Prepping for Christmas 2014

Hello All. Welcome to my new re-jigged blog. I've decided that Christmas is the best time for me to rejuvenate my blogging ambitions as it is truly my most favorite time of the year! I've also decided to have a go with a new You Tube Channel and Twitter account, so do please check them out! I've been filming my first video this afternoon so should be up later this week!

Prepping for Christmas 2014

With less than 40 days until Christmas (so EXCITED!!!) I thought this first post could cover my Christmas preparation. Now truth be told, my Christmas preparation started back in September - yes I know that probably sounds insane but this time of year excites me so much I can't wait to get started. I'm hoping however, that some of my ideas might be helpful to those who start planning slightly later in the year.

My first step for Christmas is to agree a total budget with my partner which has to cover everything including any decorations we want to purchase, the Christmas tree as we buy a real one each year, our presents to each other and our presents for all our family and friends.

I do this first so that I know what we can afford to spend. I do it this way so that I plan Christmas within our means rather than writing a list and then having to re-budget.

I tend to budget for Christmas throughout the year putting a set amount aside each month. I find this stops Christmas being such a shock to the bank account, and I probably only end up topping it up a bit.

List of Gift Recipients/Budget
My next step is to write out our list of recipients and divide our budget up between them. We normally start with a rough budget for gifts to each other, and work out the rest from there. I also like to budget for a couple of spare gifts too - the gifts for just in case someone you weren't expecting turns up with a gift for you.

Gift Ideas and Inspiration
I will probably have written some ideas in my Christmas Organiser throughout the year which I will review ahead of Christmas shopping. I also tend to pick things up during the year, particularly while I'm on holiday where you can pick up some more unique items.

For inspiration and gift ideas I pick up all the gift guides in the shops, which tend to start appearing in October. I also dig out my Christmas magazines from years gone by. I tend to buy one or two Christmas magazines each year, and keep them for years to come. Ultimately, Christmas ideas are easily transferable from year to year, and I think last year's Christmas magazines are just as relevant as this years.

I also love to watch some gift guides on you tube and what I got for Christmas videos from the year before. These can be a great source for ideas and reviews too. My favorite gift guides have to be OrganisedlikeJen's - she is definitely the ultimate stocking stufferer!

At the same time as collecting all the Christmas gift guides, I look out for vouchers for stores that I am likely to shop in for Christmas gifts. I can then keep note of these when I am planning my shopping and budget. Any money I save gives me more to spend on that person's gifts.

Shopping Lists
My final step in shopping preparation is to write a list of the things I want to buy, how much I am prepared to pay for it and which stores I can buy them from.

Online Shopping
Using my list I like to buy as much as possible online and as ahead of time as I can. Anything I buy online is one less thing I need to carry round on my shopping day and I also find I can get quite good deals online. I particularly like using voucher websites such as Quidco. Amazon is also a good place to find specific things.

Shopping Centres
I also allocate one day a year in November to a Christmas shopping day with my mum. We both normally take a day off work so we can avoid the weekend rush and get most of our shopping done. It's nice to have a bit of a girly day and I think our other halfs appreciate not having to come!

Christmas Fetes/Fairs
Finally I like to try and get to some Christmas fetes and fairs where I can. They're great for finding little random and unique stocking stuffers and are wonderful for getting me(and my other half) into the Christmassy spirit. They tend to have fantastic festive food offerings too!

So there you have it my attempt at explaining my thought process for all my Christmas shopping. I'd love to hear what you guys do to get yourself ready for Christmas and what you do to get you and your family in the Christmas Spirit!
Talk soon x

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