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Christmas tips

(109 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 20-Oct-11 16:27:37

Be they baking, making or time-saving...we would love to know what your top tips are for Christmas.

We are delighted that Joanna Gosling, author of "Simply Wonderwoman: A Survival Guide for Women With Too Much To Do" is going to share some of her own tips with us. But she's also looking forward to seeing what gransnetters can come up with.

She will be picking her favourite five tips from this thread over the next couple of weeks. Winners will each receive a copy of her lovely book (which you can read more about here

susiecb Thu 20-Oct-11 17:23:00

Order your Christmas grocery shop now from one of the major supermarkets. You can book a diary slot now but they will soon all be gone so get the time and date that suits you best. Just put a short list for now and add and subtratct thungs from it as we get nearer to Christmas and save yourself that drudge round the supermarket. Already done mine in M& S (collect in store at specified date and time) and Waitrose delivery to the door 23rd Dec so if something missign I have time to get it from the local Spar.

HildaW Thu 20-Oct-11 18:15:28

Make stuffing up to a month ahead when you CAN buy parsley etc....just dont put the egg in it. Bung in freezer and get out Christmas Eve to defrost then add the egg and make up stuffing balls. I always cook them separate after Turkey has come out of oven, cos a big one needs a good 30 - 40 mins to 'relax'.

Buy in good quality frozen pastry - brill for last min mince pies, sausage rolls etc

I buy standard quality mincemeat and pep it up as and when I need it. Chopped apricots/glace cherries/nuts/more raisins/cranberries(fresh or dried) more booze etc etc. Even expensive mincemeat seems to have a lot of 'slush' and this way you can personalize for who is going to eat it.

I do a 'Hamper' for V busy married daughter by buying special groceries and especially 3 for 2 offers etc. I start early and really dont notice the little extra. She then gets a whole load of extra goodies. When I'm really past it, she will no doubt return the favour!

Notsogrand Thu 20-Oct-11 22:13:09

Buy a selection of cheeses for Christmas 3/4 weeks beforehand. Ignore 'best before' dates, cheese just keeps on getting better!

Anne58 Thu 20-Oct-11 22:13:20

More one for Mums, really.

On Christmas eve, have 2 matching pillowcases/Santa sacks/stockings (delete where not appopriate). Let children place an empty one at the end of their bed, place the filled one in a place of your choosing (in our case, a locked section of our wardrobe!).

Instead of doing the "big switch" when you go up to bed, and risking them waking up at 2am to find "he's been!" and subsequently being overtired before lunch, set your clock for around 5.30, 6am, do the swith, then enjoy a cup of tea and exchange of presents with dh before the children wake up. (You can also put the prepared turkey in at this time if it suits your eating plan)

This has been known to go wrong when ex-dh got fed up with waiting and went into the boys room and woke them up saying, "Father Christmas has been, look!"

Of course, this all depends on your own family traditions, I know in some cases Father Christmas leaves presents under the tree, rather than at the end of the bed!

glassortwo Thu 20-Oct-11 22:14:40

I always use a different wrapping paper for each DC/GC presents, so no need to write gift tags as each paper relates to one person.

Anne58 Thu 20-Oct-11 22:18:22

Glassortwo, I could never leave off the gift tags, as I usually like to write some sort of cryptic comment that relates to the gift!

em Thu 20-Oct-11 22:25:49

Like the idea of the duplicate which can be pre-packed but I have knitted individual stockings (with names on ) for each GC so would have to knit another for each one. Given that they were all made up as I went along I'd find it impossible to knit an identical one to match!!

Annika Thu 20-Oct-11 22:26:38

I use old christmas cards to make gift tags to go on presents, I know the tags wont match the paper but as the paper is usually torn off in one mad frenzy I don't think it matters too much.

Anne58 Thu 20-Oct-11 22:34:50

Annika, the old Christmas cards are used here too, especially as they usually give more room for the cryptic messages!

(PS, these are reserved for dh, the dc's and any other grown up or teenage recipients, not the smalls)

Annika Thu 20-Oct-11 22:52:09

phoenix putting cryptic messages on the tags sounds like a good idea and as you say not for the smalls but would they stop to look at the gift tag let alone read any message on it, they would be too busy ripping off the paper grin

Annika Thu 20-Oct-11 22:55:30

While we are on the subject of Christmas will be having Christmas smileys ?smile

Annika Fri 21-Oct-11 11:18:35

We all know that a big part of Christmas is leaving out a mince pie and a drink for Santa on Christmas eve, you could also get some bird food which you have mixed with a little glitter ( dont let the little ones see you do that). You tell them it is reindeer food and let them sprinkle it on the garden path before they go bed and in the morning with a bit of luck the birds will have eaten the seed leaving behind the glitter which you tell the is magic dust from Santas sleigh wink

ameliaanne Fri 21-Oct-11 13:04:23

My best tip is one someone gave me many years ago. When I am in a blind panic worrying about it all, I try to bring it all down to size and remember that it is just a couple of days or so in a whole year of days and also to remind myself that I always, always get to the other side every year relatively unscathed!

JoannaGosling Fri 21-Oct-11 13:31:35

I love all the brilliant tips coming in. No surprise that the key to a relaxed Christmas is in the planning, and remembering to keep it in proportion - as ameliaanne says - it's only two days in the year! But, it's a magical time too, especially for children, so here's a tip for if you're thinking of a pre-Christmas treat with Grandchildren, like going to see Father Christmas. Book it now! Department stores are just opening their books (tickets are usually free, or a nominal amount), so if you get in early you can pick a slot in the Christmas holidays - rather than having to go in November - which isn't quite so festive! Jx

HilaryCME Fri 21-Oct-11 13:38:38

If you have a long-ish train journey - like mine to cousin Fred in 2 weeks time- buy your Christmas cards early + write them on the train. Even better- have a good stock of cards still in your cupboard from last year so you only have to buy a few.

missmouse Fri 21-Oct-11 13:45:36

I peel and prep all vegetables Christmas Eve morning after breakfast.
I then pop them in cold water, bung the lid on and then Christmas Day I only have to turn the hob on.
I also make my rum sauce in advance, make up a White sauce then freeze without the rum. Defrost when needed and add the rum whilst heating.

Great stuffing tip, I never thought to freeze it, marvellous!

Carol Fri 21-Oct-11 14:07:45

I always buy christmas cards, wrapping paper and any other present bargains straight after christmas when they are ridiculously cheap in the supermarkets, then tuck them away in the spare bedroom and forget about them. It's always a pleasant surprise to find them ready and waiting when I fish the christmas decorations out the next year.

Annobel Fri 21-Oct-11 14:15:15

I have a Christmas drawer. During the year, if I find something that would be ideal for someone I pop it in there. Then in December, I have a look and wonder what was meant for whom!

Gra Fri 21-Oct-11 14:30:45

Get all you children to put up an Amazon wishlist, which includes all their children too. For the last three years I have chosen gifts for all my children and grandchildren this way. All are delivered to the door. All I have to do is wrap them and have the extra pleasure of KNOWING that the gifts are wanted or needed.

winnibriggshouse Fri 21-Oct-11 14:36:14

My Tip is to wrap all Christmas presents in brown paper and decorate them with pictures cut from old Christmas magazines and some of last years Christmas cards I havent used for gift tags. I also make felt Christmas ornaments to sell and any left over are attached to the presents as a little extra to decorate their trees next year.

nanapug Fri 21-Oct-11 16:38:53

Get a reasonable sized box, (usually an apple box) from the supermarket, for each child. Then on Christmas Eve they decorate it (I usually have bit and bobs of paper, ribbon, old cards, glitter etc. saved up), which gives them something to do. Then on Christmas day they each put their smaller toys/gifts/sweets etc. in their own box as they open them. Then, not only do their things not get muddled up, but they can also take them up to their bedrooms easily, look at all their presents easily, and the lounge stays slightly tidier!! I did this for my DD's and now they do it for their children.

goose1964 Fri 21-Oct-11 17:46:03

Don't feel you have to do everything yourself, delegate, & it doesn't matter if you buy ready made food.

HildaW Fri 21-Oct-11 18:09:21

Someone remarked to me a couple of years ago that basically Christmas Dinner is just a big Sunday lunch with crackers......keeps it in perspective. You never ever want to be the woman in Waitrose a couple of years ago who had a complete screaming fit when she found we were all out of Organic celeriac....her Christmas was 'ruined'. No doubt it was a camel's back and straw situation but hells teef its just one day and lifes too short.

I also know a lady who abandoned a sit down meal when her children became teenagers and has never gone back. She just does a running buffet. Not my idea of a Christams meal but she (and her family) love it.

JoannaGosling Fri 21-Oct-11 19:40:34

Do any of you make your own Christmas pudding? I'm sure it's one of those lovely, festive, therapeutic things to do, but I really never have time. Instead, buy a shop-bought one - I can't believe home-made actually tastes any better - and push a coin (left overnight in bicarbonate of soda and water to clean) into it by skewering the pudding with a knife, just before serving. An old Christmas tradition, with zero effort. wink