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‘TIS THE SEASON… FOR SHOPPING

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The year seems to have gone by in a blink, and before we know it, we’ll be caught up in the revelries of Christmas. With a few weeks to go, Pearl Mathias brings you a guide to getting your shopping done right

Is it ever too early to get excited about the most wonderful time of the year? Whether you celebrate Christmas in its entirety or not, we’re all perked up during this joyful season; and with carols softly playing in street-side shops, and sweet treats and decorations lining stores already, how can one not be? Although it’s a tad too early to start hanging up fairy lights (or, is it?), there are some things that we can get started on right away to ease our work during the festivities. We can all agree that the two most important parts of this festival are getting your gifting game right and arranging for scrumptious food and drinks. We bring you a guide on how to start prepping for them.

YOUR GIFTING GAME
At the end of the day, it all comes to down to those precious, gift-wrapped boxes that lie under the Christmas tree or which are stuffed into stockings meticulously lined up on the mantelshelf — and the joy they bring. Here are a few checkpoints to strengthen your game.

  • Whom you’re gifting: Leave the task of gifting to the eleventh hour and you are more likely to forget someone, and you wouldn’t want that during the festivities. So, start by compiling a list of people you would want to gift this year. It can contain only those closest to you such as immediate family and friends, or it can include a host of people from colleagues, store keepers, hairdressers and even your children’s teachers. Go over your list once before moving on to the next step.
     
  • What you’re gifting: You can now start thinking about the perfect gift for each person. The more you know someone, the easier it is to narrow down a good gift. This is an important step in the gift giving process and starting early on helps us to spend a good amount of time figuring out the perfect gift.
     
  • Where you’re buying from: It’s important to select a few good places where you’ll find gifts, and at the best deals. Going to a mall with your shopping list in hand, you can easily get carried away by the glitzy stuff, and you may miss out on good options elsewhere.
     
  • Under wraps: Once you’re satisfied with your shopping, the last step is fairly simple, but a little time-consuming. Usually we let the gifts speak for themselves, but this doesn’t mean that they deserve shabby wrapping. Pick out pretty papers in gold, green, white and red, and seal the surprise with shiny ribbons. The icing on the cake would be to include a hand-written note.

A FEAST TO REMEMBER
If you’re planning to host your friends and family at home for a Christmas meal, you should be prepared well in advance. Even if you’re the spriteliest chef on any given day, choosing the courses of the meal is quite a task, one that you must begin right away! Let our checklist assist you in making the right food and beverage calls.

  • Whom you’re serving: We often do things the wrong way around; we plan what we want to serve our guests before figuring out whom we’re serving. Make a list of invitees first, keeping children in mind.
     
  • What you’re serving: You’ve got your list of invitees. It’s time to decide the what.  Alongside their names, mark their food and drink preferences and food allergies, if any. This will help you cater to all kinds of eaters, vegans and calorie-watching diners alike. When you’ve finalised your courses for the evening, make a list of the ingredients needed for each, down to the T — this includes baking or cooking equipment too. This ensures that you’re not left scurrying about at the last minute, and that you don’t have to make do with cheap alternatives.
     
  • Setting it right: Of course, the entire meal will come together on the day itself, but smaller pre- preparations such as making sure that you have all the cutlery and crockery in place, personal touches such as making place cards for the invitees or going a step further and creating a menu card for the evening, will guarantee the perfect festive dining experience for your loved ones.
     
  • Check for deals: If your meals require non-perishable ingredients, it’s not too early to stock up on them. Given the demand during Christmas time, you may not find what you want if you set out to buy just before the day. Or you may end up spending more than you would want to. Look for deals on alcohol as well, whatever you need for the evening.
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