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Countdown to Christmas

Christmas Day is a holiday in many, but not all, countries. Many homes have Christmas trees and other decorations in the weeks leading to Christmas Day. Some workplaces hold Christmas parties before December 25. Festive activities include exchanging presents, singing Christmas songs, and going to parties.

It's a special time when children get presents from family, friends Santa Claus, or Father Christmas. Christmas cards are also given or sent out before Christmas Day.

For some, Christmas is an exclusive family affair, while others invite friends to a Christmas buffet or potluck meal. Churches have special services and may include a crèche or miniature Nativity scene.


1. Work out a budget

Before you even start thinking about getting ready for Christmas, you need to work out your budget so that you can prepare wisely. Remember to involve everything you will need. This includes; food, decorations, presents, outings, obligatory tacky jumpers…even postage stamps for Christmas cards, and parking at the shopping centre. Work out what you will need to spend and where and write it all down. You can then get a better idea of how to manage your money, without any unnecessary splurges closer to the big day.

2. Start filling in your calendar

December and the lead-up to Christmas are manic. Make sure you start filling in your calendar and diary with everything from parties to school events, family gatherings, term times, and anything else that might slip your mind. If you have kids at school, make sure to include when they break up and any festive plays that might be thrown. Are you planning on ordering a turkey? Make a note of when you can order and when you can pick it up. Don’t be scared of being pedantic. Go as far as jotting down the days to do the big Christmas food shop – the more organized you are now, the better it will be then.

Don't forget about Dinner Thyme's Special Themed Events through December and the New Year!

3. Decide who is hosting Christmas Day

If you know you are going to be hosting, you have even more reason to prepare early. Have the conversation now so you and they can be fully prepared. They might need to tell other friends and family members that they will be having Christmas Day at yours, so the more notice that can be given to all parties, the better.

4. Who’s coming? 

Now you know you will oversee Christmas Day, you need to get on that guest list! Figuring out who and how many people will be attending will help you get organized. Make your list (check it twice) and start inviting people – the sooner the better. Will some guests need to stay over? If so, start planning what you and they will need. Things like extra toilet rolls, spare beds, bedding, deciding who will be sleeping where, etc.

5. Send out the invitations

It’s never too early to send out those invites. Let your nearest and dearest know now that you are hosting Christmas Day, and get numbers in. You don’t want to start preparing for 20 people, only to find out in a month that half of the intended guests have already had another invitation. While you are extending the invite, find out if any of your guests have food allergies or preferences. If you have a family of vegetarians coming, you will need to ensure there is enough food available that they can eat – bonus, it could mean more turkey for you!

6. Start present shopping early

There’s no time like the present(!) for this one. Some very smart shoppers buy their gifts during the sales; either on Boxing Day from the previous year or in the summer. We can’t all be that organized though, and, to be honest, getting a head start now still makes you more organized than about 90% of the population. Remember that between now and Christmas are the infamous Black Friday sales. This is the perfect opportunity to stock up on a whole host of presents. Do your research thoroughly. Make a list of everyone you need to buy for (remember the kid’s teachers, colleagues at work, and maybe even the dog). Taking your time will help you choose presents wisely and carefully – and you won’t have to worry about delivery times!

7. Look up your recipes

Thanks to celebrity chefs, cooking programs are in abundance and seem to constantly be on TV. We love the Christmas specials, which are repeated year after year, and always have such great ideas for the big day. Record any Christmas specials that you like the look of, scour websites and food blogs for interesting recipes, and ask friends and family for any special festive recipes of theirs that you have loved in previous years. Start stockpiling those recipe ideas now and listing the ingredients so you can be prepared well in advance.

Join our Recipe Database Archive for hundreds of recipes & cookbooks!

8. Prepare food early where you can

Are there any components of your Christmas feast that can be prepared in advance and frozen? With some food, such as gravy and stuffing, you can prepare it, cook it, and freeze it a few months in advance, so that all you need to do on Christmas Day is defrost and reheat! Are there a lot of dry ingredients you can buy now so you don’t have to worry about them in December? Make a list and head to the shops, then create an area in your cupboards, especially for Christmas food prep. When can you order your turkey? Speak to your butcher or supermarket of choice and find out their Christmas ordering dates. Get on the culinary case!

9. Check Canada Post delivery times

Sending out Christmas cards and presents to your nearest and dearest around the world, can always be a bit stressful – due to how manic the post office becomes over the festive season. If you are sending out a lot of cards this year, buy your stamps now, so you don’t have to worry about those nightmarish queues in December. The same goes for sending presents and parcels. Let friends and family know that their presents will be arriving early, and put them away for Christmas morning. Check the Royal Mail delivery times and start preparing and getting everything out before the rush.

And most importantly; Book your holiday events with Dinner Thyme! We are looking for the balance of 2023 and Spring/Summer 2024.

Cheers, and have a happy hump day!

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