It’s Christmas Eve, you’re snuggling up on the sofa, enjoying yet another rerun of Miracle on 34th Street. Pure seasonal bliss. As Valentine Davis so memorably declared in this lovely film, “Christmas isn’t just a day. It’s a state of mind”. And what better state of mind to have in the festive season than a relaxed one.
So, back to the sofa … you’re cosied up with your festive cocktail, happy in the knowledge that the last few weeks’ planning was worth every last crossing of T and dotting of I. How did you do it? By following our Christmas checklist, of course!
One month before
1. Choose, and decorate your tree
Choosing the perfect tree and decorating with tinsel is surely everyone’s favourite Christmas task. To find a long-lasting tree go for the greener hues and gently grab the inside of a branch and pull towards you. The more needles that stay on the tree, the more time you’ll get to enjoy it.
2. Work out your logistics
Whether it’s for Christmas Day itself or the days and weeks in the run-up, now’s the time to agree on your schedule and organise any logistics. If long distance travel is a factor, you need to look into this as soon as possible and be mindful of contingencies for unexpected weather, school plays, parties or other disruptions. Confirm, and reconfirm where everybody needs to be – and when.
This is also a good time to start thinking about your guests. Has everyone RSVP’d and are there any special circumstances that need looking into. Do you have the right furniture and bedding? Are there any issues with parking? The sooner you know, the more time you have to prepare.
3. Write your letters
While managing busy lives we often see Christmas communications as an extra hassle – but devoting some time to this festive task can turn it into one of the most rewarding and communal aspects of the festive season. Kids can enjoy writing their annual letters to Santa and you can enjoy writing cards and emails to both close friends and those you rarely contact but would love to hear from you. If you have time you could even craft the cards yourself – a lovely activity to share as a family. Another bonus is receiving post from those you’ve been missing or that you love to be reminded of.
A word of warning – no matter how careful you are with your list, there will always be someone you forget, so be sure to keep some spare cards to send out in a second flurry.
4. Plan your Christmas menu & start batch freezing
Whether this is the year you decide to try something a little different or you simply want to perfect last years feast, make that list and check it twice! You’ll have already asked your guests about any dietary requirements but how about their preferences or dislikes? Perhaps someone has a terrible aversion to the herb crust that was going to adorn your main dish or simply dislikes a certain type of fish.
Be sure to choose a menu that you can prepare a few days in advance. You don’t want to spend the whole day away from your guests, plus it’s fun to do the peeling and chopping as a family on Christmas Eve. Don’t forget to research some tasty leftover dishes to make after Christmas day – should there be any, that is!
And don’t forget! With all of those office parties, secret Santa or teacher gifts, and friends who drop by unexpectedly, it’s time to start filling your freezer with a few extras. Gingerbread, mince pies and un-iced biscuits will all keep well in the freezer if well wrapped.
Two weeks before
5. Prepare your home for guests
Bed count? Check. Plenty of bedding and towels? Check. If you need extra seating, consider borrowing or investing in some benches or nests of tables. Make sure there’s plenty of spare toiletries, blankets, pillows and extra lighting for spare rooms.
When it comes to Christmas treats more is always best. Why not mix up the traditional drinks and nibbles that you’ll know they love with some new, unexpected delicacies. The worst that can happen is that they’ll want to head back to the old favourites – and as you’re very prepared, you’ll have an abundance of those anyway!
6. Start your wrapping
As with writing cards, put some time aside for this, have a drink and treats to hand and this will become another festive highlight. As the big day nears, have a full-time wrapping station set up in a cosy corner. This may stop the clear tape going missing and minimise mess!
7. Prepare entertainment for the little ones
There are so many options for kids entertainment at Christmas. As long as you consider the ages of the kids, create options for even the most unexpected weather conditions and don’t assume everyone is going to get along the whole time, then you should be fine. Ask the kids in advance what they would like to do, rather than assuming. Encourage them to make up games alongside the old favourites.
Be prepared for some downtime by flagging a few appropriate film releases on your streaming service.
8. Add the cosy touches
Cosy throws, flickering scented candles, string lights glinting around the window, mistletoe hung in the doorway…need we say more?
A few days before
9. Do your final checks
Have all the presents been wrapped? The food ready and waiting? Have you got all of the ingredients for your family’s recipe for mulled wine?
This is the time to go through all the prep and shopping lists that you have been working through in previous weeks and double check that nothing has been missed.
10. Set the table
This is something kids often enjoy helping with and is a really nice thing to have done and dusted before the big day itself. It also means you and your family get to enjoy it in its full glory and make any last minute adjustments.
11. Put the presents under the tree
If you have a nosy spouse or a curious child, you might want to leave this task until the very last minute. After all, you’ll want to keep your gifts a secret until Father Christmas arrives.
If this isn’t an issue then there is no reason why you can’t put the presents out early and admire all your handy work.
So, there you have it. The ultimate Christmas checklist. We hope you have a very merry festive season and let us know if we have missed anything out. Tweet us at @OFLOakFurniture or tag us on Instagram using #OakFurnitureland.