With the countdown Christmas on, we ask Thi Dinh, Event Director at The Spirit of Christmas Fair, to share her 10 best tips for a stress-free festive season.
Christmas is calling!
Don’t stress this Christmas season and follow our guide to getting prepared early this Christmas!
Thi Dinh, Event Director at The Spirit of Christmas Fair, which returns to Olympia London 4th November – 10th November shares her expert advice to ensure you are organised in plenty of time.
1. Guest List
Amongst all the lovely Christmas festivities, family politics is one thing we can all do without. Now is a great time to discuss about hosting or making invitations whilst there is plenty of time to get organised. To avoid leaving anyone behind, discuss plans with your family members and compare diaries.
2. Make a Menu
With the craziness of the Christmas season, take some of the stress off yourself by preparing a dining menu. This will give you time to figure out what your guests like to eat and all the ingredients you will need to be purchasing. Having all the proper items on Christmas morning can keep you from losing your Christmas spirit and allow for the day to go smoothly.
3. Book Christmas Events
Christmas events attract the masses. If you enjoy the Christmas markets or panto, make sure you book the festivities in advance before it is too late. The UK’s biggest Christmas shopping event, the Spirit of Christmas Fair, is returning to London, 4th November until 10th November with their widest ever collection, there’s even more to see and do! Ring up your friends, book your tickets and start planning your visit!
4. Start your gift lists and buying early
It is never too early to write your gift list and start your shopping especially if you have a big family or a notoriously difficult partner to buy for, we highly recommend starting your lists now! Gifts can get repetitive so if you want to make more meaningful purchases, start taking notes. Luxury sunglasses that broke on holiday, birthday gifts that your friends were disappointed they didn’t receive, toys your children were mesmerized by when going to visit someone’s house or in a shop. By planning in advance, you will also have time to personalise gifts such as monograming or opt for bespoke pieces. Gifts with a personal touch are widely popular. When you start your shopping early, you are more likely to stick to your lists. It helps you be more thoughtful about your purchases when you have more time on your hands, rather than feeling like you HAVE to purchase average gifts because you waited too late to start shopping.
5. Be the First in Line
You get to avoid the stress of Christmas chaos and shop at your own leisure when it is less hectic. Plus, the shops are more likely to be tidier and better displayed, making it easier for you to find what you’re looking for, during off-peak times. Expect the unexpected and be prepared for any curveballs thrown your way. Ordering gifts through the post may take longer than anticipated, especially during the holidays, so allow a generous time buffer for your snail mail. Or, perhaps you’ll find that you and a friend had the same gift idea for someone. Leave yourself enough time to make changes in case something unforeseen comes up!
6. Book Your Flights Early
If you are going two wheels up on a runway this Christmas, it’s best to book now! Last year 4.5 million Britons flew overseas at Christmas* and with that demand to compete with, it is of best interest to book your flight early to ensure your plans are not compromised because you couldn’t get a seat on the plane!
7. Schedule your Beauty Appointments Early
Not many places are crazier than a beauty salon the weeks before Christmas and the party season.
Because of this reason, hairdressers often urge clients to think ahead and get booked in early for December. In a popular salon there is no capacity for last minute requests during the Christmas countdown. Know your diary and make your Christmas appointment during your summer visit to the salon.
8. Buying for your partner’s family
Buying for your partner’s family can be extremely tricky, particularly at Christmas: you want to make a good impression all-round, but your budget isn’t limitless so where do you draw the line? Follow in your partners footsteps. If they are purchasing gifts for family members, it’s probably a great idea to have them covered from your side too. It is helpful to stick to the immediate family, you really don’t need to worry about the great aunt or cousin who visits once a year. If in doubt, I would suggest getting a joint present with your partner to their parents and siblings. And if you are spending Christmas with their family, one clever trick to keep things under control is to suggest Secret Santa-style gifting, that way everybody is clear on how many gifts they need to buy, who they’re buying for, and there is no worrying about budgets! It also makes gifting more fun!
9. Handmade Gifts
Not all Christmas gifts and items are a fast and simple purchase. If you have the idea of a knitted blanket or Christmas jumper in mind, you won’t be the only one! Make sure you get yourself in an orderly queue. Knitwear has boomed on the festive scene in recent years and if you have plans to commission a hand knitter for something truly personal, ensure you give them more than enough time to fulfill your order. Large items take time and Christmas will be a peak time where they will be extremely busy juggling many orders. And of course, if you’re knitting your own Christmas gifts – best to start sooner rather than later to save you knitting up until midnight on Christmas Eve!
10. Be Prepared – “Emergency” Gifts
Everybody should have a ready supply of “emergency” gifts in the event of one-sided gifting, or when you’ve simply forgotten – nobody needs to ever know. Look for gender-neutral gifts such as food hampers, or wines and champagnes but the key to not making it look like a last-minute supermarket buy (one of the two biggest faux pas in gifting), is to go for boutique brands, so pick some up when at shopping fairs or on holiday. And never, under any circumstances, re-gift presents you’ve been given (introducing faux pas number 2!) – these have a laughable habit of making their way round to the original giver as they often tend to be used as emergency gifts in the first place!
The Spirit of Christmas Fair offers Christmas shoppers endless inspiration with an unrivalled collection of independent boutiques all under one off and there’s 825 to choose from! The Spirit of Christmas Fair first launched in 2001 and around 50,000 visitors flock to the fair annually. www.spiritofchristmasfair.co.uk