WHILE most Brits wait until the clocks change to even start thinking about Christmas, there are a few festive elves amongst us who are much more organised.
Last week The Sun revealed shops were already selling Christmas crackers – despite temperatures soaring to a record 36c.
And while there are still 128 days before Christmas, these festive preppers are already stocked up FOUR months ahead of the big day…
'Friends think I'm a festive freak'
Deputy fashion store manager, Alex Romany-Gibb, 30, from Peterborough, has sorted £4,000 worth of gifts, food cupboard essentials and even her Christmas day outfit.
She said: “I have been a Christmas addict for as long as I can remember. By August, I have usually done all my shopping, wrapped the presents, selected my outfits and sorted our festive schedules.
But this year Covid has made me redouble my efforts in case we end up in a festive lockdown.
I'm stockpiling everything I need for my special Christmas cupcakes and biscuits, putting butter in the freezer and buying extra herbs, spices and dried fruit for baking now.
I’m known for my super planning and August is the month I already have shopping done, presents wrapped, outfits selected and schedules written. I’ve planned what decorations will be in each room and will put them up at the end of the month.
I’ve already posted presents to family overseas.
Friends think I am a festive freak but when they’re rushing around in December looking for sold-out items, I can kick back safe in the knowledge my family Christmas will run off hitch free.
It’s something I’ve inherited from my mum, Donna, 50, who can’t understand why other people aren’t ready in August.
I am someone who hates to be late, but I also really love Christmas. Starting early means I can enjoy the festivities for five months.
Covid-19 has shown me the true value of family and I’m even more determined than ever to have the perfect Christmas. I’ve even started planning for Christmas 2021!”
'I've started playing Christmas music'
Mum-of-three Rebekah Morland, 27, from Reading, is so Christmas-obsessed she has already got her festive bedding out, is putting her decorations up and has wrapped her presents.
She said: “Ever since I was little Christmas has been extra special, particularly as my birthday is on the 19th December.
My husband Luke, 27, a plasterer, is used to seeing me washing the Christmas jumpers in August and bringing the decorations out of the loft.
We have a special Christmas ornament to remember all our special times as a couple.
Christmas shopping starts on Boxing Day and I have alerts set up for Amazon and other websites so I know when the sales are on.
I’ve got all the gifts for family and friends, and later this month I’ll start on stocking fillers.
By March, I had bought my children’s main presents, wrapped them and stored them away. This year I’ve spent £250 each on Jamie, 10, Lily Rose, eight, and Iyla-Jane, four.
I’ve got all the gifts for family and friends, and later this month I’ll start on stocking fillers.
Our special Christmas Santa decoration, bought for £180 a few years ago, is out of storage and in the hallway. I’ve even started playing Christmas music, despite the hot weather.
I check the bulbs on the outside lights this week so I can replace and repair any broken ones in plenty of time. I’ve planned how I will decorate each room and the garden, and I’ve put the Christmas bedding on the children’s beds.
As we’re coming out of the stress of lockdown, the house is filled with a special Christmas room spray to give us all something to look forward to.
Two of my children have autism and seeing the Christmas decorations coming out calms them.
I have my supermarket order lists ready so I can simply click when it’s time.
Some of my friends think I’m bonkers, but many of them ask for Christmas preparation tips. Some even ask me to buy their gifts for them, which I’m more than happy to do because I just love Christmas."
'I’ve already bought all my Christmas cards'
Mum-of-three Fiona Daly, 40, lives near Leamington Spa with her children, Joe, 18, Morgan 17 and Darcy, five. She works as a full-time carer for Morgan who has juvenile onset arthritis.
She reckons she has done two thirds of her preparations already.
She said: “Like many mums of children with health problems, money is always tight and I have to watch every penny. I am the sole breadwinner for my family and I want to give my children all the things other kids have.
Morgan has had several operations, which means we spend lots of time in hospital. She has had both hips replaced and is due to have two new knees, which is a tough prospect for a teenager and she feels very self-conscious about her appearance.
So whenever I see special offers on makeup and hair accessories, I buy them and stockpile them.
My son Joe insists on high quality trainers which usually cost about £150, so I buy those in the January sales when they are half price.
Those were some of my best bargains this year along with some designer handbags from TK Maxx that were about a quarter of the usual price.
I buy things all year round, in sales and in charity shops.
I’ve bought around two thirds of all my Christmas presents so far – around 30 presents of different sizes and I’ve roughly spent £700 – but I reckon they would have cost about £2,500 at full price.
I’ve already bought all my Christmas cards too – I send about 50 each year –and all my wrapping paper plus an almost new Christmas tree that lights up which I got in a warehouse sale.
I’ve wrapped about half my presents so far.
I have to hide everything in the loft, otherwise Darcy would find them and start unwrapping!
I usually have the whole extended family round to mine for Christmas dinner so I collect Nectar points all through the year to spend on a big turkey and a nice joint of beef.
I always like planning well in advance and I’ll often sit wrapping presents in the evening, imagining the look on the kids’ faces when they open them on Christmas Day."
'We've got a shared spreadsheet'
Cora Harrison, 28, lives with her wife Helen, also 28, and their cat Mittens in Wakefield, West Yorks. Both freelance travel writers, they happily shop for Christmas all year round.
She said: “I’ve always loved a bargain. I used to get up on Boxing Day morning and shop for all the following year’s presents.
Not just Christmas ones, but birthdays, Mother’s Day and so on.
I hate panicking and feeling that pressure to get everything all at once in December.
Now Helen and I pick up gifts whenever we see something. Christmas shopping doesn’t start and stop in our house, it never ends.
At the supermarket, I’ll always have a look at the clearance section in case there are any possible presents.
I reckon we save at least £200 a year by buying presents in the sales.
We always choose gifts with a certain person in mind and we’ve got a shared spreadsheet we can access on our phone so we can fill it in when we buy something for each person.
Even though we might have bought some gifts a year in advance, we have never had the problem that they have already got it by the time Christmas comes round.
Between us, we’ve got four young nieces and nephews. With kids, it’s hard to know what they might be into if you buy it several months before the big day, so we always go for non-trend presents that will always appeal.
Last year, we went to Asda on Christmas Eve because there is always reduced food on offer, and Helen bought about £100 of decorations for about £7.
I also make sure I get wrapping paper in the January sales and I never pay more than 50p a roll.
By mid-November, everything’s sorted so we can enjoy the countdown by taking our nieces and nephews to Christmas concerts and markets. There might be one or two gifts left to buy, usually for the men as they are always difficult to shop for.
I imagine more people might think about preparing early this year. If the current coronavirus advice remains, who is going to want to queue outside the shops in the cold in December?”
'I've saved at least £200'
Nilufer Atik, 45, lives with her partner Matt, 39, and their son Milo, three, in Surrey. She always shops early for the festive season and says it reduces the stress and cost.
She said: “Although most people were desperate for lockdown to end so they could head to the nearest beer garden for a pint or meet up with friends for a coffee, I couldn’t wait to hit the shops.
Not to pick up a new dress or perfume though – to finish off my Christmas shopping.
I’ve always started preparing for Christmas Day months in advance, sometimes, even as early as the previous Boxing Day, and this year was no different.
I had bought most of my gifts, decorations and even edibles by the time lockdown hit in March. Doing this not only saves me a fortune, it also takes all the stress out of Christmas shopping come December time.
I can’t stand the thought of battling my way through crowds of shoppers in the cold.
I usually pick up reduced Christmas cards, wrapping paper, and any new decorations I like once they get reduced from Boxing Day onwards.
Last year, I even bought some minced meat in a jar for mince pies, pickled walnuts, chocolate coins and Christmas cake – all of which were less than half price and have use-by dates past December 2021. I paid under £5 for the lot.
I do the same with presents too, buying whenever the sales pop up. In February I bought my mum a beautiful silver locket with the word ‘Love’ inscribed on it for a discounted £24.99 instead of £59.99.
I also bought two sports T-shirts for my other half Matt, 39, for £10 each rather than £22 and loads of toys for my three-year-old son, Milo, for half price.
I’ve grabbed even more gifts now that the shops have reopened as many have reduced prices to get rid of stock.
I reckon I’ve saved at least £200. The biggest bonus though is that while everyone is running around trying to get ready for their Christmas this December, not to mention paying over the odds for the things they need, I can sit back, relax and enjoy some quality time with my family knowing I’ve got everything already prepared.”
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