Here is the 2nd part of my list to efficiently prepare for Christmas. If you haven’t read the first part yet, you can do so here!
11. The tree: prepare your Christmas decoration efficiently
The tree is the object of growing ecological criticism, but it is still a strong symbol of Christmas. It can be chosen in a tree nursery, in a store, or in specific markets. There are many possibilities: XXL version or small tree in a pot, natural, synthetic or to build yourself in wooden pallets … There is also one for all tastes, all scholarships, and all convictions! It’s up to you to decide which one to choose and to include it in your Christmas budget. For those who want a “good natural tree plan”, inquire that these are often sold out on December 24; but in return, you will have to accept to have a tree late, which will not prevent you from preparing Christmas efficiently.
If you choose a natural tree, I advise you to keep it as long as possible. Make the most of it (at least until Epiphany!). On the other hand, from an ecological point of view, let your tree live as long as possible in its hour of glory!
12. The crib
Once again the object of various controversies in the public sphere, the crib remains a powerful symbol. A cultural symbol historically in our European societies. Whether or not we attach a spiritual dimension, this object recalls the original meaning of Christmas. For this reason, at least, the crib appears to me as a “must have” of Christmas decoration. Here again, there is something for every taste, in every style, and at every price.
Take the time to find one that is pretty and suits you. And why not make it yourself? You can also make it up as you go along, depending on the price of your figures. And don’t forget to put the Child Jesus figure in it on the morning of December 25th! Children in particular love this ritual, which is also part of the Christmas tradition for many of us.
13. Homemade gifts
To prepare effectively for Christmas, if you are a fan of “DIY” gifts, in other words, “homemade”, I advise you to anticipate well. However, be sure to check the shelf life of the products you are considering. Making homemade gifts can sometimes take a lot of time, sometimes much more than you think (it’s true!). As long as your products do not expire, make them as early as possible. This way, you will avoid being overwhelmed. Don’t underestimate the time needed to pack and label your products: these are relatively time-consuming steps.
14. Spread out and schedule gift-wrapping sessions
A chore for some, a pleasant and fun moment for others: we are obviously talking about wrapping gifts! Whether you’re a fan of glossy paper with Christmas motifs, bows, Bolduc, and tags or humble kraft paper, it’s clear that wrapping takes time. First, estimate how much time you’ll need. Then, stagger your gift-wrapping sessions, so that it doesn’t eat up half a day of wrapping time. It should remain a fun time! Cut out this task as much as possible if you don’t like this stage of the preparations!
And why not discover the Japanese technique of cloth wrapping, called “Furoshiki”? Faster, more ecological, and just as aesthetic. Try it and you’ll love it!
15. Crafting orders: preparing your Christmas orders efficiently
If you order your gifts online, make sure you order them well in advance. If they are handcrafted gifts, pay special attention to their availability and delivery times.
In this regard, I propose to you some ideas for artisanal and local gifts (Alsace), to discover as soon as possible!
16. Order from the caterer
Do you order your meals, aperitifs, or desserts from a caterer? Take care of it as soon as possible, so that you can be sure that your order can be honored in time. Once this is done, you will have a clearer mind to continue your preparations.
17. The Christmas Mass
Find out in advance the time and place of the mass on the 24th. This way you will be sure to find a service near the place where you will be celebrating Christmas Eve. Many parishes offer “Family Masses” between 5:00 and 7:00 pm. These times are convenient for young children or when you don’t want to go out for Midnight Mass.
18. Gifts and signs of sharing
Indeed, to prepare effectively for Christmas is also to stop and take the time to think of others. It means getting closer to those who cannot prepare, materially or morally, for this festive period. This period is particularly favorable for sharing and giving to the neediest. A material donation during an association collection ( Food Bank…..); a visit, a phone call to an isolated or elderly relative… Residents of retirement homes particularly appreciate tender greeting cards written by children.
If we want to look around us, there are many ways to be generous – not only materially – and there are enough associations with which we can feel an affinity to give a little of ourselves. Let your intuition and your desires inspire you: generosity is full of creativity!
19. Don’t put pressure on yourself, but enjoy the little joys of Advent
No pressure to get to the 10kgs of Christmas Bredalas! No panic to find the perfect holiday outfit for each family member either. Enjoy the simple pleasures of drinking tea in your lovely seasonal patterned mug; for the more nostalgic, listen to old Tino Rossi Christmas songs that remind you of your childhood. And why not curl up in your soft plaid while sipping your homemade mulled wine (I love it!), watching a kitschy Christmas movie (or not)? By the way, you can also enjoy your Christmas cookies and share them with your friends and neighbors (even if they are a little overcooked, that’s not what matters!).
If you have children, laugh with them, dressed as reindeer, Christmas elves, and other burlesque creatures. There’s no age limit for enjoying the daily chocolate on your calendar.
Find a cocooning atmosphere by lighting the room with a garland of lights; with only a small candle scented with spices or orange as a compliment. If you like rituals, light the candles of the Advent wreath around a good Sunday meal… In short, enjoy the thousand and one simple things related to the Advent period. It is often in the little things that great joys are found…
20. Expressing gratitude: the best way to prepare effectively for Christmas.
Even though this year Christmas may be special and we may have to give up some habits or traditions (starting with Christmas markets…), be thankful for all the reasons you have the opportunity. If you can celebrate Christmas with your family (even if incomplete), if someone has paid attention to you, if you are on good terms with your loved ones, if you feel loved and pampered, if your children are happy to prepare the crib, the tree, to open their presents, if your Christmas sweater puts you in a good mood… then you are lucky!
Finally, be happy because you are alive, that all your dreams are possible…Be happy because, on Christmas night, Peace comes on “men and women of goodwill”…
Happy Advent and good Christmas preparations!