Tesco Magazine recently asked me to compile a few top tips about getting organised for Christmas sooner, rather than later. You can find the feature here.
There is nothing I like more than a good list. So in the main, the feature is all about setting a budget and then planning everything down to the last parsnip. I tend to go to town at Christmas. I still have a five-page spreadsheet titled CHRISTMAS DINNER 2004, set out in 10-minute increments. It begins, “0950 hours – GOOSE – remove clumps of excess fat from inside cavity. Hobs in use – 0/4. Oven shelves in use – 0/3”. It ends with a list of every single ingredient and cooking implement I will need. Eight years later, I am still not sure if it is a work of art, or the work of someone with control issues. It was a damned good dinner though…
Christmas this year will be a strange one: my due date falls during Christmas week, so I’m not going anywhere and, although I’m certainly not planning to entertain the masses or spend the day in the kitchen adhering to a military-style timetable, I have quite a lot to get organised before everything goes, well… belly-up!
Two thrifty Christmas tips that didn’t make the cut:
1. If you are planning to shop for Christmas gifts online, I recommend InvisibleHand. It is a free, downloadable tool that will search the net and find the lowest price for any item that you google.
2. Practice your Furoshiki! I’m a fan of this Japanese method of gift wrapping, which uses squares of fabric rather than expensive, sparkly paper and tape. It’s simple, pretty – and the “wrap” can be recycled. Best of all, if (like me) you are the sort of person who has a drawer full of fabric offcuts, you have a cheap, readymade wrapping stash. It requires a little practice, so watch the demonstration video here and get folding.
I’ll be featuring plenty of thrifty Christmas ideas over the coming weeks, so if you have any tried and tested money-saving tips, I’d love to hear about them…
Image credit: Steve Snodgrass.