Saturday, 18 September 2010

Planning Ahead

Yes, it's that time of year already for me. Time to get the books out for ideas and inspiration and begin to makes notes. The odd little present or pack of cards has already come home with me and I feel no shame. I have learned my lesson the hard way several times. Preparation is the key.

I know - the leaves have hardly begun to turn yet have they? But I realised a few years ago, being the only female in the house, that if we (and me) are going to have the festive season we all enjoy then I just can't leave things until the advent calendars are opened.

As a working mum time is very short and although we have a small family and we like a pretty simple, traditional Christmas, there is still plenty to do and September marks the beginning of the preparations. And I enjoy it. I refuse to be a martyr to it. No one makes me do it and as my lovely dad has always said "Christmas is what you choose to make it" and for our family we like to be happy, joyful and relaxed.
I do find the whinging and moaning about Christmas quite tiring, especially as for most of us it's the only time of the year we truly stop and celebrate. I do appreciate it can be a difficult time of year for some, but I have noticed that it's often men who moan. Is it just me who wonders if there would be Christmas at all if women didn't get organised?

Yes the department stores are selling decorations already and it seems earlier every year, but there's a choice isn't there? (especially for those who don't actually have to do anything!) I just steer clear and don't go into these shops often and I choose not to be bothered by it. In our little town it's actually just the charity and card shops who have a few things out.

I might buy a tin of chocolates to stash away and begin to buy presents because spreading the cost has changed how I look at Christmas. I save a small amount of money over the year and I pick up a few things as the weeks roll by,  but the supermarket mince pies can definitely stay where they are!.

Everyone is different, some people enjoy the thrill of the last minute frenzy but I find that quite hard, so I do a little bit here and there so that come December I can enjoy, enjoying it when the time comes. I'm no domestic goddess though and there's always last minute things to do but I like to feel in control of it - if I can!
So this is my little stash of inspiration and ideas and I like to find a new festive book each year around now.  This one is on its way to me http://thefarmchicks.typepad.com/farmchicks/our-christmas-book/ but I'd love to know if you have some favourite Christmas books, especially any vintage/interiors ones that make you anticipate the season to come. What are your favourites?

43 comments:

Carrie said...

I sooo agree! Every year there are complaints about how commercialised Christmas has become but you don't have to join in. As you say, celebrate in the way you want and that can be simple, homely and heartfelt.

French Knots said...

Your post made me smile as I am doing the same thing, Tilda's Crafting Christmas Gifts is sitting next to the laptop and I've been making some sketches in my journal of presents I'm planning to make. Christmas is what you make it, and a bit of planning ahead makes it more enjoyable and anticipated for me too.x

loveandlilac said...

I was in Selfridges in London yesterday and cringed when I had to go through the Xmas dept to get to the Ladies. But then I went to V V Rouleaux and bought some gorgeous ribbon and trimmings to start making things. My Xmas this year is going to be homemade not shop bought!

Louise x

VintageVicki said...

I've given it some thought and have knitted quite a few gingerbread houses as pressies. Serious thought will start next month and maybe even some shopping will happen.

There will definately be a homemade element to our christmas and not a mass produced one.

All things bright and beautiful... said...

I liked this post because you made me feel normal - lol. I like it nearly all done by Dec 1st so I can really enjoy the season and not be racing around like a mad thing. During Decemeber I just have to wrap the presents, and pretty the house - nice stuff- and fetch my fresh stuff like the turkey. I think it stems from when I was teaching - we always tried to "do" our own Christmas in October half term so that we could enjoy the nativity prep and school Christmas etc knowing home was all prepared.
Like you I am the only girl in the house!
Lynn.

dottycookie said...

Hurrah, I'm not alone. I do sometimes gaso when I realise I spend perhaps a quarter of my life thinking about Christmas. But it is my favourite time of year so ...

Amanda said...

Love this post, because it makes many of us feel 'normal'. I've ordered some back copies of the december mags, country living etc, I love the build up. Last year I treated myself and had some copies of the American Romantic homes and Bliss Victoria magazines, gorgeous ideas. I've also had the Tilda Sew pretty Christmas homestyle, I want to make the angel pigs.

Rubys mamma x said...

Ah Steph thats a lovely post. Today i plan to start wrapping the things ive bought so far-id say im half bought. I tend to go out with my mum and step mum a couple of weeks before xmas and they each choose their one 'posh' present from us, rather than me buying them another bottle of perfume!
I save a little each month for three months before xmas to allow for it and its a lovely day out-we stop for lunch and hot chocolate-its lovely-and stress free-no wandering what to get them.
Ive picked up tonnes of stocking bits from boot sales this year, plus some larger things which are just like new-an etch a sketch for ruby for 1.50 and three 'fur real' animal babies for the both of my girls for a fraction of the shop price!
I hope that when december comes i'll be able to fully enjoy it all(we have an extra special reason to be prepared before hand this year-SSShhh!)
Lots of love xxx

Pipany said...

Hurray for Steph! You have said what so many of us feel I suspect. I am fed up with feeling like I have to pretend about all this. If you work, have a family or just want to get ahead this is the way to go and I love it! I am expecting to be unbelievably busy leading up to Christmas with orders if last year is anything to go by, so I need to start making as soon as poss for gifts. Luckily Davey also knits now and also makes a few other things such as soaps, gorgeous lotions and sews a bit too. We really love it all. Great post Steph (and I will stop rambling now and go!!) xx

Pipany said...

Oh meant to say I love the riginal Delia's Christmas book because it has such a lovely traditional feel x

Penelope said...

Well, I am on your side with enjoying thehomemade, handmade build up to christmas. I just don't mention it to my husband and so his feathers don't ruffle and when it all comes together he thinks it's run as smooth as a smoothie! (hee hee little does he know!)
I pulled out some of my Country Living festive mags from years befre ad am already drooling over them again. I love tour new book purchase , me thinks Imight make a visit to Mr. Amazon soon xox

Hen said...

There's no reason not to be organised, Steph, I agree. I have already bought this year's Christmas fabric stash, all ready for me to get cracking and make some goodies. I love the look of that book, thanks for alerting me to that one.
Hen xxx

Belinda said...

Every year I say I'll be organised and every year I seem to fail - so this post is a timely reminder and spur to get ahead! We are a big family with 3 birthdays between now and the Big Day so it's easy to get sidetracked!Onwards and upwards!

harmony and rosie said...

Do you know I hadn't even thought about Christmas, I am definitely one of those who finds it creeps up alarmingly quickly and I tell myself that I'll be organised for the next one. So glad I popped in today because you've given me a nice gentle nudge. And I love love love the look of that book you mentioned, must indulge that's for sure!

Clara said...

You are so right planning ahead and to make it simple and catered to your home and likes and dislikes. Christmas has become so commercialized it can easily lose it's meaning and joy. It's the love, atmosphere, family and friends that make it special. Making our own gifts makes it extra special.

Madelief said...

Hi,

I see you have a few cookery books in your pile, which I have as well. I think the Christmas cookbook by Delia is a good one as is the book by Nigella! Looking forward to hear what your choice for this years Christmas dinner will be!

Happy weekend!

Madelief

The Fairy Glade said...

I am so with you on this one. There is nothing worse than rushing around at the last minute. I am doing homemade again this year and have already made 6 crochet garlands. I left myself a bit short time wise last year, but I won't be caught out this time. I have already bought some pretty cards and wrapping paper. Any excuse to get the books out I say! Dev x

andamento said...

A nice collection of Christmas books, have you a favourite?

Lyn said...

What a lovely post. I adore Christmas ad this year I would like to make it more of a home made one. Good idea to start so soon.
love
Lyn
xxx

barb's creations said...

I started my christmas crafting in febuary,just making a few things here and there and popping them into my Christmas gift box.Will start wrapping them up soon and then I'll start thinking about what we'll be eating on the day and getting organised for that as well.I agree we need to be organised,I'm like you and work outside the home and my hubby is the same as your and I suspect most hubbies are lol.Thanks for this post it makes me feel like I'm normal :) Barb.

Gingham and Flowers said...

This is such a lovely post because I think it's how so many of us really feel about Christmas. It's going to be a bit odd for us this year and I can't do the normal prep ahead that I like. Our new baby will be here before Christmas. Should have been just before Christmas actually but due to a few complications it will be early, any time from now infact! So I can't do what I normally do in the run up but it is not stopping me from thinking about Christmas and at least enjoying hearing about everyone elses preparations. And I know that next year I will definitely be following a routine similar to the one you describe. Fiona x

Gingham and Flowers said...

This is such a lovely post because I think it's how so many of us really feel about Christmas. It's going to be a bit odd for us this year and I can't do the normal prep ahead that I like. Our new baby will be here before Christmas. Should have been just before Christmas actually but due to a few complications it will be early, any time from now infact! So I can't do what I normally do in the run up but it is not stopping me from thinking about Christmas and at least enjoying hearing about everyone elses preparations. And I know that next year I will definitely be following a routine similar to the one you describe. Fiona x

♥coco rose♥ said...

Do you know, I went into a supermarket yesterday and came out with candy canes....felt a tad guilty for getting them so soon...then it quickly disappeared! I have 12 family birthdays in November and December as well as Christmas to prepare for, and I too, have learnt my lesson well! Have a lovely week! xxxxx

Dianna said...

I too have started last week, the cards are all bought and tin sweets are hiding in the dresser. The start of the presants will begin this week. x

Katy Noelle said...

Amen!!!

clarabelle said...

Yay I love Christmas too and am a big believer in preparation is the key. My main inspirational reading are back issues (kept for a few years now) of Ideal Home Nov/Dec issues and their Complete Guide to Christmas. I love flicking through all the pages for inspiration and then settling on a theme for my packaging each year! (A few extra mags fall into my shopping basket too - Delicious perhaps?) Looking at all these comments - I am pleased I am not alone!
Revel in it is what I say - you will enjoy the time when it comes around all the more!
Take Care
C
xx

Attic24 said...

Ahhh well now, I'm a Last Minute Rusher you see, and i've grown accustommed to doing things this way. Would love to do it your way Steph but no matter how hard i try, it never ever happens! Too disorganised I'm afraid.

As for books, I have the Rose Hammick one (which is lovely), but my bestest thing for inspiration is the ideal homes christmas mag that comes out middle of October each year, I've saved them over the yrs and have them going back to 2005, they are wonderful! Also CL and CH&I xmas issues are always adorable and ones to keep.
Is the CL MErry and Bright book any good?
Happy Autumn to you Steph, I remember from last yr how much you adore this season :o)
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

bellaboo said...

I have a friend, who by October, has bought and wrapped all her Xmas presents.I wish I could be that organised,and avoid all the last minute panic,crowded shops etc.My inspiration comes from the Xmas mags and I love it when the December issue of my favourite..Country Homes and Interiors...comes out.I think it would be nice if everyone..grown-ups and children.. gave something they had made as a present,be it foodie or crafty.Those are the kind of presents that I would like to receive.. those made with love. :o)

Bobo Bun said...

Can you really stash a tin of chocs away and not give in Steph? My parents used to get boxes of liquorice allsorts and chocs from a friend at Rowntrees factory months before. We always ate them well before christmas.

Enjoy your planning. I'm more deal with it later with everything I'm afraid.

Hugs
X

Justine said...

We love Christmas here and are happy to start preparations any time of year! Hubby has already made the Christmas cakes and his third Christmas pudding is steaming away on the stove as I type. We've even sampled our first mince pie of the season! I've bought two boxes of biscuits which are supposed to be for Christmas, whether they make it til then is another matter!

Sew Recycled said...

I love christmas but can't believe I actually dont own a christmas book! I suppose I get my fix from the magazines piled up high, and I do love to dip into the old ones every now and then.
Because I do a lot of Open Houses and Fairs around christmas time I get all in the mood around now preparing for those!
Cant wait!

Belinda said...

i have just tagged you a few questions, hope you don't mind and only answer if you feel like it!x

melanie said...

The new Christmas book you have just bought looks wonderful! One of my Christmas books has just been delivered, country Christmas Crochet, and I am just in love with it, so many gorgeous things to make. Another favourite of mine is Victorian Christmas, lots of goodies to make in there, and a fair few christmas cookery books. I also love to read Christmas novels, especially the Miss Read ones :) xxx

Mrs. Sutton said...

What a LOVELY blog! I'm so glad that I've stumbled accross you - I'll definitely be back. By the way I LOVE Christmas - even in September! x

Pixiedust said...

I love the festive season and have already started some preparations. I've gone through all my Tilda books for ideas of things to make friends for xmas. I've made jams and chutneys for gifts, and have already bought a few pressies. I'm not normally this organised though, but decided I can't afford to leave things to the last minute anymore. Nigella christmas is one of my favourite books. xxx

Fairytale Fashions said...

I love your blog and know Leek very well.
One of my favourite and not expensive ideas for Christmas is to take an orange, take a tealight candle and cut out enough a the top of the orange for the tealight to just fit in to the hole you have made. Then put a line of cloves tight up against the tealight in a circle around it. These are lovely when lit...easy to make and hardly cost anything. We gave them as pressies to the teachers when my son was much younger.

Vintage Noli said...

i love your blog and the english country sryle of yours!

best wishes!!!

Vintagenoli!

claire-louise said...

its never too early to start thinking about christmas!!! took me three days to cook my christmas dinner last year!!! i am christmas mad and try and make as many presents as i can. i never understand people that moan about christmas......it's what you make it!!!

Hazel said...

It is definitely the men who moan. I love the build up to it. I love it and have loads of ideas of things I want to do but never get round to doing - like make an advent calender! I have a little family devotional book which we like to use as a family that starts at start of advent. It has scripture and a reading and a recipe and a christmassy thing to do. Lots of focus on loving and giving. xx

silverpebble said...

I do start squirrell presentsing little away around now - the stash builds up as Christmas approaches, but I do always seem to have a bit of a rush too - my preparations isn't quite enough. I admire your stash of books and early preparation, I really do.

Like Lucy I turn to interior magazines for inspiration - the Christmas editions are always sumptuous.

Rachel said...

Wow, that's exactly what I am thinking this week. I just ordered the cutest bit of Christmas fabric. I'm researching discount ski tickets for our family. I checked out some crafting ideas. Your books look great. Which one has the best pictures? I love everything nigella but haven't seen that one. I'll have to check it out. Take care as always.

MariƱa " La Marquesa" said...

I love your blog! I really do!! your family seem to be very sweet and your house amazing!!!! :D


http://cakesandclothes.blogspot.com/

Diane said...

Whilst hubby was at work the other night - I wrote my Christmas cards!!!! When the time comes, I just want to eat drink and be merry. xxxx