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Getting ready for the festive season
Posted by Hayley Gilbert Monday, 12th December 2016
So the countdown has begun and it’s only two weeks until Christmas. But don’t panic if you’ve not started planning yet – there’s still time. Our handy checklist will help you get organised in the days to come so that when the big day arrives, you can relax with the family and enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Starry Night collection from Sophie Allport: napkins, £13; nibbles bowl, £9; glass star tray, £14; table runner, £18; placemats, £27 for four; candlestick holders, from £7, www.sophieallport.com
TWO WEEKS TO GO…
Have you ordered the turkey? For most of us, the turkey is the main event so think about the size you need and get your order in. Are there any vegetarians or vegans coming to dinner? Make sure they have something exciting to eat by planning something special. There are some fantastic recipes on this website – go to the ‘Owners’ tab in the heading section and click on ‘Recipes. Ideas & Inspiration’.
Make sure you’ve posted all your Christmas cards and any presents that can’t be delivered in person. Be prepared for queues at the Post Office so aim to get there first thing.
Now’s the time to also buy the tree and get the decorations out. Make it a family day and head to your local forest or farm, where you can choose your own. You can find your nearest supplier at www.pickyourownchristmastree.org.uk. Freshly cut trees should last well into the New Year if regularly watered.
Think about your Christmas theme. Many of us have a tradition of using the same decorations every year but you can easily update it by adding a few new baubles and taking some of the older ones away. Get everyone involved in dressing the tree. Make mugs of hot chocolate with marshmallows and put some Christmas tunes on.
Hang festive fairy lights indoors and out. Even a simple string of white lights strung around the branches of a tree can look really effective after dark.
Take a morning or afternoon to sit down with a cuppa and make a food shopping list. If you’ve already ordered online and managed to get a good delivery slot, you’re on your way. If not there’s always click and collect or get some help if it all needs to be done in-store in one go. Delegate to members of the family – put someone in charge of drinks, another in charge of nibbles and so on to make it easier and more manageable.
Have a think about how you’d like the table settings to look on Christmas Day. If there are any linens you have tucked away, get them out now and make sure they are washed and pressed. Do you have enough glasses, cutlery, crockery and serving dishes? There’s still time to pop out and buy some inexpensive white dishes if needs be.
Festive bakeware, from a selection at John Lewis, www.johnlewis.com
ONE WEEK BEFORE…
If you’re planning on doing some baking, check the cupboards to see which ingredients you still need to buy. Bake and store anything freezable.
Check the calendar to make sure you don’t forget anything you’ve planned along the way, such as family gatherings, drinks with the neighbours, children’s carol concerts, the pantomime and any other events.
Do you have all the baking trays, pots, pans and containers you need? Have a quick check and if anything’s missing, ask friends or family if you can borrow theirs.
Scoot everyone out of the house and spend the day wrapping presents. It’s much less stressful if you don’t have to keep hiding things when they walk in. Use the dining table and have a box of ribbon, bows and pretty tags at the ready then find a good place to hide it all.
If any gifts need to be hand delivered, pop out and play Santa while you’ve got the time to stop for a sherry or two.
Pewter metal lantern, £19.99; Hotel Canterbury white 16-piece dining set, £74.99, Dunelm, www.dunelm.com
If you’ve bought a frozen turkey, take it out of the freezer and leave to thaw somewhere cool like the garage for 24 hours.
Prepare the potatoes and parsnips, carrots and sprouts and keep in cold water overnight.
Dress the dining table ready for Christmas dinner the next day. Make it as elaborate as you like – there’s no such thing as an overdone table on this occasion.
Stoneware dinner plate, £43 for four; side plates, £35 for four, Cottage in the Hills, www.cottageinthehills.com
Head over to any local Christmas concerts or church services to get in the festive mood and remember what Christmas is really about.
Make up the children’s stockings once they’ve gone to bed, pour yourself a drink and put your feet up.
Once the big day arrives, don’t stress about anything as it will all come together and it really doesn’t matter if the parsnips are ready before the carrots. Get everyone involved as much as possible so you’re not stuck out in the kitchen on your own and let the fun begin. This is the one day of the year when we can really relax and spend time with our loved ones.
Snowshill wreath plate, £12; Croft linen napkin in loch blue, £5; Croft collection Colonsay cutlery, John Lewis, www.johnlewis.com
All that’s left to say is to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at Rangemaster!
Wish You A Merry Christmas sign, £6, The Contemporary Home, www.tch.netShare