In my fantasy life I am super organised with the presents bought and wrapped by the end of November, leaving plenty of time for a calm but creative countdown to the big day.
The reality is usually very different although this year I'm determined to make it happen the way it does in my daydreams (and yes, I realise I haven't much time left).
What could be better, with some Nat King Cole seasonal music on the stereo while the rain beats down, to sit round the table and get crafty with the kids.
Here's what I'm planning on doing with mine (note I said planning...).
- Christmas cards: Not original but there is something sweet about a home-made card. In a bid to prevent the house being covered in glitter I've invested in some glitter glue. We've also got a star paper puncher, blank cards and sequins galore.
- Mini trees: You'll need pine cones and plastic bottle tops for this. Glue the cones in to the tops and then decorate. Metallic coloured pipe cleaners work well as tinsel and glittery pom-poms are cool.
- Peg angels: Old fashioned wooden pegs with bases can be bought from craft stores. Draw on faces, pipe cleaners can be used as halos and wrap some white cloth around the pegs. Wings can be made by wrapping silver pipe cleaners around the waist and twisted behind into shape.
- Hand print characters: These kill two birds with one stone as they make a lovely keepsake of a time when your little ones were little. With a bit of imagination they can be turned into robins, reindeer, Santa faces or snowmen. There are some instructions here.
- Paper plate people: White paper plates are a crafting must. They can be cut up the middle and twisted into a cone to make a Christmas tree or an angel or two can be laid flat one on top of the other to make a snowman. Single plates can be used to make a Santa or reindeer face (with a red pom-pom for Rudolph).
- Salt dough decorations: Mix two cups of plain flour and one cup of salt then add one cup of water. Knead, adding more drops of water if needed, until you have a dough.Let it rest for 20 minutes then cut out stars and other festive shapes with Christmas cookie cutters. Make a hole in the top for some hanging ribbon. Dry naturally for 48 hours or in a low oven for four. Then decorate and varnish with PVA glue.
- Paper snowflakes: Simple but effective. Don't forget to draw round a plate (as I did one year), cut out, fold as small as you want then snip away. Look lovely stuck on windows.
- Jam jar candle holders: Decorate clean jars by sticking tissue paper on the outside. Wind some wire round the top and make a loop. Pop a nightlight candle inside to take carol singing on the end of a stick or use to decorate the table.
- Home-made wrapping paper: Buy a roll of brown paper and get the children stamping with potato cut outs of stars and Christmas trees. Add a ribbon to the present and a home-made tag made out of last year's cards.
- Colouring pages: When they're feeling creative and you're exhausted print out somefestive pictures and let them colour them in. If you're feeling organised you could print them onto card and use as children's placemats to keep them occupied at the table on Christmas day.