No more Christmas panic

28 November 2013

In a season full of merriment, office parties and the like, it can be easy to run out of time to get ready for it all. So we've compiled some shortcuts & tips, leaving you more time for festivities.

Secret Santa – Quality not Quantity

The best thing, quite possible, about a Secret Santa is that you can remain anonymous. It always helps remove some of the pressure, especially if it's for an office party and you, of course, managed to get the CEO. It is also a great excuse to buy for less people without offending anyone, so I do recommend doing one with your friends as well. Now we all know how the rules work but here's a handy website which helps generate the "givers" and "givees". You can even use this tool to drop some oh-so-subtle hints to your secret Santa about what's on your wish list for this year.

Christmas Cards – Put down the Pen!
Christmas card writing can be a tiresome task. I would suggest that for grandparents and/or parents, to stick to the paper variety - especially the cards bearing a sentimental poem inside (they love that!). For everyone else, why not be a little more imaginative and send a festive snap chat of you carolling perhaps?  If you're looking to send to a larger audience, how about opting for the classic Elf e-card?  Find minutes of endless fun here

Recycle Gifts
In the age where vintage has gained such momentum, it is totally okay to "give a gift again" as I've coined it. This method works particularly well for unwanted items you've received in the past such as photo frames, candles or gift cards.  However if you can't remember who gave you the gift, do not give it again! Nothing is more awkward than "I liked the present you gave me last year so much, I want you to have it back." You have been warned...

Sky plus
There is no doubt that some of the best telly is shown during the festive period.  Flash forward to Boxing Day and you're sprawled on the sofa, still with mild food concussion, and you've forgotten to record your favourite Christmas programme. Whether it be the Home Alone 3 (come on people, it's still a classic!), the Eastenders Christmas omnibus or the Downton Abbery Christmas special - series link those bad-boys now to avoid disappointment. You know it makes sense!

Skip the queues
Rarely has anything resembled an obstacle course quite like the pre-Christmas grocery shop.  We feel your pain. An excellent way of avoiding this ordeal is to order online. Pre-booking your Christmas delivery slot now will not only save you time, but means you aren't standing in Tesco in your pyjamas on Christmas eve fighting over the last bag of Brussels sprouts. Get ahead of that game!

And finally, what may seem like an obvious one, but perfect your wrapping technique.  Granted this sounds like a more obvious one, but can be the downfall for many. Don't be naive and think you can complete the task without a dispenser for your Sellotape! I have lost precious minutes trying and failing find the end of the tape.... If you need some tips, the undisputed masters of Christmas, John Lewis, have provided a foolproof guide here

Quick tip: Take advantage of the offers in shops right now to stock up on several boxes of generic chocolates or a mini Poinsettia for an extended family member or that next door neighbour you don't know that well at all. You’ll be in the good books for all of 2014! #popularkidontheblock

Ellen Modin

Ellen Modin