More thoughts on Christmas

Me giving out Christmas presentsWhilst I still don’t have my Plan For Christmas, I do at least have a completed Plan for Planning Christmas. It goes like this:

By the end of October I shall:

  • Know all of the logistical details – who will be where, and when.
  • Know who I am getting presents for, and of loosely what type (types arrange themselves into the general categories of “Proper Presents”, “Homemade Presents” (Kevin gave everyone lemon curd, one year), and “Oxfam presents” (which aren’t really presents at all, of course). Ideally, proper presents will be sub-categorised into the type of thing (books, DVDs, perfume, whatever), or even a specific thing where inspiration has struck. The Plan for the Plan, however, accepts that some of these things are entirely dependent upon what you see whilst shopping, and there has to be some flexibility in the system.

By the end of November I shall:

  • Have all the presents for all the people bought and wrapped, except where something might turn out to be perishable. I bought someone a cheese and wine gift pack once, but never thought to keep it in the fridge once I’d wrapped it. You live and learn.
  • Have the Christmas cards bought (including stamps), and the Christmas letter written.
  • Have a full menu planned for all parts of Christmas when we are providing food, either here or elsewhere.

The ubiquitous jumperBy the end of the first week in December I shall:

  • Have all the Christmas cards written and sent.
  • Got Kevin to retrieve the decorations from the loft, and worked out where the tree will go. And if we’re getting a real one. Now we HAVE an artificial one (quite a nice one, actually, that we got in the sale about a fortnight before Christmas, last year. We’d missed the boat on getting a real one, by then. I can remember standing in front of a tree salesman, and saying “It IS still two weeks away isn’t it?! I haven’t just got it all wrong?!”), we at least have options.

By the end of the second week in December I shall:

  • Have all the food purchased that will keep for long enough. It’s not possible to completely avoid tearing around the shops three days before Christmas, but it is possible to minimise it.
  • Know what each family member will be wearing over Christmas, and have ensured than any hand-washing, dry-cleaning, or purchasing of new items is in hand.
  • Erected the tree and other decorations.

Lots of presentsBy the end of the third week in December I shall:

  • Have all the the rest of the food purchased, baked, prepared, etc, etc, as far as possible. This may even include some things that are frozen in advance, if I get that efficient.
  • Know what each family member will be wearing over Christmas, and have ensured than any hand-washing, dry-cleaning, or purchasing of new items is in hand. Though let’s hope that there isn’t too much purchasing required by then – I’m hoping to avoid the shops as far as possible, by then.
  • Sorted the presents into carrier bags, so that presents to be given during any given visit are grouped together for easy access.
  • Found VH1 Christmas Classics and retuned the TV accordingly.

If the list goes well, I can start doing Christmas baking, and getting carried away with the unnecessaries, in mid-December. If it doesn’t, those things are non-essentials, and no-one will miss them.

The inimitable Flylady has this thing she does at Christmas, where she pretends that December isn’t an option – she says pretend you’re going on a cruise on December 1st for three and half weeks. You’ll be back in time to celebrate Christmas, but not in time to prepare for it. Everything has to be done by the end of November, so you can sit back and enjoy pre-Christmas at leisure.

I’m not quite efficient enough to be able to pull that off, but I do think that I need to start now, if I’m to retain my sanity all the way throught to Boxing Day.