Is it too early to start thinking about Christmas?

And whoosh . . . . there goes summer!

September is here and the kids are back to school. Which means that Christmas is on its way!


2021 has been a strange and kind of timeless year in many ways. But now that we are gradually returning to some kind of normality, it’s good to have some familiar things to focus on. And Christmas is definitely one of those things.

So why not make 2021 the year when you are actually prepared for Christmas well in advance? Like you always wanted to be? The more you can prepare in advance, the less stress and hassle there will be when Christmas actually arrives. And there also are many aspects of Christmas where you can save money by sorting things out earlier rather than later.

So let’s do this!

Here are our seven secrets to getting Christmas sorted.


1. Plan what you are doing

We probably all feel a bit reluctant to do much planning, given the uncertainties that erupted last Christmas. But for this year, let’s work on the assumption that there will not be any restrictions in place. So you need to decide within your family who is going to host, where and when.

As part of this, be honest – at least to yourself – what you would really like to do to enjoy the festive season. There may well be compromises to be made, but try to ensure that for at least part of the time you get to be where you want to be with the people you want to be with.

Also make sure you know the dates of all significant events, such as family celebrations, work parties, school Christmas plays and carol services, so that you can ring fence them in the diary and not risk double booking.


2. Set a budget

Before you spend a single penny it’s really important to work out how much money you will have to spend. So make a list of absolutely everything you need to spend money on. Include presents, cards, postage, food, drink, decorations, travel and social events; and estimate how much money you will need to spend on each of them.

You now need to work out where to get the money from. Ideally you will have been saving money throughout the year. But many of us intend to do this then never get around to it. But you still have three months left so at this stage you can spread the cost of Christmas to some extent.

If you will still be short of money you have three main choices as to how to finance Christmas:


  • Reduce your spending to what you can afford

If times are tight, as they are for many due to the pandemic, you may just need to be realistic and reduce your expectations in terms of spending this Christmas. It doesn’t mean you won’t still have a fabulous time, just that your gifts and socialising may need to be a little more modest than you might have wanted. But it will be worth it to avoid sliding into debt.


  • Find ways to make more money

You have a bit of time on your side so there may be opportunities to raise extra funds by, for example, taking on extra work, doing odd jobs or selling unwanted goods. See our article How to make a success of selling on eBay for hints and tips about how selling goods can boost your income.


  • Take out a loan for Christmas

A third option is to take out a small loan specifically to fund Christmas. This could work out better than running up your credit card. You would have a fixed amount of money to spend and a clear plan about how and when you need to pay it back. 

You need to be very careful not to take on debt that you cannot repay. But if the issue is one of cash flow rather than affordability, a short term loan could be an option to consider.


3. Get your shopping done

It sounds obvious but the sooner you start your Christmas shopping, the sooner you will finish. So get shopping! Starting early will also help you to keep within your budget, as you will avoid last minute panic buying.

So make a list of the people you need to buy for, and set a spending target for each one. Then get going. Remember to look at different places to buy your gifts – for example outlets, online auction sites, and charity shops. Do your research and get the best gifts you can for the price you can pay.

Why not also wrap as you go, and save yourself that load of hassle later? You just need to earmark a shelf or box for wrapped gifts, and remember to label them so you don’t forget whose is which!


4. Organise your cards

However many – or few – Christmas cards you send, it’s a chore we like to get out of the way. So check your Christmas card list to see how many you need, then see if you have any left from last year that you could use. You will then know how many you need to buy: don’t worry they’re already in the shops!

Once you have your cards why not write one every day so that you don’t have to do them all at once? If you like to send out Round Robin letters with your cards you can still write the card and address the envelope and just leave it unsealed until nearer the time. Then simply add your letters, seal the envelopes and get them posted.

Just think how smug you will feel to actually beat the last posting dates this year!


5. Sort out your house

It’s so easy to get sucked in by all those magazine picture perfect Christmas images we have in our minds. Then we look around our own homes and want to cry! 

But this year just aim for your home to be clean and comfortable and you won’t go far wrong. It’s a great idea to start doing a declutter and deep clean of one room at a time. Perhaps one every weekend from now on. Then as we get nearer Christmas you can go round them all again just making sure everything is in order, particularly if you are having guests to stay.

Which means that by December you will hopefully have a lovely clean uncluttered home, ready to fill with all those decorations and Christmas gifts without feeling stressed about dirt and mess. You will have time to enjoy relaxing in your Christmassy home, rather than rushing around trying to fit a year’s maintenance and cleaning into the last couple of days before Christmas.


6. Plan your recipes and shopping

Whether you are hosting guests or just staying home as a family, planning your Christmas recipes and food shopping will help you to save money

There are many items that can be bought or prepared in advance. For example this year “Stir Up Sunday” – when traditionally Christmas puddings are made – is on Sunday November 21st. But you’ll find that many items such as Christmas puddings and cakes can be bought before that date and will last though the Christmas season. As well as a wide variety of tins, jars, dried and frozen goods.

So when planning your recipes, also think through what you could buy in advance. If you start buying just a couple of Christmas items with every food shop from now on, you will soon build up a supply of Christmas goodies hopefully without noticing the cost too much.


7. Eat, drink and be merry!

Last but definitely not least! If you can manage to make an early start and get going on all the above things, chances are that when it comes to Christmas itself, you will actually be able to sit down, relax and have a bit of fun.

So why not make this the year when you get Christmas sorted well in advance and can then enjoy every minute of the wonderful Christmas season!


We hope that our seven secrets help you to really enjoy Christmas this year. 

Check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Simple Fast Loans.