Your Christmas Planning Checklist: A festive 12-day crash course with HelloFresh December 14, 2018

by Clare Riley Tips and Tricks

Christmas is a time for festive fun and making great memories – but it can also be a time for stress as the feeling of being overwhelmed by Christmas planning takes over. HelloFresh is here to help with our festive 12-day crash course covering everything from wrapping gifts to food prep. Join us as we count down every day from now until Christmas Day…

TIP #1
Set the mood and start decorating

It’s officially 14th December – 12 days out from Christmas – which means if you haven’t already, now is the time to start pulling out those ornaments and decorations you half-heartedly packed away last January. If you are buying new, check out the latest festive trends in store from Kmart and Target, including must-have rose gold ornaments, white Christmas trees and rustic plaids.

When decorating the house, be prepared to give yourself enough time. It is reported that Aussies can take an average of up to seven hours simply decorating at Christmas.

Top tip: One of the easiest ways to bring the festive spirit to life is by filling your home with your favourite scents from freshly baked ginger cookies to a sandalwood infuser. Check out what limited edition Christmas scents are on offer from popular candle and home fragrance brands.

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TIP #2
Map out your Christmas Day timings
Did you know that creating a to-do list can reduce anxiety by 33%?

To avoid stress this season, pull out your notebook and plan your perfect Christmas Day. If the mere thought of having to keep track of a piece of paper during the silly season leaves you feeling stricken, head to your smartphone’s app store for an easy-to-use checklist app such as Do! or Wunderlist.

Spread key events and activities from cooking, presents, games, family walks and meals out throughout the day, it will make you and your guests feel comfortable. Once you have a plan in place you’ll know when the ham needs to go in the oven, the drinks on ice, and the perfect time to hit play on the Christmas playlist.

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TIP #3
Know your Christmas post deadlines
There’s nothing worse than losing a gift in the mail. The lead up to Christmas is typically one of the busiest times of the year for mail and courier services. When it comes to the timings, it’s best to send out your gift orders no later than Sunday 18th December. Don’t forget if you’re a last-minute shopper, you’ll still be able to get your gifts out express if they’re mailed by Friday 21st December. Visit https://auspost.com.au for further information.

Top tip: Now is also the time to send any Christmas cards overseas, with ‘card only’ taking approximately 6-10 days to arrive. Check your local post office for details.

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TIP #4
Streamline your shopping strategy
Did you know Aussies spend approximately 13 hours doing their Christmas shopping?

There is no simpler way to crush your festive spirit than spending a Saturday morning heading into a shopping centre and facing the Christmas rush. With many major retailers offering extended shopping hours (as late as midnight) try picking off-peak times such as Sunday nights or first-thing Sunday morning. It’s also recommended to head into shops with multiple departments to cover presents for as many friends and family as possible in one transaction. If you’re really lucky, it’ll be one-stop shopping.

Chloe Smith, shopping expert from Westfield says‘ Christmas shopping is hard enough as it is: “Add in hundreds of people trying to do the same thing as you, and a trip to the shops can turn into a festive headache so, as you would expect weekends are a lot busier – you’ll want to visit between 8am – 11am or 6pm – 10pm on a Saturday, with Sundays usually at least ‘a little busy.”

Top Tip: Spread your shopping out each week at different stores to avoid getting stuck in shopping centre traffic, i.e. shop for the kids one week, parents and partner the next, and don’t forget that list! Don’t forget online – Christmas cut-off dates for major online sites, such as The Iconic and ASOS, vary between 16th and 25th December.

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TIP #5
Plan your Christmas Day playlist
Only seven days to go! Now it’s time to start thinking about the atmosphere on Christmas Day. Here’s a playlist of 15 upbeat holiday-themed songs that will fit any festive scene this December. So roll up the sleeves on your Christmas sweater and head to the dancefloor with the “Christmas Party-Ready” playlist now available on iTunes.

  1. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” Jackson 5
    2. “Man With the Bag,” Jessie J
    3. “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays,” *NSYNC
    4. “Santa Baby,” Madonna
    5. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” Brenda Lee
    6. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” Jessica Simpson
    7. “Christmas in Hollis,” Run DMC
    8. “One More Sleep,” Leona Lewis
    9. “Frosty the Snowman,” The Ronettes
    10. “Last Christmas,” Carly Rae Jepsen
    11. “Drummer Boy,” Justin Bieber
    12. “Run Rudolph Run,” Chuck Berry
    13. “Underneath the Tree,” Kelly Clarkson
    14. “Linus and Lucy,” Vince Guaraldi Trio
    15. “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Mariah Carey

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TIP #6
Prepare your Christmas movie guide
The Christmas season is ramping up and there is nothing more exciting than watching your favourite Christmas movies to get your spirits lifted. Here’s our selection of Christmas blockbusters to watch ahead of Christmas Day.

On Stan

  • Love Actually
  • Dr Who Christmas Specials
  • Home Alone
  • Christmas with the Kranks

On Foxtel Now

  • A Christmas Carol
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol
  • The Grinch
  • The Miracle on 34th Street

On Netflix

  • Elf
  • Bad Santa
  • Jingle all the way
  • Four Christmases

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TIP #7
Remember to breathe

For some, Christmas Day can be a recipe for disaster – according to a 2011 survey of 2,000 men, one-third thought women make too much fuss over Christmas. Half of men wouldn’t bother sending Christmas cards and 40% would cancel visits from family. Instead, most manage to have a perfectly good time without having moments of crisis in the lead up to Christmas Day.

Psychologist Clare Rowe says: “Try not to put too much pressure on Christmas Day itself – remember it’s just one day! If it doesn’t turn out perfect or how you imagined try and roll with it! In the lead up to Christmas through December it is okay to turn down some invites without trying to cram everything it. Decide where your priorities are and make time to spend with your nearest and dearest. Finally, rally the troops and call in help to prepare Christmas lunch to take the pressure off one person.”

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TIP #8
Prepare food early where you can

Cooking for Christmas is often deemed the most overwhelming job. Recognising this, Australia’s number one meal kit provider, HelloFresh, has curated a Christmas Box that takes the stress out of decision making and makes the Christmas meal foolproof. The HelloFresh Christmas Box provides everything you need to create a perfect three-course Christmas feast for your family and friends. Here’s the menu:

With three box sizes available; small (4-6 serves), medium (8-10 serves) and large Box (12-14 serves), each box contains delicious recipes for Christmas including:

Christmas Ham with Marmalade Glaze, Smoked Salmon Blini with Goat Cheese & Chives and Mini Mango, Passionfruit & Mint Pavlovas. Cheese platters are also available.

Prices start from $26 per person.

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TIP #9
Start your Christmas cleaning
Just three days to go! It’s time to tidy the house and get it ready for the onslaught of family and friends. “The lead into Christmas is one of our busiest periods as people realise that their house is about to host more people in one week than it has in a month,” says Elke Keeley, co-founder of UrbanYou.

Top Tip: While your UrbanYou pros are working their magic on your home, spend your time finalising your present shopping. Don’t forget to grab a few extra boxes of chocolates for any unexpected Christmas day visitors. With outsourcing cleaning services such as UrbanYou, you have more time to finalise that guest list that has gone from four to 14 overnight!  Get $30 off your clean this Christmas using code hello30.

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TIP #10
Perfect your gift wrapping with these steps
Are you someone who finds the perfect gift but can never get the wrapping right? Stressed out by the idea of gift wrapping? Have no fear! Dress up your gifts by simply following this step-by-step guide!

  1. Make sure you have the correct amount of gift wrap – always cut more than you need so you’re not caught short.
  2. Fold each of the longer sides over and secure with tape at the top and the bottom. Create a cleaner look by folding over one of the edges – tucking it under.
  3. Create two triangles on the short ends of the gift and fold them together – securing with tape. Repeat on the other end.
  4. Use bows and labels to finish the job!

Top Tip: The rule for choosing wrapping paper is the thicker the better, so it won’t rip!

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TIP #11
Begin your festive feast prep, it’s Christmas Eve!
YES! The HelloFresh Christmas Box has arrived on your doorstep, but now what!? Don’t worry, to keep Christmas Day as relaxed as possible (and crucially, free up your oven space!), we have put together a simple cooking timeline that you can follow to ensure there is no delay in keeping your guests waiting for food.

Prep step #1
TOAST THE NUTS
Takes about 15 mins – toast all the nuts separately in a pan (macadamias, pistachios, slivered almonds) and store at room temperature in airtight containers.
To be used in these recipes: Golden Roast Chicken, Sauteed Greens, Mixed Pea Salad, Mini Pavlovas

Prep step #2
WHIP THE CREAM
Takes about 10 mins – keep refrigerated.
It may separate slightly overnight, just quickly whisk it a few times before serving.
To be used in this recipe: Mini Pavlovas

Prep step #3
MAKE THE STUFFING
Takes about 25 mins – keep refrigerated.
To be used in this recipe: Golden Roast Chicken

Prep step #4
TOAST THE BREAD
Takes about 15 mins – store at room temperature in an airtight container.
To be used in this recipe: Tomato, Fetta & Basil Crostini

Prep step #5
MAKE THE BREADCRUMB TOPPING
Takes about 15 mins – store at room temperature in an airtight container.
To be used in this recipe: Sauteed Greens

Prep step #6
BAKE THE BROWNIES
Takes about 45 mins – allow to cool and store at room temperature for a cakey texture, or refrigerate for a fudge-like texture.
To be used in this recipe: Chocolate Brownies

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TIP #12
Enjoy your Christmas Day with family and friends
Merry Christmas! You have made it to the BIG day! It is all fun and food from here onwards so, jump out of bed and give the family or your loved one a Merry Christmas smooch and celebrate all the joy that the day has to bring.

An expert in celebrating Christmas having celebrated it every day for 25 years, Mr Christmas (Andy Parks) says: “Christmas is by far the best day of the year so, get your Santa apron on and serve up your HelloFresh Christmas ham for your guests and as Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) would say, ‘The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear’.

Top Tip: Don’t forget to have your zip lock bags and containers at the ready so your guests can take home the delicious food. The HelloFresh Christmas ham lasts for one week if stored in sealed container.

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