Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Hassle 3 Christmas at home

Hassle 3 Christmas at home

Christmas is a magical time of year, full of peace and goodwill. By contrast, preparing to celebrate the festivities at home can be a stressful experience. But with a little careful planning and delegation this needn't be the case. So how do you get Christmas at home with minimum stress and maximum sparkle?

What goes into organising the perfect Christmas at home?

  • Start with the little things – Christmas cards, advent calendars – and go from there.
  • Decide on the gifts, purchase them well in advance to avoid unkindly fellow Christmas shoppers and wrap them ready for delivery
  • Put your lights up, if you are using ones and decorate the Christmas tree
  • Plan your Christmas party– some thought will need to go into this if it's to stand out from the mulled wine and mince pie get-togethers
  • If it sounds like a horrendous amount of planning, delegate to Hassle 3. Simply hand over your to do list and we'll do the hard work. We have got great relationships with professional chefs, catering companies, cleaners and interior decorators, all of whom can come to your home to make your dreams a reality without you lifting a finger.

How far in advance do you usually start planning?

  • To have everything ready for the big day, start mid-November.
  • If you are planning to cook a traditional Christmas lunch you will need to pre-order the turkey or goose mid November, whether this is from one of the supermarkets, your local butcher or directly from a free-range farm.
  • The last posting date for UK first-class mail is 21 December, but with the ever-present threat of postal strikes it would be best to get Christmas cards in the post well in advance of this date. That means beginning to write cards or ordering pre-printed cards first week of December to leave enough time for addressing envelopes and getting them to the post office.
  • Corporate Christmas gifts are a headache for many a businessman. Hampers and cases of wine or champagne can be the perfect treat for work colleagues, but some of the top suppliers – such as Harrods and Fortnum and Mason - have their delivery dates booked up weeks in advance.

Is there anything that clients need to be reminded about in particular?

  • No offence, but men often need reminding of what gifts they are supposed to be buying!
  • I have put together a list of gift suggestions for all the various people in your life. So please feel free to ask for an inspiration before you get started.
  • If you are buying gifts for elderly people, please refrain from buying another pair of socks or a tie – they probably receive them every Christmas and Birthday! Instead, give them something unique, like Internet lessons or tickets for West End shows.
  • If you are planning to treat your little ones to some festive activities, these should be booked in advance. For example, visiting Santa's grotto is a magical treat for children, but at Harrods it was fully booked by mid-September. However at Hassle 3 we can suggest plenty of other places and next year you will receive a reminder from us early in the autumn so you can visit the place of your choice.

How to make Christmas really enjoyable?

  • Most people have Christmas Day organised but forget to make plans for the time between then and New Year
  • It's a good idea to have some activities up your sleeve to keep everyone entertained. A pantomime or musical is a classic treat, and open-air ice skating is always a hoot. Even if it's a good, brisk walk to work off the turkey and build up an appetite for the next big meal, when you've got guests it's always advisable to plan ahead. At Hassle 3 we can send you recommendations for pantos, open-air ice rinks and scenic walks in your area. We can also send you suggestions for family games.

How can clients best cope with the stress associated with planning Christmas?

  • Simply hand it all over to us, Hassle 3. Give yourself enough time – start talking to your lifestyle expert now, and come December you'll be worry-free.
  • Having said that, Christmas-related stress can be a great excuse for a bit of pampering. Talk to Hassle 3 and we can book you in for a mind-calming massage or a soothing spa session.