Christine’s Christmas Countdown

Christine - Christine's Christmas Countdown Cover
Image credit: Christine Harrington

Christmas is a wonderful time of year for all the family but making sure it all goes off like clockwork can be a bit (often a lot!) stressful.  We spoke to Christine Harrington, author of The Ultimate Christmas Planning Guide for Busy Mums, and asked her for her top five tips for a stress free Christmas.

This is what Christine told UnderTheChristmasTree:

1.Start preparation early.

Start to make lists in September. Jot down ideas as they come to mind. In a special book or file make lists for presents, cards, jobs to be done in the home and shopping. Remember to get some extra “stand-by” presents for any unexpected, surprise visitors. Try to have present shopping complete by the end of November. At an early stage begin to keep an accurate diary or calendar of commitments. Enter dates and times of events accurately and check regularly. Arrange your entertaining functions early and reply to invites promptly.

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2.Home check.

Do a thorough check of the house as soon as you know which guests are expected, testing radiators, lights and safety of electrical devices in all rooms.

Christine's Christmas Countdown Cover
Image credit: Christine Harrington

3.Think about yourself.

In September decide if you would like to lose weight before Christmas and research diets to find one appropriate for you,at the same time devising ways to increase your exercise. Start earlier rather than later to consider your clothes for all the special events not forgetting accessories, make-up and hair appointments. Self confidence is a good stress reliever!


Lists are most important. Start off by making two lists – a). Routine items required irrespective of it being Christmas. b). Christmas items. Then make two further lists – c). Items that can be purchased well in advance and d). Items that have to be bought just before Christmas. Early booking of internet shopping slots is imperative. Cook and freeze as many food items as possible well in advance. Ensure that you are aware of any special dietary requirements of your guests.

5.Christmas meals.

Again, lists are a must. Have menus written out for each meal. Have notes on when to remove items from the freezer, start cooking times and required cooking times. You can’t go wrong!

About the author: Dr. Christine Harrington is a retired Consultant Dermatologist who now lives in a farmhouse in South Wales where she spends her time gardening. Christine loves nothing more than spending time with her family and dogs, especially over Christmas. Christine’s Christmas Countdown by Christine Ida Harrington (published by Clink Street Publishing, RRP £4.99 paperback) is available to purchase online at retailers including and can be ordered from all good bookstores.

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