Thanks to the Instagram-world we live in, all too often it feels like other people have life absolutely nailed while you run around totally flustered in every respect. It’s part and parcel of seeing what other people want you to see and in which filter they want you to see it – and Christmas is the worst of the worst.
There you are, with absolutely nothing done except the Christmas decorations, the clock ticking way fast than it has ever done, while everyone else seems to be relaxed and ahead of the game. Well, even though there is less than a week to go until the big day, there is still time to take a deep breath, rub your earlobes and get as a calm as a cup of chamomile because we have all the tips and trick you need to pull an incredible Christmas last-minute out of the hat.
Last minute gifts, prepping your home for the arrival of your nearest and dearest, keeping the kids entertained either side of the present opening ceremony – we have it all covered. Call it the essential last-minute guide to doing Christmas.
- The Art Of Delegation
All those people that are coming to yours on Christmas Eve will be getting themselves ready, packing their bags and making they have everything they need for their few day stay. And part of that ritual is phoning you to see if there is anything else they can bring or do – it’s part of playing guest – and your answer should be yes. This is your chance to delegate and you should leap at it. Give everyone a role. They will be happy to – or at least they should be happy to. But don’t just rope in your guests, make sure your partner and kids are all helping too.
- More Movies The Merrier
If you haven’t already, this is the perfect time to be signing up for Netflix. Trust us. Of course, you could go down the manual route of downloading loads of movies or stocking up on DVDs from your local charity shops bargain bin, but it will be so much easier – and appeasing – to give that choice to the kids. The reason you want to do this is simple: the adults are going to be super busy with stuff that needs to be done, and movies is a great way to keep the little ones entertained while you big un’s rush around maniacally – delaying the threat of impending present impatience.
- Batteries Are Now Included
For the other 360-whatever days, there is barely any need for batteries. It’s a rarity, which is why you never have any in your drawers. However, at Christmas, the need for lithium sky-rockets. It’s amazing. So, make sure you go and buy pack after pack to stuff in that tidbit designated drawer. There are just so many gadgets and gizmos that will need battery replacing, so many presents that will need power or else be made redundant, and decorations that may need a little top up. Oh, and make sure you get different sized batteries.
- Last-Minute Present Shopping
This is one of those things that seems to catch us out year after year, despite the fact we swore we never let it happen again. However, there is nothing wrong with last-minute shopping. Not in the slightest, so long as you have a plan of attack. Hitting the shops without a clue of what you want is sooooo stressful. But hitting the shops with a brief list of what you want to buy people will make it the best shopping experience of your life because you will find tons of deals. So, before you start panicking and buying everyone Celine Dion’s greatest hits, dedicate an hour to writing a list and doing some research. Look to see if there is a John Lewis code kicking about online, see which stores are offering big discounts, look at what kid’s toys are super-popular, and what trends you can latch onto for guidance. Last-minute doesn’t have to be visible in the gifts you buy. Quite the contrary.
- Fairy Lights Are Godsends
You should never, ever, ever, ever underestimate the glory that is fairy lights. They are the best friend of all last-minute Christmas shoppers. We’ve all been there, rushing around to get everything done before guests arrive, only to realise the entrance to your home – both inside and out – isn’t decorated. The answer: fairy lights. All you have to do is drape these over that small tree outside your door, or throw them over a shrub, or entwine them to your bannister, or whatever and you will have gotten that magical look of ‘wow’ without earning it whatsoever. It’s amazing. It is the best Christmas hack out there.
- Masterful Make-Shift Decorations
Decorations are a huge part of Christmas day. It is what gives people that warm and fuzzy ambience and makes them know this is the most magical day in the most wonderful time of the year. So, if you are somewhat lacking on this front (or just think your decorations are looking a little flat), then your best bet is to grab a bunch of empty boxes, wrap them up, pop a bow around them and then dot them all around your home. Put them on the stairs, on the mantelpiece, in the corner of your kitchen, everywhere you can think of. This is the easiest way to get the upmarket-department-store-Christmas-display-look that will stop you in your tracks every time you walk in from work.
- Don’t Give Up On Cards
There are no excuses for missing the last posting dates; every single website has put up the guide lines and the postal services make it pretty clear when you need to get posting by. Yet, here you are, pulling an odd face that says, “why always me?” But it isn’t all doom and gloom. You can still get that card to your Granny in time, it just involves going online to one of the many E-card companies. Moonpig. Funky Pigeon. Smilebox. Not only will this see them get their card on time, you can even make yours the best by adding some photos for a much more personal touch. Now, that’s how to do Christmas last-minute.
- The Perfect Potpourri
A scent is so important when creating that Christmas vibe. It is what pleases people; it’s what brings you back to a memory years on from now. What’s more, you can make a potpourri yourself and of little bits and bobs in and around your home. You just have to pop into your garden and rifle through your cupboards and, voila, you have everything you need – a few pinecones, a couple of pinches of cinnamon, dried out orange slices, some sprigs of leftover rosemary and, yeah, some vanilla extract because why not. It’s so simple and yet so effective. If you really want this smell to waft through your home, then why not pop all of this onto a baking tray, turn the oven up to about 150 degrees, place it inside and leave the door slightly open so that smell gets to be enjoyed. Mmmmmm. Delicious. Actually, thinking about it, all of these things make great decorations too. Maybe not the cinnamon and vanilla extract, but everything else – and twigs and branches – all make a home even more homely at this time of year, so don’t be afraid to get all creative.
And there we have it, the essential guide for last minute Christmas-ers.