists. If possible keep them on the computer because then you can use them year after year, maybe with a few alterations.

List who you have to buy for, ideas and then when you buy them something. If you hide them in the house put this on the list.

Make a list of meals, even if it is just a plan. Then work out what food shopping you need and convert these to lists. I find 3 'shops' is good, one for before in early December when you can get store cupboard things like crackers, crisps, Xmas pudding. Hide these so they don't get eaten. A list for about the 22/23rd with most of the fresh stuff, which then gives you 23/24th to get the last minute bits or things that were missing (I shop online except for the last one).

Buy your stamps early, PO queues from the first Monday in December are mega mega long.

Wrap as early as you can, it takes longer than you think, and the last 2-3 weeks of school are quite busy with plays, concerts etc going on. I have a roll of different paper for each child, so once wrapped place them in a big laundry bag to hide, then on Xmas Eve the sorting into stockings is quick.

Yes to lists - separated into lists of presents, jobs to do in the run-up, to do list for Christmas Eve, and to-do list for Christmas Day.

I prep all the veg on Christmas Eve, make the gravy, bread sauce and brandy butter, and stuff the bird, so that it is all ready to cook the next day - that makes life much easier.

My top tip is inviting my MIL to stay - she is helpful, kind and knows exactly how much to offer to do, when to back off, and when to suggest a cup of coffee and a sit-down - she is a star, but none of you can have her - she's mine!

TheMysteryCat Fri 09-Nov-12 16:00:53

I buy bits and pieces throughout the year for presents and always buy a couple of extras in case I've forgotten someone. I plan the menu in advance, bake sweets and cakes for presents and sort out travel long before Xmas.

I try and plan all the pre Xmas visits too and fill the time between Xmas and new year with family trips. It's a huge mission and can't be done without planning!

44SoStartingOver Fri 09-Nov-12 16:25:27

At the start of the school summer hols, take a jug of pimms and a notebook into the garden and start planning..

Categories include

Where will will spend xmas (plan accommodations and travel)
Who with (issue invitations)
List of everyone who needs a gift (inc kids, friends, neighbours, teachers etc)
List ideas for gifts
List for packing
List for decorations/table items/catering style items
Clear out old toys clothes etc in advance
Identify vouchers/points whatever to buy freebies for gifts
Work out how many gifts you need. If you identify something fab at a good price buy multiples. Buy the required number each week to finish gift shopping by the end of November.
Spend December attending concerts/parties/drinkies

Job done!

magentastardust Fri 09-Nov-12 16:26:01

I have 3 children and 3 Christmas birthdays so I have a long list. I try and put money aside when I can throughout the year but tend not to do the actual shopping until November as I find that's when all the best toy offers come out.
I check all the toy sites etc and try and make a list then compare to see where I can get certain toys cheapest -time consuming but worth it!

Its boring but being organised is the key for me ! I try and not start too early though so that it doesn't become a chore and drag and that I can still enjoy the run up.

Also try and do lots of fun things with children in the run up to get excited -making Xmas sweets and baking, watching Christmas films , decorating together etc.

Oh and my biggest tip try and remember it's just one day -don't give yourself too hard a time that everything had to be perfect ! As long as there is food , wine grinsomething to open and some decorations everyone will be happy !

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now