Book early for a great Christmas

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Crazy though it sounds, now is the time to plan for the best Christmas ever.

Minimise last minute panics and credit meltdown in December by thinking about all the aspects of a great Christmas that you can book in advance.

Bear in mind that everyone – that’s groups of friends, clubs, families, companies and workmates – looks forward to partying in the festive season.

Similarly, December wouldn’t be the same without the annual trip to the panto, even if you never step inside a theatre the rest of the year.

And of course parents the world over are buying presents to give their children on that special day of the year.

Getting ahead of the game under these circumstances is a no-brainer, though you wouldn’t think it to judge by stress levels all over the UK once the countdown to Christmas comes down from months to weeks, then hours.

If you’re organising the office bash or a big family get-together in December, start now by ringing round venues for details on availability, menus, prices and accommodation, then move swiftly on to agree on a choice and book.

Whatever you decide, remember that the sooner you book, the better your chances of getting in at the most popular restaurants, halls or hotels on the night you want.

Buy some of your Christmas presents now, because that way you can make sure they are the best and most thoughtful you’ve ever given as well as spread the financial burden of Christmas over a longer period.

There’s plenty of time to arrange for a personalised gift like a portrait to be made, to set up an unforgettable experience or put in an order to insure against any last minute hiccups.

Many local shops selling larger items like bicycles, run schemes for staggered payments on Christmas presents.

You’ve probably already got an idea who’s coming for dinner on Christmas Day, and whether family are staying with you.

Whether you’re getting grand with a goose, or traditional with turkey, cooking a family Christmas dinner takes weeks in preparation, not to mention all the “bits on the side” like Christmas pudding, cheese straws and mince pies.

Local butchers and produce shops will soon be opening up their order books and they’ll be filling up fast.

Think about the drinks too – supermarket and off-licence shelves will have slim pickings if you don’t get round to them before Christmas Eve.