Christmas prep in early November
Just a few weeks left before Christmas now, so let’s keep on going with the thrifty festive prep. There’s still enough time to do lots of homemade things to keep the costs down, and a couple of pay packets left to cover the last expenses.
If you haven’t already seen them, you might also be interested in these recent blogs:
- Christmas 2017 decorations trends + high street bargains
- Christmas 2017 food and drinks trends & where to find them
Bargains & offers in early November
Make a budget and a list as soon as possible, if you haven’t already. If you’re buying gifts, there are going to be all kinds of early and flash sales on in the next week or two. You can also track prices up and down for specific gifts and other items.
Here are some sales and offers worth a peek right now:
- Argos – up to 50% off some toys
- Wilko – Big Toy Event, up to 50% off
- M&S Beauty Advent Calendar – Contents worth £250, priced £35 if you spend another £35 elsewhere in the shop (check out their 3-for-2 gift shop offers)
- TKMaxx – Brand name flash events daily: Clothes, shoes & handbags, also some proper bargains in fragrance & makeup – up to 70%+ off big names
- Cloggs – Up to 50% off shoes & boots
- The Body Shop – 40% off nearly everything with this code: 19806. Free delivery over £25.
- Boots – Up to 60% off + loads of 3-for-2 gifts such as beauty, toys, electricals etc
- Superdrug – Gifts & fragrance better than half price, 3-for-2 on most makeup
- Lookfantastic – 25% off FOREO skincare products, or 15% off most skincare & cosmetics etc with code: BEAUTY.
- GAP – Up to 50% off around the shop, plus an extra 10% off with code: WINTERGAP.
- Office – Up to 60% off boots & trainers.
- HEMA – 3-for-2 on loads of brilliant gifts and decorations
- Debenhams – 30% off Winter Event
- House of Fraser – Up to 30% off big brands
- Holland & Barrett – Penny sale (buy 1 get 1 for 1p), lots of food, drink & skincare, also buy-1-get-1-half-price natural beauty offer.
- Lakeland – 25% off Joseph Joseph and multi-buy offers around the store + a rather good slow cooker for only £16.49.
- Allbeauty – Lots of offers on Benefit cosmetics, including £10 off brow kits, £5 off foundations etc. Check T&Cs.
- Jack Wills – Up to 60% off sale, plus 3-for-2 gifts
- The White Company – Up to 50% off
If you’re looking for a deal on something specific, you could hang on for Black Friday and the surrounding sales. That’s technically the 24th of November but it looks like there will be more spread out offers this year, mostly starting on the 20th but some popping up randomly from as early as this weekend.
Try not to get spooked or make too many impulse purchases, as I’m sure there will be plenty of deals in December too.
Making homemade gifts
There’s still time for making jams, pickles and fruit in brandy, or some figgy pudding or other flavoured vodkas, but we’re running out of time for things like proper sloe gin and homemade wines. You might want to try making some infused oils or vinegars as well.
Another make-ahead idea is to mix up some Christmas spice biscuit or cookie dough, form it into a cylinder shape and freeze it wrapped in foil – then all you need to do is thaw, slice and bake it (and maybe ice it) before gifting.
It’s getting a bit late for making traditional soaps, but there are alternatives such as clear glycerine soaps and ‘melt and pour’ base soaps. You could try making bath bombs or bath salts and scrubs too.
Plenty of time left for knitted gifts, sewing, painting, woodwork and candle making as well, etc etc.
Food and drink
Most of the big supermarkets are filling their shelves and freezers with festive food you can store for the next few weeks. For example, Iceland has stocked its frozen turkeys, and turkey crowns and joints.
Love homemade food? If you have time, you can make up and freeze just about anything now, such as soups and starters, pies, cakes, puddings, snacks, and pastries. You can also freeze raw or blind baked pastry cases, or cooked or uncooked mince pies. You can even make up and freeze some brandy butter or whipped cream if you like.
You might also want to think ahead and prep for pre-Xmas get-togethers, Boxing Day meals and so on, especially if you have lots of people to cook for.
Cake: A traditional Christmas cake is usually made 12 or eight weeks ahead, so if you haven’t made one already then this is your last chance, and it then needs to be ‘fed’ every few days with rum or brandy. However, other less traditional recipes can be made nearer the time.
Mincemeat: Some recipes only keep for two weeks or so, but others last a lot longer and often take three weeks to mature. There’s still time to make an old-style one that takes time to mature.
Christmas pudding: A traditional pudding is usually kept in a cool, dry place for just over a month, so could make one round about now if you like. Or try a more modern recipe and freeze it in advance.
There are a few wines and spirits offers around too.
- Aldi’s award-winning Veuve Monsigny Brut Champagne is currently £10.99 per bottle and it’s tasty too.
- Waitrose has 33% off several wines & fizz (including Bollinger, schweetie), and up to 25% off many top brand spirits and liqueurs.
- Asda is doing lots of drinks offers, such as £5 off a 1L bottle of Baileys Irish Cream and multi-buy discounts on packs of beers, and rollback prices (up to £10 off) for many branded spirits.
- Morrisons has a hard to beat £22 for 2 bottles of branded spirits offer – don’t miss.
- If you’re stocking up for a party, this week’s Tesco Wine By The Case has some tempting offers, up to 40% off.
- Tesco groceries has offers on over 150 spirits, such as £10 off Courvoisier and £11 off Glenmorangie scotch whisky.
- Sainsbury’s has £14 champagne & bargain cava, a wide range of wine offers, cut price boxes of lager and up to £10 off branded spirits.
A good weekend to stock up!
Coming up next
- Christmas 2017 gifting trends
- Best value award-winning food and drink
- Some great gift guides…
What Christmas preparation will you be doing in the next week or two? How are you keeping the costs down?
I make my own cake, mincemeat, Christmas pudfing and brandy butter also cranberry sauce, Delia has a great recipe for cranberry sauce which only takes about 15 minutes to make.
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