Making A List And Checking It Twice!
With less than a week until Christmas Day you’re probably wondering how you’re going to get everything done before the big day. Well, take a deep breath, release it slowly and reach for some paper and a pen. It’s time to put together your list of Christmas tasks that still have to be done – once it’s all on paper you’ll feel calmer and be ready for Christmas to run smoothly.
1. Write down all the tasks that are currently swimming through your head on a piece of paper – don’t worry about the order, who is going to do it or when it needs to be done, just get it written down!
2. Ask others at home if they can think of things that need doing and add it to the list. Now, review your list and check it includes
- Planning your Christmas menu (use our festive planner to help).
- Food you need to buy (check out our festive food ideas from week 5).
- Any presents you’ve not been able to get yet. Need more inspiration? Then our week 3 great gifts guide has a few ideas to help you
- Writing and sending any remaining cards, the last posting date for second class is 18th December and 20th December for first class
- Buying a couple of extra general presents that could be given to people you didn’t expect to get gifts from (wine, book tokens and department store vouchers etc which could be given to anyone)
- Putting together a plan for cooking Christmas dinner
- Making sure you’ve lots of plastic containers to store opened packets of food and for your leftovers.
3. If you’ve got similar tasks on the list group them together so you’re reminded to do similar things at the same time. Work out when the things need to be done and write a new list so you can easily see what else needs to be done and when.
4. Put your list somewhere you’re going to see it every day – the front of the fridge or the back of the bathroom door might work for you!
We spend a lot of extra money on last minute shopping for things we’ve already bought or didn’t really need. There aren’t many people who will stick completely to a list but having one can save you time and money.
Save money – If you know what you want to buy you’ll not feel as tempted by the special offers or buy extra things you don’t actually need or already have.
Save time – You’re unlikely to forget a key item and rush out for it when the shops are really busy with everyone else doing their last minute shopping
Save the environment – Sticking to your list will reduce the amount of extra food you have leftover which may end up in the bin and reduce the number of trips you need to make to the shops.
Friends of your shopping list – Use By and Best Before
Check the “use by” date before you put the food you’ve chosen in your trolley. This is a food safety date and food should never be eaten after the date shown. Food can be safely frozen right up to its “use by” date though, so if you see a bargain in the supermarket, which won’t last until Christmas, store it in the freezer. When you’re ready to use it, defrost fully and use within 24 hours.
Lots of other food will have “best before” dates on, including tinned food, bakery items, bread, and fruit and vegetables. After the best before date the food is perfectly safe to eat, the makers of the food give the date as a guide because they believe it won’t taste at its best after that date passed but you may prefer the taste or not notice a difference.
Mince pies and other festive treats will have a best before date on, but even if this is before Christmas as long as they are stored in their unopened packaging, they will still be fine to serve up to guests and use in your meals. Just like food with a use by date you can freeze these items or use them to make a meal and freeze the meal ready for the Christmas period.
The use by and best before dates will give you guidance about how long something can stay in your fridge or cupboard before it needs eating. You may also find sell by and display until dates on the packaging – ignore them, they’re just for the shop staff to help them keep the shelves full.