Other than Christmas in July, at this time of the year our team loves sleep-ins on cold Sunday mornings… and of course it means there’s plenty of time to get ready for Christmas in December! The chill in the air is a reminder for us at The Christmas Cart that the festive season is actually not that far away. And there are plenty of reasons why we think July marks the perfect time to get ready for Christmas.

Believe it or not, there are only five months until we will find ourselves celebrating Christmas again. And with a myriad of factors taking our attention already this year, there are probably many people out there who have not given a second thought to getting ready for Christmas yet. But mid-year is generally the ideal time to get things in motion.

Starting to get ready for Christmas now generates some great opportunities for saving cash, plenty of time and allowing you to have a stress-free Christmas Day (and a stress-free lead up too).

So, our planning gurus at The Christmas Cart have put together a few quick tips on what you should capitalise on now to get ready for Christmas.

#1. Get it on sale

Christmas gifts and all the goodies that go with Christmas festivities, like Christmas decorations and Christmas catering, can bite at the hip pocket if you don’t plan ahead. But a few budget-friendly tips and tricks can help to alleviate some of the expense if you start to get ready for Christmas now. Here are a few ideas.

Big brand clearances

Many of the large retailers, and smaller retailers too, host mid-year sales at this time of the year. Thanks to these clearance sales, you can pick up some pretty impressive Christmas gifts for really great prices. A lot of these sales are accessible online too – so you can have your Christmas gifts delivered straight to your door, without having to go anywhere!

If you want to get ready for Christmas gift shopping now, here are some ideas on stores offering a line-up of deals at the moment:

• Catch – has a massive range of items from fashion and beauty to all sorts of technology, toys, games and gadgets. And they have a membership which offers free delivery options too
• The Iconic – for men, women and kids’ clothing, shoes and accessories. The Iconic also offers free returns if you chose something that is not quite right
• Myer and David Jones – both are offering sales at the moment with a massive range of items available. You can purchase some of your favourite brands right now at fraction of their usual cost

Grab some goodies on sale and put them into a designated ‘Christmas cupboard’ or storage location. When you have finished shopping for each of your gift recipients, collate all your gifts and get ready for Christmas by wrapping them up.

Take advantage of our storewide clearance, including gift bags, gift wrap, bows and ribbons to finish the job well ahead of time.

Getting ready for Christmas gift shopping now also gives you plenty of time to plan the perfect present for each person, especially those tough ones to buy for.

* Tip: for some gift ideas and inspiration, be sure to check out our collection of Christmas Gift articles.

Christmas catering on sale

Don’t just get ready for Christmas gifting, think about what catering you need for Christmas Day too and buy your food items as they go on sale. Recipe ingredients like biscuits, cooking chocolate and soft drinks will last ahead of time for months. And if you see the perfect cut of meat on sale, remember that you can always freeze it for a few months. Why pay full price if you don’t have to! Just get ready for Christmas catering now.

#2. Test it out first

Christmas Day is not the time to test your newly-invented or newly-found recipes and creative cooking skills on your family and friends. The last thing that you want is hungry tummies and wasted morsels of inedible food. Instead, get ready for Christmas catering by giving those recipes and ideas a good test run beforehand. Keep your favourites and reserve the not-so-favourable and still-needs-some-work ones for another time.

Starting now allows lots of wiggle room in case of disaster. Remember to test the taste and make sure to test the efficiency of preparation and cooking time as well.

* Tip: if you share your Christmas catering duties with friends and family, start distributing a list of who is tasked with which items now to avoid food wastage and any double-ups. This also gives everyone the chance to get their items on sale, test and taste!

#3. There is no need to rush

Generally, people work at their best when they have time to plan and prepare. And when it comes to Christmas gatherings and festivities, no one ever enjoys an un-organised mess.

Get ready for Christmas and give yourself plenty of time by creating a list of chores to tick off well before Christmas celebrations kick-in. This checklist should include things such as home improvements and house preparation for the big day, gift planning and whatever you need for Christmas catering.

Preparation for the home

Are there areas of your home that could do with a little TLC before guests embark on your abode for Christmas Day?

• think about doggie-proofing your fence if there are furry friends coming to visit (or creating a temporary closed-in area if you don’t already have a fence)
• if you are hosting outdoors – a nice pressure clean will bring concreted or tiled floors under patios up sparkling as well as other pavement around the home
• mark a date to check that the chemicals are good for swimming in your pool
• do you need an extra trestle table for a food servery area? How do you plan to keep hot items warm, cold items cool, etc?

Christmas décor

With a great range of Christmas décor and decorations currently on sale at The Christmas Cart, do you need to replenish your Christmas décor for Christmas Day? Are your Christmas lights in working order? Do you have enough serveware, plates and cups, etc?

Christmas holiday time

Take advantage of this time to plan any extra bits and bobs that you might need over the holiday period at the end of the year as well.

• how are your swimmers looking after last years’ chlorine blitz?
• is your stash of beach towels looking a little tired?
• do the kids need some back-seat entertainment for the road trip that you have in mind?

Getting ready for Christmas in December at the middle of the year promotes time and budget-saving opportunities for everyone involved. If you have trouble deciphering which tasks to start first, we suggest diving right in and kicking things off with the most difficult so that you have an easy run as it gets closer to the big event.

Be sure to take advantage of our current sales, check out the entire range of Christmas décor and Christmas gifts we have available online at The Christmas Cart. It really is never too early to get ready for Christmas!