There are just 7 weeks to go until Christmas Day 2023 – how are your preparations coming along? My tips will make Christmas planning easy!
So now that we’re into November, how are your Christmas preparations coming along?
Hopefully you’ve been keeping up with our weekly tips and you can see your celebrations starting to come together. Although planning might not feel very festive, it’s really the key to making any event a success. So keep going and before you know it, you’ll have everything ready for the big day.
By the way, if you haven’t created your Christmas budget yet, it’s not too late. Our guide to planning a Christmas budget will lead you step by step through the process to help you avoid overspending and stay in control of your Christmas planning. We’ll also be sharing more Christmas gift guides over the next few weeks to help with gift inspiration.
Next week the preparations really start to gather speed but in the meantime, here are some simple things to do this week to help you get ready for Christmas 2023.
If you’re thinking of making some Christmas decorations this year, it’s time to make a start on that job. Pomanders are a wonderfully festive decoration which are easy to make, look beautiful and bring the scent of Christmas into your home.
You’ll need some oranges, skewers or cocktail sticks and a lot of cloves. One jar of cloves should cover up to three oranges, depending on your pattern.
Simply use the skewer or cocktail stick to mark out a pattern over your fruit and then stick a clove into each hole. You can make your pattern as simple or complex as you like, take a look at the photo above for some ideas. If you want to hand the pomander with ribbon, simply use masking tape to mark out where the ribbon will go.
Once you’ve finished your pattern, remove the masking tape (if you used it) and put the fruit on a wire rack over a baking tray. Bake the fruit in a pre-heated oven at 130°C (110°C fan, Gas Mark 1) for 4-5 hours, until the fruit has dried out and the colour looks darker. Alternatively you could pop the fruit in a paper bag and place it in your airing cupboard to dry slowly – that will take 3-4 weeks.
You can also use other citrus fruit such as lemons or limes for this.
Or for an even simpler decoration, cut thin slices of orange and spread them out on baking trays lined with baking parchment. Bake the slices for 45-60 minutes at 140°C (120°C fan, Gas Mark 1) for 4-5 hours, turning them over half way through.
Once they’re thoroughly dry, let them cool down before using them. You can stud them with cloves and use them on your trees, Christmas wreath or hang them with ribbons.
Prepare for guests
If you’re having friends or family to stay over Christmas, now is the time to make sure that you have everything you need, before everything gets too hectic.
Just take a little time to work out where they will be sleeping. If you’re having to move people around to make room for guests, you might need to buy an inflatable mattress or camping bed. You might also need to buy extra towels or spare bedding and check if there’s anything in particular that they like to drink in the morning.
And if you’re lucky enough to have a spare bedroom, you might want to put in a few home comforts. You don’t need to put together a whole welcome basket, unless of course you want to. But a few toiletries, an extra pillow and blanket or two and a note of the WiFi password are sure to be well received.
Book tables for meals out
If you’re planning to eat out over the festive period, don’t leave it too late to book your tables.
Even if you’re cooking Christmas dinner at home, you might be planning dinner with friends, a Christmas lunch with colleagues or a New Year’s Eve celebration at a local restaurant.
So check your numbers and get those reservations made before everywhere gets booked up!
Buy or Make Advent calendars
With less than a month until 1st December, the shops and online stores are full of Advent calendars filled with everything from chocolates and beauty products to pork scratchings and teabags. So snap them up quickly to avoid missing out on your favourite calendar.
Of course, buying an Advent calendar isn’t your only option. You could also make one, which is a great way to personalise the contents for the lucky recipient.
If you’re good at sewing, you could make some little drawstring bags or even sew some miniature Christmas stockings. But if you’re not quite so good with a sewing machine, there are some easier options.
Simply head for your local craft supplies store or go online and pick up some little envelopes or craft cartons together with some festive pegs, ribbons and decorations. And don’t forget marker pens to write on the numbers from 1 to 24.
You can fill your calendar with anything that takes your fancy. Chocolate coins or mini bags of sweets will be popular, as will real money if you’re feeling generous. You could put in miniature toiletries or individually wrapped fruit tea bags. Or why not put in a slip of paper with a different Christmas activity for each day, like watching a Christmas movie, making hot chocolate or heading out to a local light display.
You can then peg the bags, envelopes or cartons onto tinsel or string, peg them onto a wire mesh as in the photo above, or just stick them onto a door with blu-tac.
You’ll have nearly as much fun making your Advent calendar as the person who gets to open it!
Want to pay your Advent joy forward? Click here to find out how to make a Reverse Advent Calendar!
Enter our Advent Calendar Giveaway
And if you’d like to win a delicious Lindt Advent calendar as a treat for yourself or for a loved one, don’t forget to enter our fab Christmas giveaway. It closes at midnight on Friday 25th November 2023 and the lucky winner will be announced on Monday 27th November 2023.
There’s also another fantastic Christmas giveaway launching later this week, so keep your eyes open for that one…
Tick these jobs off your list this week and you’ll be on the right track for a fabulous Christmas 2023. Come back next Monday for more tips and things to do!