With less than 4 months to go, it’s officially time to start thinking about Christmas! Though your dreams may still be filled with barbecues and beaches rather than sugar plums and mince pies, the Yuletide season will be upon us quicker than you think and anyone looking to avoid that late December rush is preparing already.
Though you may not feel ready to start thinking of frosted windowpanes and roasting chestnuts, here are three things you should start considering well before the cold nights draw in.
The Christmas cake dates back to the 1640s and was traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve. Having developed from old recipes of Christmas pudding, and much earlier a kind of plum porridge, it’s a dessert packed with history as well as fruit. Over centuries there have developed many types of Christmas cake – some moist, some dry, some loaded with enough brandy to knock out a reindeer – but the basics stay the same. Dried fruit, spices and time. Most recipes will stress that the longer a Christmas cake is left, the better it will taste; particularly one with whisky or brandy in the mix.
So to properly experience this grand tradition, you may want to set aside an afternoon soon to start baking. There are hundreds of recipes out there detailing the various mixes and methods passed down through families, but we’ll always head straight to baking superstar Mary Berry for a classic cake. This recipe recommends leaving the cake for 3 months to mature, so now’s the time to stock up on your ingredients.
No, it’s never too early. According to studies one in four parents have already started their Christmas shopping before the new school year begins. And shops like Selfridges have already opened their Christmas sections to the public.
Some may see it as far too early to be thinking about what to put under the tree, but with the average British family spending more than £800 on Christmas each year, planning ahead and spreading the cost over a longer period eases the financial strain, reduces the stress of last minute shopping and keeps parents merry and bright throughout the festive season.
This is one that certainly shouldn’t be left to the last minute. Putting up decorations is the first step to the perfect Christmas. Unlike everything else, decorations don’t wait until the 25th. If the first week of December passes and your house isn’t aglow with a thousand coloured lights, then Scrooge himself would sneer at your lack of festive spirit.
For those who aspire to a greater sense of Christmas cheer than crotchety Dickensian misers, there’s no better time to plan your personal wonderland. Christmas Trees And Lights is running all through the year with the very finest decorations and illuminations to bring a merry twinkle to every home. And with the out of season clearance sale now running, it’s easier than ever to find the perfect tree, the brightest lights and the most magical tapestries to turn any home in to a grotto that would make Santa jealous. Prepare yourself now, and be ready for the ultimate Christmas party.
Have you started preparing for Christmas yet? Let us know your tips for getting ahead before the most wonderful time of the year.