Want to have a more organised Christmas this year? For the last six weeks of 2017 I am writing a weekly blog post to guide you through the festive season and into 2018. This Christmas I want to be more intentional about how I spend my energies, money and time. I want to capture the true feeling of the festive season – family, friendship, and a little bit of magic – without the frenzied shopping, the stress or the endless to-do lists. If you do too, here is this week’s post!
Week Four: 11th – 17th December
A thought for this week:
Have a coffee: With only two weeks left until Christmas Day, things are going to start getting busy. But for some, Christmas is a lonely time with little to look forward to. So this week, remember those that are on their own, and make plans to pop round for a coffee and a chat. Do you know any elderly neighbours, new mums, friends recovering from illness, families who have recently moved into your community? Perhaps you could ask them if they need anything picking up from the supermarket, or take them a homemade treat or plant as a gesture.
Important dates this week:
Last dates for international post If you have cards, letters and presents to post overseas, there are more last posting dates for international delivery this week. Royal Mail advises that the last posting dates as follows:
- Thursday 14 December: Canada & the United States
- There are also a number of last posting dates for European countries scattered throughout this week, so check the Royal Mail website for details.
UK dates follow next week, but don’t worry, I’ll give you another reminder!
Tuesday 12 December: Poinsettia Day Did you know that the favourite festive plant poinsettia has its own day? Originally native to Mexico, the Aztecs cultivated it as a gift from the gods. The poinsettia was introduced to the US by botanist Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett in 1828, and has since become a festive favourite. This week is the perfect time to pick up a few poinsettias as a natural and cost-effective addition to your festive decor!
To-do this week:
- Cards and gifts: Finish writing your Christmas cards and get them in the post. Try to finish your gift shopping this week so that you can avoid the last-minute rush in the high street next week!
- Clean out the fridge and freezer: Before stocking up on Christmas food next week. clean out your fridge and freezer. Eat leftovers and finish the random portions at the back of the freezer, before giving it all a good clean. While you are thinking of food, have a quick scan of the cupboards and pull out anything that you are not likely to use – your local foodbank will be grateful for any donations.
- Check your dishes and glassware: If you are cooking this Christmas, check that you have enough dishes, saucepans and glassware for your occasion. If you need extra, consider borrowing from a friend rather than buying new. This will save you storage space as well as money!
- Children’s crafts: School finishes in a couple of weeks, and children will start to exchange Christmas cards with their classmates. There is still plenty of time to make some handmade cards rather than buying them. A couple of hours crafting is a great way for us adults to unwind too! We like to use scrap paper, washi tape and ribbon left over from gift wrapping. Cut into circles for baubles and triangles for trees, then decorate with glitter and stickers. A fun way to get little ones to do something for their classmates!
- Christmas baking: This time of year always inspires me to spend more time in the kitchen. Home baked goods make perfect gifts too. I love this Christmas tree twist by my sister-in-law and Instagram cook @country_cook_in_the_city. Use shop bought puff pastry and a jar of nutella (or mincemeat) and sprinkle with icing sugar. Yummy! A perfect bake for little ones to help with too.
- New Year plans: With all the excitement in the run up to Christmas, New Year celebrations can be an afterthought. If you haven’t made plans yet, take some time this week to decide what to do. Whether you want to party all night, stay in with a takeaway or maybe even escape for a long weekend, make those arrangements now.
So there you have it! Some thoughts, key dates and a short to-do list for this week. I’d love to hear how you are keeping Christmas simple this year, and any tips you’d like to share!