Festive Foundations

Ribbon Christmas comes but once a year but please try telling that to every frazzled Mummy in the land. With just 34 days to go until the  heavenly headache that is the festive season is upon us , sadly it is time to abandon scrumptious visions of chocolate box Christmases and get down to the nitty gritty of  actually making it happen...

We have already purged our  souls and surfaces. We have  printed lists and downloaded planners to our hearts content. No doubt we have  all clipped perfect Christmases out of  airbrushed lives in our favorite magazines and done our upmost to curtail Christmas wish lists that threaten to bankrupt us... Yes we know Christmas is coming because the happy little elf living inside our heart is dancing with glee while our bones  ache with pre-emptive exhaustion...

Tis time I'm afraid to get this show on the road and lay the foundations of a season we will cherish (and probably laugh about) for always...

Firm Foundations.

* Money is the root of all evil and never more so than at Christmas when the whole world seems to be screaming SPEND! But this year is the year to turn over a new leaf. To say tis the experience of Christmas that counts. The spectacle of it. Memories of mince pie making and dusk walks Christmas tree spotting. Tis the room filled to the brim with snow flake sprinkled balloons left by Santa on Christmas morning that will remain in a childs memory. The delivery of fresh flowers on Christmas Eve in your Mums. If you can't get every gift on your childs list then so be it. Give them memories to treasure, because they are the only things they will take into their future. So resolve here and now not to feel guilty about buying a bigger turkey rather than shoving another bit of plastic junk into your little boys stocking and CONCENTRATE on making magic...

* Plan, plan, plan and plan again. I am naturally a coast it and lets see what happens kinda gal. Money turns up and events on my calender fall into festive place. Most of the time. But along the way I suffer bouts of unnecessary festive anxiety I drown in spiked hot chocolate and then wonder why I find myself without sellotape on Christmas Eve, letting people down left, right and centre  and only dreaming of all the things I think Christmas should authentically be.  Enough already. Make a list. Check it twice and re-invent yourself as a woman with a plan. Should you see me wandering the streets with an earpiece and clipboard just nod and understand.

* Divide what needs to be done over the four weeks. Make your master grocery list and divide it into four shopping trips. Non perishables and household stuff  this week, stuff that can be frozen (or made and frozen) next , sweets and fripperies the third week and all your fresh stuff the fourth. Etc, Etc...

* Now is the time to schedule a pre-christmas scrub. If you are using the planner the two day scrub is detailed there (and can of course be spread across five evenings etc). Christmas is a dusty affair and the last thing you want to do is lay it upon existing grub so trust me having a house thoroughly prepped will make all the difference to  the rest of the month and  go a long way to  making Christmas feel as calm and pure as it should be... What are you waiting for? Tie a happy gingham pinny on and get  going!

*  This really should be the last week to order Christmas presents via mail or internet. I know there is a month left but who wants to leave Christmas in the hands of strike prone postmen or natural disaster? Who needs that kinda stress? So sit down in snuggly jim-jams, wail along with Bing and navigate the confusing muddle (Might be the time to give Shoeboxed a go?) that is trying to think straight when you are shopping online... Do it tonight!

Things To Do This Week.

1. Make your Christmas card lists. Badger men and kids for  names they consider it essential  to greet at Christmas time.  Make sure you've got enough cards and seek out a pretty pen  specially for the purpose. Perhaps a fountain pen with hunter green ink for a calligraphic flourish?

2. Make your mincemeat for strudels and unusual pies and freeze. Then while you are in cooking mode do something deliciously old-fashioned and Christmassy like make Marzipan fruits... 3. Plant paperwhite bulbs in all manner of scrumptious vintage china cups, vases etc for a delicious display during Christmas week (Three to five weeks to bloom indoors so NOW)... And people? Put them everywhere: they cost practically nothing and fill the heart with  gladness.

4.  Buy stamps. Pay or arrange to pay mithering bills. Confirm times of church services, nursery pantomimes and hair appointments. Service the car. You know. Do the dull stuff...

5. Make some Christmas morning Jam to be served with warm croissants and christmas gifts... Choose a breakfast cocktail (cranberry juice and champagne?) and write it on your menu planner or fill homemade vintage paper crackers with white chocolate for a  snowy Christmas morning treat... Who needs Dinner when Christmas Day breakfast is going to be such a treat?