Welcome to the big guide to thrifty Christmas prep in November. There’s plenty to do right now to spread the cost and the work, including hunting down some bargains and making your own homemade gifts and goodies.
Let’s make a start…
Social Christmas plans
Have you made any plans for the Christmas break yet? Are you travelling or staying at home?
November and early December often include a work Christmas party, or meeting up with friends before people start to travel or get swamped with far-flung relatives.
If you’re planning a get-together for drinks or a meal round at yours, get those invitations out soon before calendars start to fill up. You might also need to finish decorating the spare room, buy train or plane tickets, or book tables in pubs or restaurants, depending on your plans.
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Christmas food & drink prep in November
There’s plenty you can do in November to spread the cost and save time and hassle later.
Supermarket shopper? If you’re getting a festive food delivery in late December, you might want to book your slot (before someone else does).
Turkey time & other centrepieces
In particular this month, the supermarkets are starting to stock up on turkeys. Now’s the time to shop if you’re buying a turkey, or a turkey crown or turkey joint for the freezer.
Find frozen/freezable turkeys in store already at:
- Aldi (in store or click and collect) << lowest prices so far
- Asda freezer section & fresh to pre-order << widest range of options
- Iceland (from 6th of Nov) << regularly win taste tests
- Lidl (frozen crowns, in store only)
- Ocado (including M&S food to buy)
- Tesco (freezer section & Food to Order) << good prices & portions
- Waitrose (fresh pre-orders and frozen)
The stores above are also getting alternative centrepieces into their freezer sections already, including beef joints, chicken, goose, fish, vegetarian and vegan options. There’s already plenty to choose from, and more on the way soon.
You can also get organised this month and place an advance order for fresh turkey, beef or other meats with a local butcher.
Other things you can pick up for your freezer right now: supermarket party foods, stuffing, pigs in blankets, smoked salmon, and desserts.
For the food cupboard, think about baking ingredients, cranberry sauce, cheese biscuits, chocolate and sweets, crisps and snacks, panetonne and other alternative cakes, and anything else you might want.
Drinks prep in November
There are some very good supermarket deals on champagne, prosecco and other sparklers, red and white wine, spirits and liqueurs right now, in case you’d like to stock up. Don’t forget the mixers and soft drinks.
Homemade food & drink in November
Stir Up Sunday is traditionally the big day for fans of homemade Christmas foods, and this year it’s on the 26th of November. That’s five weeks before C-Day, and it’s the day when many people like to make their Christmas pudding, so it can mature. Need a recipe? Try this one from BBC GoodFood.
There’s also plenty of time to make your own mince pies, sweet mincemeat, Christmas chutney, sloe gin and other preserves, cordials and infusions. You can also put some prepared party food, soups, pies and snacks in the freezer, along with homemade gingerbread or cookie dough, or shortcrust pastry.
Christmas crafts prep in November
There’s still plenty of time left for making most homemade gifts, including knitting, quilting, crochet, sewing, soap, bath bombs, ceramics and woodwork. Much of it is a good fit with a rainy night in and some new season telly on.
The second half of November is often a nice time to get together with friends or kids in the family to do some Christmas crafting together. You could decorate baubles, make paper cut-outs, paper chains, wreaths or garlands, table decorations, or homemade cards. If you need some inspiration, try the cute festive kits at Dunelm.
Christmas gifts prep in November
If you don’t have one already, it’s time to decide your budget and and work out a shopping list.
Many well known stores have decided it’s ‘Black Friday’ all month for 2023, and there are some good discounts to be had. This definitely makes it easier to take your time, shop around, and avoid panic buying, plus maybe find a few bargains. Less stress too, hopefully, with quieter stores, smoother-running websites and fewer issues with deliveries!
Shops already in all-month-Black-Friday mode include:
- AllBeauty << makeup, fragrance, skincare, bath & body gifts
- Boots << massive sale on gifts, electricals, premium beauty
- BrandAlley << lots of designer treats, fashion and home etc
- Debenhams << up to 50% off all around the shop
- John Lewis << TVs, laptops, coffee machines, gift sets, perfume
- Lookfantastic << over 6,000 heavily discounted beauty stocking fillers
- Marks & Spencer << up to 50% off sale + many other offers
- Smyths Toys << hundreds of branded toys in offer
- The Range << 50% off home prep for kitchen, tableware, gifts etc
- TKMaxx << doing Black Friday deals of the week in all departments (there’s no landing page, so you’ll need to search their drop-down menu)
Good luck with your Christmas shopping. Don’t forget the wrapping paper and the sticky tape!
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Yes, there are plenty of options for your Christmas prep in November – hope you’ve seen something that’s inspired you.