At this point, Christmas is only a faint glimmer in the horizon. Make like a wise man (or woman) looking at the star of Bethlehem – stay on track with some preparation. For the epic family gathering, make sure that orders are completed early for all of the condiments, sauces, wine, meats, cheese platters and so on. This can be ordered in advance from food hampers specialists like Forman and Field, who can provide a deluxe spread on the big day with minimum hassle.
At this point in time, it's too early to be thinking of presents. Unless you truly are a die-hard Christmas tragic, and simply must get into the shopping beforehand. The majority of the world will curse your resourcefulness, but you will be the winner come mid-December, when the rest of us poor sods will be stuck in massive queues. Another thing to think about now is making a Christmas card list. If you are one of the quaint and old-fashioned types who still do this – respect!
Aside from an annual review, bonus, annual leave and various other non-festive things going on, it's time for the madness to begin. Sporting or social organisations have parties and so do workplaces. It seems every workday is filled with pub afternoons and dinners. When not getting plastered on company time, it's time to start noticing and making mental notes about what your nearest and dearest want for Christmas. This is also the appropriate time to treat yourself. It's been a tough year, so a massage, manicure, haircut or facial doesn't go amiss right now. Anybody who is single should embrace Christmas parties as the place to mingle and meet new people.
Just as important as the right outfit for a Christmas party is being a gracious guest and getting a fabulous gift for the host. Christmas gift baskets can contain all sorts of decadent treasures: like smoked salmon, Prosecco and a selection of heavenly cheeses.
'House and Garden' types will be pre-preparing shortcrust pastry, drying herbs from the garden and carrying out other impressive pursuits. Others will be busy ordering Indian and lamenting the lack of a tree. There are many ways to spend Christmas…
There are no hard and fast rules about when mince pies should magically appear, but they always should – regardless of their mode of delivery or origin. Just be sure to pay the poor Dickensian urchin who brought them to your home, with a few matches and a tinderbox.