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Christmas countdown: 12 weeks to go – what jobs to do this week

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The saying goes ‘it gets earlier every year’ – so whether you just can’t help your s-elf or you’re Grinchily accepting the fact it’s time to start planning, we’ve got everything you need to help you plan the big day.

Today, it is exactly 12 weeks – or 84 sleeps – until Christmas day 2021.

Because last year, many families weren’t able to celebrate together in the way they would like because of ongoing coronavirus restrictions, many are planning for Christmas 2021 to be bigger than ever.

There may still be around three months to go until the big day, but with all the festivities, card sending, and presents to sort out; it’s never too early to start planning.

Someone who is an expert in the importance of planning is Rachel Hallam, a designer and founder of Rachel Ellen Designs who has created a Christmas planner to take the stress out of Christmas planning.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Rachel said: “It is certainly not too early to start planning for Christmas, after all, the sooner you get all the planning and prep done, the sooner you can just enjoy all the magical moments and quality family time Christmas brings.

“Christmas is such a special time as it brings families together to share a meal, play games, catch up over a glass of wine and a mince pie… for us it is all about those beautiful memories created and the sense of togetherness.

“After last year’s difficult Christmas where many of us were apart and almost two years of extremely tough times due to Covid, we are hoping this Christmas will be extra special…with everyone appreciating being together more than ever.”

So, with 12 weeks to go, what should you be doing this week in advance of the big day?

1 – Decide hosting duties

Whether you’re the person who loves to host, or you’re happier putting your feet up while someone else takes the hosting responsibility, the earlier you decide the better.

Once you know when you’re expecting guests – whether you’re taking on the day itself, or choosing to welcome friends and family on Boxing Day – you can begin to plan accordingly.

Rachel says: “It is the perfect time to start forward-thinking about where you and your family will be for the big day.

“If you are hosting Christmas day, start inviting friends and family over, creating a guest list, roughly planning your menu and all the little extras that make Christmas so special. Having a loose plan now will help later down the line!”

It’s not just the day itself either, everyone’s diaries get very full over December, so it’s time to start Christmas party planning too.

Rachel says: “Everyone’s diaries get so busy in the lead up to Christmas, so start planning which friends and family you’d like to get together with and get some dates on your calendar.”

2 – Start buying stocking fillers

If there’s one thing you definitely want to avoid, it’s leaving all your shopping to the last minute.

Rachel says: “It is never too early to start buying some thoughtful presents as spreading the cost over a few months can be really helpful!”

So, if you see something perfect for one of your loved ones, don’t hesitate to pick it up now and put it away until December.

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3 – Check your Christmas card list and addresses

Everyone loves receiving a thoughtful Christmas card in the post.

Although you won’t need to send them for a while yet, it’s a good opportunity to update your address book, and check you have the correct addresses for everyone you’d like to send a card to.

4 – Get a Christmas planner

If you struggle to stay on top of your To-Do list, why not get a Christmas planner to help you stay organised over the festive period?

Rachel says: “So when it came to Christmastime, it always seemed a bit fraught trying to keep on top of everything.

“By having all your planning in one useful place, it takes all the stress out of the big day.

“All your present buying will be ticked off, you can pre-plan all the timings for the Christmas Dinner… now you just have to enjoy the day!

“We decided to design a planner we would love to use ourselves – as well as for our customers. And of course, as designers, it was important to us for it to look beautifully festive too.

“Our planner really does cover all aspects of Christmas planning. There are four useful tabbed sections including space for your Christmas Card List, Present Planning, Festive Feast planning, and a festive calendar to plan all your get-togethers.

“The fabulous thing is we have designed it so it can be used year after year (for up to five years), so no re-writing that Christmas card list every single year – phew!”

Being prepared for Christmas means you don’t have to stress, and you can sit back and enjoy the magic of the festive season.

Rachel says: “If you get all the cards sent, the presents bought and festivities planned then you can just truly relax as Christmas approaches… Having time to snuggle up by the fire with a mince pie or really enjoying watching your children’s nativity play because you don’t have that background worry of your huge ‘To-do’ list!”

Doesn’t that make you feel festive?

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