For some of us, being well prepared for Christmas means getting all your shopping done on Christmas Eve before the supermarket doors close.
However, there are some Christmas angels out there who begin preparations for the next Christmas as soon as the tree has been put back in the loft.
Take Rayna Warriner for instance. This busy mum makes sure she has time for the perfect Christmas with her family, by starting her festive preparations in January.
15 days till Christmas n guess who still has to do 99% of their Christmas shopping ??♀️
— T (@tiasteele_) December 10, 2017
Yes, while many of us are still recovering from the exertions of the party season, super-organised Rayna is hitting the high street, getting in her present buying early for the next Christmas.
Her strategic attitude makes a lot of sense. Like many people, Rayna found herself having to become much more organised once she became a parent.
Speaking to UNILAD, Rayna explained:
I didn’t think twice about it when I was growing up. It was all about enjoying Christmas as a child and now it’s more about making it enjoyable for everyone else.
Me on November 4th: I’m gunna do ALL of my Christmas shopping before December I will be so prepared
Me on December 24th talking to a cashier at 9pm: okay Gloria so ur SURE my 16 year old brother will want this 4 speed food processor as a gift????
— hanna lalonde (@HannaLalonde) December 11, 2017
I must admit, sometimes I have full-on anxiety ridden dreams where I don’t manage to get everything done it time for the festive period.
I end up imagining I’ve forgotten to get my sister’s present, or I failed to set my alarm Christmas Eve and only wake up after all the Christmas dinner has been eaten.
Rayna no longer feels such anxieties thanks to her excellent organisational skills, which to be honest are making me feel like a complete festive failure:
I kind of organise myself in advance, if that makes sense?
But I think it’s always about making sure everyone’s got the right present they wanted on their Christmas list, that’s the only thing that probably gets me anxious, because with children, they change their minds.
Am I the only person who hasn’t started there Christmas shopping yet ?
— Chloe ferry (@Chloe_GShore) December 11, 2017
Rayna’s secret to a stress free Christmas involves spreading out the shopping through the year, picking up presents as and when she sees them:
I start shopping in January. I go in the sales and I start buying stuff, the normal stuff that isn’t going to change, isn’t going to go out of fashion and those kind of things, the bog standard things I buy.
I keep collecting it all through the year really. Whenever I see it I think, oh that will do.
I go to places like Boots, because they do brilliant sales, so all the toiletry stuff and things like that for my girls.
I think you find, the only thing that changes, is packaging, the content stays the same.
— Shalena (@Shalingling) December 12, 2017
For those who dread the thought of hitting the high street the weekend before Christmas, this slow and steady philosophy is ideal.
Spreading the costs out is a great way to budget too.
As we all know, nothing drains your bank account quite like December…
Good morning everyone, except for people who finished their Christmas shopping 2 weeks ago.
— Donna McCoy (@Donna_McCoy) December 11, 2017
Of course, even the most mega methodical shopper can run into a few hurdles, especially when you’re a parent:
When our boys were younger, they wanted a scalextric, so we spent a couple of hundred pounds on a scalextric – got them the big set, with all the different cars.
Then about a week before Christmas, they changed their mind and we took the whole lot back – that was probably the one time we’ve done that.
Crikey! Anyone else feel really bad right now about stressing your parents out around Christmas time?
Going to attempt to finish my Christmas shopping today ?❄️??
— Tanya Burr (@TanyaBurr) December 11, 2017
With Christmas dinner, Scheduling Queen Rayna also keeps things smart while making sure to adapt to changes, which come with having a growing family:
We have a standard (food shopping) list that I keep and we buy from the list every year, with a few changes.
Obviously, now the children are all older, they eat more.
Have you done much Christmas shopping yet?!
— Mark (@MarkFerris199O) December 11, 2017
Rayna has offered the following tips to those who want to want to up their preparation game when it comes to Crimbo, advising ‘don’t panic buy’:
Buy your standard things you know everybody is going to want in the sale, when you see it, because you know you’re going to do it anyway.
I’m very much a person of research, I research what it is I’m looking for and I’ll go for the best price, making sure it’s the right thing, the right price and the right item – and then I’ll order it or go and buy it.
I do spend quite a long time researching stuff – I have a book – everyone has their own page and I write down in there everything I buy so I can total it up.
I have an idea of what I’m buying and I have my budget and I then think to myself, ‘right, well as long as I know’.
It's exactly 2 weeks till Christmas and I haven't even seen lights, went Christmas shopping, made gingerbread houses and convinced myself it's December yet.
— kay×lynn (@xhoku) December 12, 2017
For Rayna, diligent record keeping is a great way to make sure you aren’t buying surplus amounts:
I’ve done this myself, I’ve thought ‘oh I’m not very organised’ and then I’ve opened up the bottom of my wardrobe and thought ‘oh gosh that’s new’ and I’ll carry it over to the birthday because I’ve bought too much.
Christmas shopping is so hard when you like everything end up buying stuff for yourself and no one else ??♀️
— Mariana Ochoa (@Mariana_OchoaR) December 12, 2017
Unsurprisingly, Rayna loves Christmas, saying it’s her favourite time of year.
Her dedication to preparation throughout the year really pays off, ensuring she gets to spend plenty more time relaxing with her family during the festive season:
For me, I love just seeing the children enjoying themselves and I have my family come to stay for Christmas as well.
It’s family time. Literally, we just shut the doors and it’s all about games, opening the presents and just having quality time together.
I wanna get a tattoo but also I want a dog but also I need to finish Christmas shopping but also I should save money
— Candy Cane Sev (@SevLynnSays) December 11, 2017
My New Year’s resolution is to be more like Rayna!
However I just know, by next December, I’ll be running around the Trafford Centre like a headless turkey all over again…
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.