It might only be October, but – as plenty of your Facebook friends are no doubt telling you – the Christmas holidays are not that far away: 10 weeks, in fact.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Christmas. It’s lovely to have a quiet holiday with friends and family, with presents and plenty of food. But I’ve never been one to get completely absorbed by it. I don’t listen to Christmas music, or count down the days until I can whip out my festive jumper.
I don’t even have a festive jumper.
The sheer magnitude of Christmas can be a bit overwhelming. It’s tempting to leave the preparations until as late as possible, but that means you end up running around frantically at the last minute, dodging the crowds as you hunt out vaguely suitable gifts.
So if you’re not really in the Christmas spirit yet, but you still need to get ready for the holidays, here are a few ways to make things easier on yourself.
Gather ideas for presents throughout the year
You don’t have to start buying gifts in the January sales, but it helps to have a rough idea of what you’re going to get everyone. I get my love of reading from my mum, so throughout the year I keep an eye out for books I think she might enjoy.
Special offers or two-for-one style deals can also be a good way of stocking up on presents whilst you’re shopping for yourself.
Book a trip
Whether you want to opt out of Christmas altogether, or you just need something else to look forward to, heading off on holiday could be a good idea.
You could opt for a bit of winter sun, which will make the festive season seem like a distant memory.
Alternatively, a trip to one of the European Christmas markets might be enough to inspire you and give you some fresh ideas.
Focus on the things you do enjoy about Christmas
If Christmas for you means family disagreements, but you always enjoy a night out with friends, why not schedule in more time with the people whose company you enjoy most?
Or if you enjoy cooking the dinner, but can’t stand buying presents, why not swap tasks with someone else?
It doesn’t have to be something big or fancy, it could be as simple as watching your favourite Christmas themed movie.
Make plenty of non-Christmas plans
Whatever you enjoy doing in your spare time – trips to the cinema, bowling, country walks, spa days – arrange plenty of them over the winter so that Christmas doesn’t completely take over your life.
Plan an alternative Christmas feast
Seasonal food doesn’t have to be about turkey and Christmas pudding. Use the opportunity of a big family meal to try something new and original, whether it’s simply a roast dinner with a different type of meat, or something more exotic.
Of course, another way to get in the festive mood is to visit a Christmas fair. The kind people at Country Living magazine have offered one reader a pair of tickets to their Christmas lifestyle fair in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, which runs from 27-30 November.
The fair takes place at Harrogate International Centre and features all kinds of exhibitors, from artisan designers and craft businesses to food producers from around the country. There will be plenty of opportunities for shopping, as well as talks, demonstrations and workshops.
If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning, just enter the giveaway below.