Christmas is only five weeks away, and you know what that means: the mayhem surrounding presents, cooking and hosting has officially started.
Every mum knows that the most strategic of planning must be involved at Christmas-time for hosting those extra guests that ‘pop in’, not to mention the big Christmas dinner extravaganza.
Your ‘To Do’ list is quite possibly as long as Santa’s naughty and nice list combined, but never fear. There are so many ways that you can prepare in advance, so you can get the most out of this Christmas season with your family.
1. Set a Christmas budget- but don’t forget to stick to it!
Mums always have and always will be generous people. However, it’s important to make sure you maintain your funds and delegate them practically in order to have a stress-free Christmas shopping experience.
Create a spreadsheet of all the December costs so you know exactly what you can spend while carrying out your Christmas dinner shop.
2. Write a shopping list, and start it early
Make sure to keep notes of what your little ones casually mention in conversation, the earlier you can shop for their presents the better. Of course, there will always be the manic last minute grocery rush the day before Christmas, but if you get the big ones out of the way (the turkey) it will keep you relatively organised.
3. Buy all of your non-perishables in advance, and plan all your forgettables.
Mums all know the forgettables: the important items that time and time again tend to be forgotten. Wrapping paper, labels, napkins, tape, ribbon, batteries, Christmas crackers, mince for your pies and Christmas cards are all included on this list.
4. Choose a ‘one-stop’ shopping location for ease
Try heading to a store where you can get everything you need in the one place. As mums, you are well used to doing a million-and-one tasks simultaneously, but by making sure that everything is accessible to you, such as the butchers and grocery store, this will save you a lot of time.
5. Parking is key
A military-style operation takes place during the Christmas shop, especially in the car-park. Competing for the best possible spaces which are nearest to the door can be tricky, so figure out the times when your store of choice is as empty as possible.
This will also save you time in the queues at the checkouts, as well as making sure you won’t have to push the loaded trolley too far to your car.
6. Bring an army with you for the big pre-dinner shop
Don’t leave the kids at home! It’s important that you bring enough help with you to the shops, and make sure everyone in the family is doing their part. Have a list of tasks, for example; ‘desserts’, ‘vegetables’, ‘sauces and sides’.
Once you have those, you can divide and conquer in the supermarket. Take it step-by-step, keeping it as simple as possible is always the most beneficial method.
7. Finding the freshest food
Most people do their food shopping as early as possible in the morning, to get the best choice of perishable food items such as vegetables and fruit, as well as meat. Make sure to beat the rush and get down there before the rest of the stressed shoppers!
8. Deals for your meals
Keep an eye on special offers in the shops every week, and nab them while you see them as opposed to waiting until the one day to buy everything. Keep up to date with your favourite store’s routine bargain weeks, such as Black Friday.
9. Online shopping
Never forget the advantages which come with online shopping, you can now order food, meat, drinks and homewear items from the comfort of your own home! What a relief, the thoughts of bracing the packed food store can be too much for many people.
10. Last but not least…
There is a huge amount of people in Ireland who are in need during the winter season. If you can, why not donate some non-perishable items and food to a homeless charity of choice?
Bear in mind, while food shopping during the festive season can be hugely chaotic, it’s important to remember that it’s a holiday about family.
Enjoy it, you’ve earned the most wholesome and delicious meal possible.