10 steps to Christmas

Get set in style – turn essential festive preparations into part of the fun with our useful planner and savvy tips for organising.

by taking on your tasks one at a time. For more useful tips, check our article on
Christmas on a budget.


Week one

1. Make a timetable for the next eight weeks – who’s going to be visiting when, any big dates for parties, etc which is a great way of organising when to cook and shop as you can see at a glance how many free days you have.

TIP Write cards for anyone who has a birthday just before Christmas so they’re ready to post when they’re due, and don’t get forgotten in the festive rush.

2. Make a Christmas present list at the same time. Don’t worry about gaps for now, make a start on easy present ideas first – your progress will inspire you to solve tricky gift challenges later.

TIP Put the list in your purse and update it as you shop so you don’t accidentally buy two gifts for the same person.

Week two

3. Check what decorations and spare Christmas wrapping paper you have stored away from last year so you don’t spend money on items you already have.

TIP If your tinsel is looking ragged, cut it into smaller pieces and when the time comes, wrap it around ornaments to brighten the room.

4. Start your Christmas shopping if you haven’t already. Even getting just one trip done before December will make a big difference.

TIP Check out our Ten top tips for Christmas gift shopping for all ages.

Week four

5. On a rainy November afternoon find Christmas activities for kids to do such as making mince pies and cakes you can freeze for the big day.

TIP For inspiration and advice, check out Get-ahead Christmas cooking.



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Week five

6. Write Christmas cards and post international items promptly.

TIP The earliest airmail posting deadline is for Asia and the Far East (December 4).

7. Put up decorations and your tree. Doing this early in December gives you the chance to make the most of your efforts.

TIP Enlist your children’s help. For ideas, see Christmas tasks the kids can do.

Week six

8. Write up a meal planner with a list of the dishes you have planned for Christmas so you don’t over-shop for unnecessary ingredients. Order any special foods and meats you want to get from your local butcher.

TIP Take advantage of special deals on cupboard foods and drinks which stores offer to encourage people to avoid the crowds later.

Week seven

9. Organising yourself and finishing off your gift shopping now will mean you don’t run around making rash and expensive last minute choices on Christmas Eve.

TIP Wrapping and labeling can take longer than you think, so do it now. It’s also easier to sneak into the attic with rustling bags before the kids finish school!

Week eight

10. Just a few days left! If you have a frozen turkey, this can take up to two days to defrost in the fridge (take care not to let raw meat contaminate other foods), so check your plans four days before Christmas: what you’re going to cook when, buying the last fresh items, and checking pots and pans you need.

TIP Think about your cooking schedule and avoid planning too many dishes which will need oven space at the same time as the turkey.

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