Come September, never mind all the cinnamon scented joys of Autumn, my brain goes into Christmas mode and I am possessed by the urge to start dementing you with calls for Festive plans. Why you thought this year would be different I don’t know. Nothing much changes around here: I am a woman driven by gorgeous routine and no amount of refusing to co-operate will change me.
And so it came to pass that yet another September rolled by and the Dear Old Vintage Housekeeper started talking in terms of Seasonal Scrubs and preparing her Christmas box. And her housekeepers still lolling in the gloomy, cosy peace that follows the return of the munch-kins to school and the gathering of the kind of spirit required to face cold toes and constant drafts in the not so distant future , rolled their eyes and dug out their Christmas Planners and prepared themselves to do exactly what they were told, because only by succumbing to the very bossy dictates of the Queen of All That is Domestic could they be sure that a Christmas abundant with joy and peace could be theirs.
You know it makes sense.
And so let me start the tinsel lined race towards the Festive season with ten things you can do right now to get the party started…
1. If you haven’t done so already, set up a Posterous account and start bookmarking every little snippet of Christmas inspiration you happen across in there. Very, very soon all the gorgeous girls across the Vintage blogosphere will start posting Christmas themed crafts and recipes and by bookmarking fabulous finds in Posterous you can be sure you will have a peronalised, searchable encyclopedia of all things Christmassy.
2. Decorate a scrumptiously pretty folder in which to store your Christmas Planner and Christmas Countdown. Make sure you have a zipped file inside in which to store inspiration from the Christmas issues of your favourite magazines and tie a pen onto ribbon so it is always available to make impromptu notes. Make sure your folder is pretty enough to be left in an easily accessible place and you will quickly find that it becomes Christmas Central and this will make all the difference to the production of the pantomime that is every family Christmas.
3. Clear your inspiration board and declare it your Christmas Vision Board. Start pinning images on to it that reflect how you want the Christmas of your dreams to look. Is there a colour scheme? What will you be wearing? A tiara and a pinny or a cosy jumper and a pair of Uggs? Are the gifts you are visualising comforting or decadent? Visualise it, believe it, and make it happen.
4. Have the dreaded conversations. With the children. And your Mother-In-Law. And your partner. And your Mum and Dad. And press them to be absolutely clear about where they plan to be on Christmas day. Get their answer and set it in stone as soon as possible because December the 23rd is a rather dreadful time to hear there will be three extra mouths to feed at the Christmas Dinner table.
5. Clear a shelf in your larder for festive non-perishables so you can make the most of bulk purchasing and early bird festive deals. Add one extra special little something to your trolley every time you shop between now and Christmas to reduce the financial outlay in December.
6. Use Polyvore to create small collages, each one labelled with the name of one of the recipients on your Christmas List. Whenever you buy something on-line for their stocking over the next three months, grab the image with the Polyvore bookmarklet and add it to their personal collage, et voila! You not only have images of everything you have bought for each person (and a note of the cost!) but you can quickly establish gift themes and monitor who needs larger gifts and who only needs stocking fillers to be declared all shopped out for. Genius mais non?
7. Grab a large Mason jar and layer all the dried fruit you plan you put into your Christmas cake in it. Now pour over enough rum or cognac to cover it, tighten the lid and leave to soak in a dark larder until the time comes to stir up your Christmas cake.
8. If you have children it is always nice to include a new photograph of them inside the Christmas cards you send out by mail. So as soon as you can get the kids scrubbed from head to foot and wearing something scrumptious, then take them out and hold a photo session while there is still enough light to grab a good image. Natural images of playful moments are infinitely preferable to anything posed…
9. Start stocking up on Christmas scented aromatherapy oils for adding a festive touch to home-made cleaning products, blends for burning and bath product for gifts. Essentials include cinnamon, frankincense, pine, peppermint, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and sweet orange.
10. Hark back to simpler times. Search Ebay for Vintage Christmas magazines and remember how the festive season used to be before it was hijacked by computer games, arguments and huge expectation.