Saturday, 17 November 2012

Christmas 2012 Plan-along C-Day minus 6 weeks

Next week is Stir Up Sunday in the  UK; last Sunday before Advent and the traditional day on which to make your Christmas cake, so it’s time to think about Christmas food. Make chutneys, mince pies to freeze , Christmas cakes to keep or give away. Plan your menu, if you’re hosting, and make a complete shopping list, including table decorations, napkins, soft drinks etc. If you do your food shop online, book a delivery slot now. You can continue to change your order up to 24 hours before delivery with most UK supermarkets.

My sister-in-law has promised me a jar of her Christmas chutney and I won't be making Christmas puddings as P is usually given at least 1 as an end-of-term gift but I will certainly make some of Nigella's  Chilli jam and Spiced nuts  to take as hostess gifts when we're invited out over Christmas, and the kids and I will spend an afternoon making minced pies later on.

We are hosting this year for 7 adults and 2 children. P has requested Beef Wellington - which is his speciality, and mother-in-law will also bring a turkey. I'll ask my mum to make a trifle and father-in-law to be in charge of nibbles, which leaves veg, cheese, children's pudding, crackers and table decorations to me. Sound like a manageable plan at the moment!

Can we talk about the etiquette of giving money rather than presents? My eldest nephew, whose birthday was this week, asked for money for birthday and Christmas because he's saving up for a computer. I can totally understand his thinking, and of course Auntie Kirsty obliged, but it got me thinking, as his brother and my son have both done the same this year. If I was shopping for my nephews I would be looking in the region of £15. I might go up to £16.99 if I found the perfect gift but I'd be very happy if I got something for £12.99 and I wouldn't feel the need to top up that extra £2. However, when gifting money, or indeed vouchers, I can't do less than £15, and even that looks a bit mean. Should I go up to a £20 note instead? Of course, it's much easier to put a note in a card than buy a present and wrap it, and I know the more elderly members of the family love it, but for me the stress of Christmas doesn't come from the shopping but from the financial burden. I need to find bargains where ever I can.

What do you do? I have thought I might write the boys cheques so they can't cash them immediately, but that seems a bit churlish. I'm sure I'll end up giving them what they want, but it might be a tenner and an IOU for the other tenner! I'll make a couple of personalised paper wallets to present it in.

On a similar theme, I have decided that (when I get paid) I will buy a couple of £5 Amazon vouchers for those embarrassing emergencies when someone I haven't bought for gives me a present. Everyone can use an Amazon voucher these days, can't they? And if I don't need them, I can use them myself as cash in the new year.


humel said...

Our nephew reached an age where it was impossible to guess what he might want, so we give him cash now for birthday and Christmas. Our budget is always £15 and he's happy with that. His younger siblings get a gift worth around that figure, though, like you, we'll round up or down slightly if we find the right gift for a bit more or a bit less.

Amazon vouchers are a great idea for an emergency gift!

I'm pleased to say that I did get on with Christmas cards this week - I'm using photos on most of them, and I trimmed all the photos to size :)

Food is easy in one way, as we always follow the same menu plan, it's part of our tradition :) I just need to pull out last year's notes!

Sian said...

That's a very good point - a gift can be a bargain you have found, but a gift voucher can't be saved on! The one thing I have found with boys is that they need chivied to use their vouchers before they run out. TTO has some on his desk from his birthday and I'd like them spent before he gets any more

alexa said...

Vouchers always give the pleasure of choosing but I guess their value is instantly visible. My two have let vouchers run out, and I am currently chivvying my dad to spend the Amazon voucher I gave him LAST Christmas! Good luck with whatever you decide. Those photos are just lovely!

Alison said...

I'm doing vouchers for the older children this year...and they will all be for £15....though I shall probably put some earrings or sweets in with them too, as I. Always feel bad about 'just' giving vouchers!
Alison xx

furrypig said...

ooh an interesting post Kirsty. I used to love buying all the gifts for all the family but as the nephew and neices have got bigger I have started to give cash, though like Alison I like to try and give a present as well. I tend to give £15 for Christmas but £20 for birthdays. This year I am going to send one family a Christmas Cake after your recommendation for Bakerdays so they will have an extra surprise through the post!