As I look out of the window, the rain is pouring; my tomato plants are struggling to stay upright against the wind and I believe the heating has just come on. Perfect weather for tackling the next task: planning and ordering – for the ‘C’ word…. no, not that C word… Christmas!
As much as I love Christmas in our family, it’s an expensive time. This is why I start planning early – it allows me to save money! As a business hell bent on sustainability, I’m keen not to buy plastic and single use items. We also don’t go overboard with decorations – opting for the ‘less is more’ approach, and stylish, sustainable options. We all know that prices increase dramatically for anything Chrismassy after October 31st, so here’s some of the things I do for my festive preparations:
- Look at what I put up last year and deciding what to reuse, update or enhance
- Look what I can use from our garden to create natural plant and flower wreaths
- Look at the August sales to see if I can find anything I want to use such as more candles, wooden Christmas Decs, wreath displays and spray paint
- Look at eco-friendly Christmas trees by renting a real tree from a British farm.‘Love a Christmas tree’ offers real Nordmann Firs delivered to your door from their Leicestershire family farm from £20.
- I’ll check fairy lights and buy batteries (batteries increase threefold during December!!)
- I’ve decided to start using vinyl (reusable) lettering on our windows and doors with personalised messages and branded designs. I’ve ordered this now so it’s here ready for me to apply on December 1st, and one less thing to think about
- We have a varied client base – many religions, backgrounds & ages, so we’re respectful of the terminology we use for messages and displays. We tend to say ‘Jolly Holidays’ etc instead of ‘Happy Christmas’! Which keeps it open and welcoming to everyone.
- I’ll also start to contact our local suppliers and start discussing their Christmas products and launches
- Early ordering can mean better negotiating power
- December fun – Create a list of festive activities happening locally for your guests to enjoy
I’m also writing to all magazine editors looking for Christmas Gift ideas. For us we want to promote vouchers as the perfect gift for someone that’s hard to buy for, or loves to take UK holidays. The leg work needs to bed one now, as press work a minimum 3 months ahead of publication. Vouchers are a great gift idea, and this year I’m creating pre-printed vouchers on beautiful paper embedded with wildflower seeds. The plan is to post them, so the recipient has something tangible, and to plant and remember after their stay. Personalisation is becoming so important to consumers, and our industry can make memories for people – so let’s embrace it!