OK, so it feels a million miles away, but it soon comes around.
So I've got some tips, and brilliant gift ideas to make Christmas a little less stressful, and alot more enjoyable.
Start by writing a list of who you need to buy for.
Then look at it again, and check who you actually need to buy for. Is there really any point buying for someone you haven't seen for over a year? Mutually agree with friends on whether or not you're going to buy for them/their children and vice versa? If you are going to buy, set a price limit.
Now think what you want to buy for them? Not sure what to buy, ask their parents/them. There might be something they really want, and if you have no idea what to get, its worth asking.
I like to spread out my buying, so work out how many pay days til Xmas, and what your going to buy each month. If you like buying all in one go, then put some money away each month, so you don't break the bank in December.
Here are some pages that make some lovely things that make fab presents:
Loren's Little Lovely's-(Yes it's me)Handmade baby and children gifts, including bibs, bags, blankets, tag blankets. All items can be personalised with embroidery. Also working on personalised stockings.
Truly Madly Baby/Truly Madly Kid-Essex-Lovely Baby and Children items, from high quality toys, to feeding and safety equipment. (You can order from anywhere in the UK, not just Essex)
Soximals-Hand-made sock animals,custom orders taken.
Daydreams and Daisies- Unique gifts and cards including amazing handmade custom canvases.
Kidz Plaques- Hand cut and painted letters perfect for bedroom walls, and now also doing mini letters and large freestanding letters.
PrettyRaine-Pretty Raine baby hand and foot print keepsakes, including inkless kits.
Neverland Creations-Silver imprint Jewellery and accessories(can be done from anywhere as all done by email or post).
Crafty Mama-I make Dummy Clips,Pandora style charm bracelets, healing gemstone jewellery and other handmade items with a few other things added too.
Corlog Crafts and Celebration Cakes-Specialising in Baby Shower nappy cakes, New home/ engagement cakes, Christmas cakes, handmade cards, beaded wine charms and more. (Also going to be doing men's cakes, perfect for the man/men in your life).
Candy Bath Co-A selection of yummy goodies for your bath/body all hand made.
Bathtime Twists-Make your Bathtime a magical experience with our handmade products made from the highest quality ingredients.
Cake Pop Princess-Delicious handmade cake truffle lollipops by post, made to order in a variety of flavours and styles and posted to your door, anywhere in the UK (and beyond!).
Chilli Papas-Using our spice mix, you make the curry from scratch, you take the credit for a great meal!
No oil is needed so you make healthy curries that taste amazing!
Chocolate Madness-Bespoke chocolates for all occasions.
The Bespoke Dog Bakery-Some treats perfect for your pet.
(please note these are facebook pages. If you don't have facebook, leave a comment or email me at- firstname.lastname@example.org and i can give you their direct website or email address)
Make your own cards
Last year me and Eva made our own Christmas cards, we got our cards from eBay, we got 50 cards with envelopes for around £5ish. We cut out a Christmas tree hape out of a potato, and a pot shape separately, and then dipped the tree shape in green paint and printed it, then the pot in red paint and printed that at the bottom of the tree. You can add fingerprint baubles on, and a star at the top. They can be as simple, or creative as you want.
I then wrote Merry Christmas in silver and gold pens on the front.
This year we will be doing more designs, trees, snowmen, penguins. Get artistic. And a lovely personal touch. You can search online for little verses to put inside, or we just wrote Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
You can even make your own wrapping paper. Get a long roll of brown or white paper, and print it to match your cards. Or just let your little ones get messy with it. No one will mind it's not "perfect", because if your little ones made it, it will be perfect to them.
We also made gift tags, we just cut up the left over cards and i let Eva paint and glitter them.
Don't leave wrapping you presents til the last minute. Do it in advance, as A, You(well I know I)never realise how long it's actually going to take, and B, If you suddenly think, oh no i forgot "so and so" you have got chance to go out and get them something.
When it comes to wrapping children's presents, I always open the boxes, spend the 5 minutes to get the things from off the cardboard they are tied to, add batteries if need be, then put back in the box and wrap.
This just means that on Christmas day, presents can be opened and played with straight away, making Christmas morning that little bit less hectic.
Plan in advance what food you need.
Farm shops are brilliant for buying fruit and veg, and we always get our veg for our Christmas dinner from our local one. They tend to be a lot more value for money, and really yummy.
We prepare all our veg on Christmas eve, so that it's one less thing to stress about on the day. Lay the table the night before as well. Much better to have a hectic, stressful Christmas eve then make Christmas day any more hectic than it already is.
Will you be having get togethers where your catering for guests? Plan in advance what your going to cook, and what you need, and shop around to get the best possible price. Buy easy to cook things, and prepare in advance where you can. I find Iceland is brilliant for frozen food, especially with their party food ranges.
Out with the old, In with the new
In the run up to Christmas, it's worth sorting out toys, and either passing on, selling, or taking them to the charity shop.
No doubt when you've got children you are going to have lots of new toys, and if you're anything like us, we're already bursting at the seams with toys. So it's the ideal time to get rid of the old, not been played with in a while, toys to make room for the new ones.
I usually have a clear out before and after Christmas. Get rid of a few before, and a few after. The trick is to do it when your children aren't around, as if they are there, anything you try to get rid of will inevitably be their favourite toy that you can not possibly get rid of, even if its been say unplayed with for months.
So there's a few of my tips on a stress free, enjoyable christmas.
Feel free to comment your own tips and ideas, the more the merrier :-)