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Getting Ready for the Big Day 🎄

Christmas means something different for everyone, some want family time, some want parties and some want a time of relaxation, cheese and chocolate. There are loads of things you have to think about at Christmas and it can become overwhelming and expensive. Things will be different for everyone this year, times are harder than before and our normal Christmas traditions could go out the window, so we need to be able to find ways to make ourselves and our homes feel a little more festive in an affordable and stress-free way. It could be become all a little overwhelming at times, trying to plan everything and getting stuff sorted out in time, especially with all of the uncertainty of this year. We have some ideas and ways for you to make the Christmas period more manageable.

Plan, plan, plan

Sometimes having a plan or a list in front of you can really help you to break things down into manageable chunks. Try finding a Christmas planner like this one from Not on The High Street, these planners have room for shopping lists, cards received/sent lists, and many have reflection pages, too. If you love to make lists and plans to help you manage situations and monitor your budget, these are a fab idea. You can always check Pinterest for a downloadable Christmas planning sheet too.

Use Secret Santa

A few years ago, our family realised that each household was spending a huge amount of money on presents for everyone. We decided that it would be easier to have a Secret Santa format: where everyone has the same budget, we all buy one present, and everyone receives a present specifically chosen for them. This worked so well, that we extended this to all of the other sides of the family that we normally buy for. It’s a super fun time after everyone has opened their presents to guess who had who. With this year being a tough year, suggest to your friends and family to try a Secret Santa, it substantially reduces your time and budget pressures – you won’t regret it!

Gift Wrapping Services

Like many online shops, Chocolates of Glenshiel offer a gift-wrapping service which means whatever presents you’re buying online, you can have them gift wrapped and sent directly to the recipient. This option could relieve the pressure of sending parcels yourself across the country. We can wrap your gift for £3, in brown paper with some festive ribbons, we can also add a handwritten Christmas card for £2.50, check these cards out here!

DIY Decorations

Making some DIY tree or home decorations are a fab way to decorate the house on a budget whilst having some fun with the family. Get yourself on Pinterest for some more inspirations, but here are some of my favourites:

Wine glass candle holders – an upturned wine glass with decorations inside and a wee candle on the stem – how simple and cute! I love the idea of these, and they’d cost so little, if anything! I would probably use battery candles instead of an open flame though, I’d be worried they’d topple!

Popcorn garlands – these are a cheap, traditional way of decorating your tree, or putting up around the house to make it feel festive. Perhaps try a drop of food colouring to add a pop of colour! It would probably take a while threading each piece, so this is a great activity for the whole family!

Dried orange garlands – These are super easy to make, smell delicious and look so perfectly Christmassy! It does not have to just be oranges, either - you could use any citrus fruits, lime, lemon, grapefruit, or a mixture! Just pop your slices into the oven for 5 hours and let them dry out, bring them out and tie them onto your tree or onto a long string to use like bunting. Adding some little clipping of pine or some cinnamon sticks would really add some beautiful festive smells to your house.

DIY Table Settings – there are so many ways you can decorate your table with things you have around the house, have a look at this article for some inspiration. Why not use the Chocolates of Glenshiel bars as a name setting and table gift, by writing each person’s name on the packaging?

Make your own Christmas Eve Boxes

These seem to have been all the rage the past few years, with loads of shops offering their own personal take on them, however, they can be quite expensive a times. It would be super easy to make your own, using a shoe box, a reusable tub or tin, just wrap it up in nice paper or decorate it however you fancy. Try some of these to add in:

- Pyjamas – get some matching PJs for the whole family, why not?!

- Cosy socks – the fluffier the better

- Some sweeties, of course!

- A Christmas DVD (if you still use them!)

- A hot chocolate pack - in a small cellophane or paper bag, add some mini marshmallows, a couple of teaspoons of hot choc powder, and a small chunk Chocolates of Glenshiel Dark Chocolate and Skye Sea Salt bar. When you’re ready to make – tip the contents into a mug of hot milk and swirl! Maybe a spot of Talisker for the adults to really make it cosy!

- Reindeer food – just a little envelope or cellophane envelope with some oats and edible glitter, you can go out to the garden or the street and give it a sprinkle. This is a lovely heart-warming moment you can have with young kids to help keep the Christmas magic alive.

- (Adult’s box only) a bottle of Baileys, Talisker or a pack to make a delicious Mulled Wine – try this BBC Good Food recipe!

- (Adult’s box only) a Chocolates of Glenshiel Gin or Whisky Selection for an evening tipple before a crazy day!

We love preparing for Christmas, even if it is going to be a bit different this year. These are just some simple ideas to help you keep Christmas magical, regardless of your budget or situation this year.

Comment below if you try any of these ideas – we would love to hear about it if you do!

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