If you ask me, the answer is simple. No. No, it’s not too early. I absolutely love Christmas! I love the dark nights, the sparkling lights, Christmas markets, mulled wine, afternoons spent in PJs under the duvet watching films and drinking hot chocolate. Yes, I love all the standard Christmas clichés but, for me, that’s what Christmas is about.
Most people will say they hate the run up to Christmas and that it’s still far too early for the shops to have Christmas gifts and decorations in. Almost everyone I’ve ever spoken to says that they hate Christmas shopping and how you can barely move in any of the shops. One of my best friends detests Christmas and literally everything about it. And yes, for the next 6 weeks, he is going to hate me too (even more so now that I have bought him a festive t-shirt).
Sitting in Starbucks enjoying my toffee nut latte in its magical red cup, I was thinking about how to help other people enjoy Christmas almost as much I do. So I wrote down a list of all the things people seem to hate and thought I’d write a list of ways that help me to avoid those nightmares.
So, my top tips for getting more out of Christmas and enjoying the festive period are here:
1. Do your Christmas shopping now – make the most of the fact that shops have all the Christmas gift sets out already and buy your loved ones’ presents now. There are three main benefits in doing this; you’ll make sure that the gifts you’re looking for are still in stock; you’ll avoid the manic pre-Christmas rush and ridiculous queues; and you’ll be buying gifts from this month’s wages which means more money in December. Bonus! (Just FYI, I did all my Christmas shopping yesterday #sorrynotsorry).
2. Keep costs down – get creative and make stuff. Christmas doesn’t have to be expensive. People always say that it’s the thought that counts and it’s totally true. Think of it this way; if your best friend only spent £2.50 on you for Christmas would you be annoyed? Or would you just feel all warm and fuzzy about the fact that they care about you enough to have been thinking of you when they were Christmas shopping? If your answer was “annoyed” then there’s probably not much hope for you! There’s loads of ideas on Pinterest for cheap, homemade Christmas presents and I’m part way through a post of my favourite handmade gift ideas so keep an eye out for that too.
3. Embrace the weather – UK weather is crap at the best of times but if you learn to embrace it, it doesn’t seem quite so bad. If it’s raining, grab your wellies and raincoat and walk through the puddles (by walk through, I obviously mean jump in) and kick the fallen leaves around like you did when you were younger – getting soaked isn’t as bad if you’re prepared for it. Plus, coming home to warm, dry clothes and a cuppa seems so much better afterwards!
4. Spend time with friends and family – ’tis the season and all that so what better time to catch up with people? Especially if you’ve done all of you Christmas shopping by mid November, you should have loads of free time. Taking a step back from the hustle and bustle to grab a glass of wine in the pub or have a cup of tea and mince pie with your nana is the perfect way to unwind and stay stress free this Christmas. A lot of people do get caught up in how commercialised Christmas has become; try and remember, whether you’re religious or not, that it’s not just about spending money but about spending time too.
5. Finally, STOP BEING A SCROOGE! – once the Christmas shopping is done, you’re free to dive head first into the Christmas spirit. You no longer need to rush around and elbow your way through crowds. You can take your time, go for a walk on a frosty morning, peruse the Christmas markets and indulge in a mug of mulled wine, go ice skating or, if you’re feeling particularly energetic, do all three in one day. You don’t need to think about what still needs to be bought and how you’re going to carry it all on the tube home (a problem I had yesterday). The more you try to be festive, the more fun you’ll have and the more fun you have, the more you’ll love Christmas (and, for my Christmas-hating friends, the more I’ll love you!)
Number 5 isn’t actually my last top tip, so this post should really be called “Six Top Tips to Make the Most of Christmas” but, it’s a little late for my sixth tip to be of any use (sorry!) Christmas can be really expensive which, for a lot of people, only adds to the stress; I put £100 to one side each month all year round so, by the start of November I have around £1,000 “more” than I would have at this time of year. That, combined with my love of handmade gifts means that Christmas has very little impact on me financially in November/December. But like I said, it’s a bit late for that now – maybe you can try it next year?
Whether you want to get excited about Christmas now or not, hopefully these tips will help you enjoy it more and your Christmas to-do list will look more like this: