On the 16th of September it was 100 days until Christmas and everyone is saying now its 12 weeks to Christmas. Is that gasps and shock I hear? And while it may seem early Christmas can be an expensive. I love Christmas and to make it as stress free as possible  a little planning now you can go a long way. So don't get into a blind panic and as the autumn nights are drawing in here's a few things you can be working on!


1. Make a list of everyone you want to give a gift to include everyone kids, parents, friends, colleagues, and don't forget people like teachers, post man, bin man….and anyone else you think of. Try and make a list or at least a budget for each of these people and so any gift purchases are specific rather than buying that little something for someone that sits in the press till next year.

2. Know your budget
We seem to buy food at Christmas like the shops are going to be closed for two weeks. We like to spend money and if we sit down and work out how much we need we can avoid the January credit cards bill. Budget for the food, for that party dress, the decorations, the alcohol, the nights out….be realistic. We've just had September's pay day, October & November pay days try and put some aside based on how much you think you will need. 

3. Make a bit of cash
Look around the house to see what you don't want or don't need anymore. It's a great way to clear the clutter and make some cash. 
Sell last years party dress - there are lots of Facebook groups selling things locally Erris Swap and Sell
Or if you have a car full why not spend the day at the car boot it can be good fun with the kids and they sell their old toys to raise a bit of cash. Castlebar car boot

4. Think Creatively about gifts
You've made your gift list now spend a bit of time thinking about each person and what they like. Personal, thoughtful gifts can bring a lot more joy than a price tag. If they are a foody get them a hamper or craft get them some craft supplies or maybe add to their collection. For a gift that lasts past Christmas thing about a nice gift certificate such as one of our voucher for a course, afternoon tea or our coffee club. If you want to make gifts now is a good time to start. Trying to make something in December means it's unlikely to happen and will stress you out. 

5. Be a Savvy Shopper
At this time of year there are often mid season sales (we will be having one soon). If you shop online put items in your basket and leave them there for a few days before you check out. Often the retailer will send you a discount voucher. Look early for a party dress there are some great sales on now. And most importantly don't leave it to the last minute because you will panic buy and blow your budget. When I worked in Boots the girls on the perfume counter use to run a bet to see who could sell the most expensive bottle of perfume to the guys that had had a few pints after work and needed something for the their partners with the shop about to close. 

6. Decide on a Theme
Think about how you want to decorate your house. Do you want a certain look like vintage or contemporary or do you want a certain colour scheme. Try and add to this little and often. You can run this theme through to your wrapping using things like ribbons etc. Keep checking back on out pinterest page for inspiration.

7. Plan to enjoy it 
Make a plan and stick to it. This will keep things under control, keep the stress levels down and give you time to enjoy it. 

Let the countdown begin! 


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