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Christmas countdown begins.

LIKE it or not, time has pretty much run out and the festivities are going to be upon us before you have time to blink.

Talking for myself I'm as disorganised today as I was two months ago and I doubt I'm the only one out there so I've put together a seven-day emergency Christmas countdown. It's all systems go from here on out so get a good night's sleep tonight because tomorrow you prep 'til you drop.

December 18:

You're never going to get in the Christmas spirit and do what needs doing if you haven't put the Christmas decorations up yet. It never really feels like Xmas if you can't see it around you and without that festive feel, you've got no chance of being ready in time. Put on some Christmassy music in the background and get to it.

December 19:

Whilst you're having your morning cuppa, make a list of everything you need to make Christmas happen, then make separate lists for each of those things. If you didn't follow my shopping advice in last week's column (yes, I'm guilty of not practising what I preach) it's really time to get off your posterior and get to the shops today. It always takes twice as long as you planned so leaving it to a day or two before Christmas isn't going to do the trick. Make sure you get plenty or wrapping paper and wrap what you buy before you head off to bed.

December 20:

Check how big your turkey is, as depending on the size, it might be time to transfer it from freezer to fridge for defrosting. Most turkeys, depending on the size, will take between two to four days to defrost this way. If you bear in mind that you need about 24 hours for every five pounds of turkey you can plan accordingly - keeping in mind that you need it to be fully defrosted by Christmas Eve.

December 21:

Go through your Christmas check lists and make sure you have everything you need - making another list as you go along of what you've forgotten and still need. Think about every detail and go through it item by item. Often forgotten details include cranberry sauce to go with the turkey or Christmas crackers for your table decorations.

December 22:

If you haven't already done it, today's the day you need to buy all your Christmas vegetables and other sundries you need. If bread sauce (a personal favourite) is part of your Christmas meal, it's time to boil up the milk, onions, cloves and nutmeg (plus anything else you put in it) and put it all in the fridge so the flavours can develop nicely.

December 23:

It doesn't matter how many times I've told you to get it done, I know you still have presents you haven't bought yet so today is the day to get the job finished. Wrap last-minute presents and make sure everything you wanted cleaned before your guests arrive is done.

December 24:

It's prep time. Wash and cut all your vegetables, ready for cooking the next day. Stuff and ready your turkey. Set the table. Pop open another bottle of your favourite tipple, pat yourself on the back for getting everything ready against the odds and sit back and relax or go out and party - just make sure you set your alarm in plenty of time to wake up in the morning to put the turkey in the oven. Merry Christmas!

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Publication:Gulf Weekly
Date:Dec 21, 2008
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