Halloween is out of the way so I don't want to hear any complaining. The fact is I have been using the C word since August, but that is just me. So here it is brace yourselves; Christmas, Christmas Christmas! The key to a stress free Christmas with lots of time for handmade goodies is preparation and planning, so as self proclaimed Mrs. Christmas since I was about eight years old let me guide you. Here is what you need to do in November for a successful Christmas.
- This is the time to make your cards and gift wrap. Even if you don't plan to make all of your cards and wrapping it is nice to make a few for special gifts and close friends and family. If you are looking for inspiration there is this handmade card post & this one too. For gift wrap inspiration see this, this and this.
- Have a clear out. Your house is about to be filled with more things and more people so have a clear out. Take things to a charity shop or donate any warm clothes and blankets to a shelter.
- Call friends & family. The holiday season is very busy for everyone so make arrangements now about who you can see and when. Giving everyone lots of notice is the best way to avoid any upset or arguments.
- Plan your family events. Is there a local carol service you want to attend? When will you go and choose the tree? All of these things can be fun and not add any stress if you have them in your diary. There is always time to add a new tradition, this year I am starting one by taking my two boys on the Santa special steam train in Keighley. There is also the annual tradition in my local cinema in Hebden Bridge of showing It's A Wonderful Life.
- Make your own Advent calendar, there is a lot of crafty inspiration on the net, there is a little site called Pinterest you may have heard of. You could use this tutorial that combines crafty goodness with family fun as each day you add your own Christmas activity, anything from a romantic winter walk to making mulled wine and eating chestnuts under a blanket.
- November is a great month for crafting. I like to save some crafting for December so I can make things whilst the decorations are up but any decorations November is the time. Here are some links to decorations you can make this December; one // two // three // four.
- Go through your recipe/food plan for the Holiday season and sift out any and all recipes that can be made in advance and frozen or stored. Many sauces and soups can be frozen such as this bread sauce recipe. For winter soup inspiration you could try these; one // two // three. And they can all be made in advance and stored in the freezer. You can also freeze certain cookies and desserts. It is not just the freezer that can preserve your food you can also make chutney, pickles and cranberry sauce in advance and store in jars. In fact they taste better after a little maturing. Tray my recipe for cranberry and port sauce or my winter chutney, both great with cheese!
- Nothing smells more divine than a Christmas cake baking in your home and November is cake month as you need to feed it weekly. I have spent years tweeking my cake recipe to get it just the way I like it and when I was happy and shared it with all of you, here is the link.
- More handmade. There are many handmade gifts that you can make in December and I will share them with you when we are closer to Christmas but other gifts take longer to make such as handmade soap. Soap needs at least 6 weeks to cure so it is time to start - follow my tutorial to show you how.
- Start buying now. Christmas is not all handmade so start buying little things now to spread the cost. In truth I buy gifts throughout the year but from now add a little bit to your grocery bill each week so that it is not too painful at the end, Most stores have their Christmas ranges in now and you will be surprised at the lengthy shelf life on some items.
I hope you have enjoyed my guide. I will be sharing a December countdown also so keep your eyes peeled, or you could always follow me on Bloglovin.