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The countdown to Christmas has begun – here’s our guide to planning the perfect Christmas with our tips for how to stay stress free and enjoy the planning!

Just like that life has gone from summer sunshine to pumpkins and bangers to full on in-your-face glitter and sparkle.  Yes, it's official, “The gateway to Christmas is now open.  Please proceed.  Do not run.  No pushing and shoving please. Take your time and enjoy the experience.”

Festive planning is fun!

This is actually such a wonderful time of year with so much to look forward to if you look at everything in the right way.  There’s still enough time to plan, you can draw up your budget for presents, food and drink and all the other bits and bobs that go with Christmas, entertaining and holidays right now, do your research and make your weekly ‘countdown to Christmas’ plan to make Christmas 2018 the best ever.

And, we recommend you make the whole Christmas planning experience a lovely, cosy event in itself. Make some time for yourself – total peace and quiet with no kids, work emails, phone ringing – switch it all off, light some candles, pour yourself a Winter Spices Gin & Tonic, grab a fresh new notepad and write in big letters at the top ‘Christmas 2017’, and follow our tips below to make sure that you breeze through the next few weeks and enjoy the run up to Christmas feeling a lovely calm (and a little bit sparkly) anticipation about the festive season.

The pressies

Ok, we’re going to sound like mega-nerds here but we do this and it works… Create a spreadsheet with the following headings:

  • Name
  • Budget
  • Gift
  • Link

List every single person you need to get a Christmas present for, allocate a budget for what you want to spend on them in the next column, in the column next to that list the type of gift, or ideal gift or even the name of the gift in there and once you’ve done that for your list of lucky people, you can go on to the next step – the research (told you we were nerds...!).

When you’re organised with everything in a structure, it’s easier to be more ‘military’ in your shopping in that you’ll find the best deals and avoid rushing around throwing bundles of money over the counter (or virtual checkout) just to get the things you need in these moments of mild panic.  And, for those adults only Secret Santa gifts in the office or a simple stocking filler for a gin fan look no further than our Caorunn Gin Crackers.  Availabile exclusively via our online shop each cracker contains one Caorunn mini (5cl), one Fentimans tonic can (150cl) and one scented candle - all you need to create the perfect CaorunnMoment!

Caorunn Gin Christmas Cracker

Planning is your new best friend and what’s more, you will actually ENJOY picking gifts for all your loved ones and experience a series of mini-thrills at finding the perfect present for them. 

And…don’t forget to pop Christmas cards on your list!

The Christmas wrapping

Wrapping presents does not need to feel like a complete back-breaking nightmare, shuffling about the floor on all fours ripping bits of sellotape off a roll with your teeth and sticking them in a long line along your trouser leg all the way up to your knee.

There is joy to be had in the wrapping.  Divide your presents into two piles – adults and children.  Decide what kind of Christmas wrapping theme you want to go for – are you Scandi reds and whites this year, grown up gold and sparkle, minimalist white with silver or something a bit homespun and crafty.  To those who say ‘It’s what’s inside that counts’, we say, ‘Only if it comes beautifully wrapped and looks EXCITING’… (Watch out for our ‘All wrapped up’ post soon for tips from the professionals on how to wrap with style.)  Little preview…we like the presents that have a little extra treat stuck on to the front of the gift, even if it’s just a little chocolate Santa – kids (big and little) LOVE all the little surprises and extras.

The food

Are you the caterer or the cateree?!  Huge congratulations if your role this Christmas falls into the latter category (in that case you are also most definitely the Christmas washingup-ee!) – you have been spared a shopping list the length of your arm and every Christmas cook’s nightmare called ‘the timings’. 

If you’re being catered for this Christmas then you’ll want to contribute in some way whether it’s general helping in the kitchen (note that not all helping is helping…) although we would argue that there is an important role to play in assisting the cook with a deliciously refreshing Caorunn and Tonic

Thank your host with a bottle of Caorunn and as a little extra, one of our gently scented Heather candles.  Saying thank you for the ‘C’ word with our ‘C’ word is a sure way to win the heart of your host and make them feel completely loved and appreciated.

If you’re the caterer, again, we go back to our spreadsheets and we do the following columns:

  • Meal (whether it’s Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year…)
  • Number of guests
  • Ingredients
  • Drinks
  • Extras (crisps, nibbles, canapés, little treats for kids)

Then we do our mouse clicks and find the best deals on all the stuff we need and we start stock piling all of that stuff, getting it in the freezer, booking the online deliveries for the things that we need nearer the time and we do that lovely satisfying ticking off of all our list items.  Tick tick tick, no stress, in control, #gothis #doingChristmaslikeaboss

The outfits

As sure as bonfire night turns into Christmas…you (and/or yours) will be needing something new at some point for the party season.  Whether it’s for the work’s Christmas bash or the school party, new sparkly things need to be budgeted for and sourced.  Your first stop of course is your wardrobe – what have you got, what do you need?  Try things on and decide then if you need something completely new or maybe you just need a new accessory.  Or shoes (there is never not a need for new shoes…). 

The calendar

Not the one of the advent type (but defo buy them soon – you don’t want to be crashing into the supermarket on December 1st only to be met with Peppa Pig’s perforated-into-25-little-boxes face when you have a 10 year old son with his heart set on a Dr Who tardis…), we mean the one of ‘Holy moly there is something in my diary every single day before, after and during Christmas – how can life be this manic!’

Life is busy and this is the busiest time of the year.  A cocktail of madness if you’re not on top of your l’il spreadsheets and ‘to do’ lists but life/Christmas/stuff only gets overwhelming when things build up.  If you’re doing a little something every day, you’re in control and on top.  You are winning my friend, so look at these days and weeks ahead in the calendar and start populating them with all the little things you need to do, from getting the advent calendar to buying these sparkly shoes.  Everything must be accounted for!

Oh, and don’t forget to sit down on a Friday night with your C & T and look over your list and give yourself a cheery pat on the back for everything you’re doing to make Christmas special.  This is the best time of year for showing people how much you care about them and how important they are to you, so never underestimate what a medium sized slice of planning can achieve.  Christmas is about making people happy after all and spreading cheer and joy. 

Happy planning folks!

International Beverage Holdings Ltd

Balmenach Road
PH26 3PF


Telephone: + 44 (0)1479 874933 

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