IF you feel panicked that it’s already December and you haven’t given Christmas a second thought, then fear not.
We have enlisted an A-Team of professionals who have some great tips and tricks that you can get started with now.
Getty – Contributor Don’t worry if you are already feeling panicked this December because we have some great tips to share
From wrapping and shopping to entertaining and decorating, we’ve got all the seasonal short-cuts you’ll ever need.
EXPERT gift-wrapper Jane Means trains staff at Harrods, House Of Fraser and Fortnum And Mason.
With her tips, below, the only thing that will be getting stuck this year is your wrapping paper.
Getty – Contributor Use double-sided tape to give your gifts a professional finish
- Stock up well on materials early as you always need more paper and ribbon than you think. It’s such a hassle to head to the shops for more paper when you’re up against it.
- Buy plenty of non-festive paper with dots or stripes as well as those emblazoned with Santa and snowmen. Anything left over will still be suitable for birthdays later in the year.
- Double-sided tape will give a professional finish to gifts and become your festive BFF. If you are using sticky tape, try to use minimal amounts and place it where you would tie your ribbon so it is not as obviously seen.
- For presents with awkward shapes, don’t despair. Instead of wasting time trying to make it look neat, opt for flexible wrapping such as tissue, cellophane or netting.
- For rustic, inexpensive accessories, collect sticks, cones and foliage. These look really stylish.
INTERNATIONAL party planner Sarah Haywood says entertaining during the festive season doesn’t have to be a stressful affair.
Getty – Contributor For surprise visitors, have nibbles stocked up in your pantry and make sure your family knows they are off limits
- If you get caught short with chilled wine, speed up the process by wrapping a clean, wet tea towel around the wine bottle. Pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes then serve.
- For those surprise guests, stock up on nibbles such as cheese, crisps and dips but make sure to warn the family these are off-limits. Label the designated items “back-up bites” – and use the freezer to its full potential.
- Don’t be a kitchen martyr. If someone offers to help, pass them an apron, but don’t kill the party by obsessively clearing up. Clean as you go and ensure the dishwasher is empty before the party starts so it can be filled sporadically.
- Avoid over-the-top lighting by making use of lamps and candles. Bunch up fairy lights and pop them in a bowl on the table for an instant lift.
- Use leftover Christmas pudding to make an easy dessert. Let ice cream start to soften, then crumble up the pudding and mix it in. Delicious.
THE Customer Whisperer Kate Hardcastle is a retail expert. Whether you are an online shopper or prefer trawling the high street, her advice will save you time and money.
Getty – Contributor Personalising gifts shows that the present wasn’t a last-minute buy
- Prepare your finances – and don’t just check your overdraft and credit card limit. Plan what you can afford to spend and stick to it.
- Have a conversation with any friends and family who may be experiencing financial woes. Opt out of unnecessary present buying and maybe just go out for a great meal instead.
- Don’t go over budget because of packaging and delivery costs. Factor that into your spending.
- Online shopping has just as many traps as traditional stores, so stay focused. Ignore the hype of home pages screaming “stocking fillers” and “Secret Santa gifts”. Use online filters and search specifically for the products you are after.
- Personalisation lets the recipients know their gift isn’t a last-minute buy. The high street is full of items that can easily be given that extra-special touch, from chocolate bars and cuddly toys to jewellery.
Here’s how to look like Lana Del Rey in a Gucci inspired dress without breaking the bank
LANA Del Rey wowed fans with her style when she first came out with the big hit Summertime Sadness. The 32-year-old singer’s style has only improved with age, as five years on she looks still…
LANA Del Rey wowed fans with her style when she first came out with the big hit Summertime Sadness.
The 32-year-old singer’s style has only improved with age, as five years on she looks still looks smoking hot.
The singer oozes style in this 70s inspired frock, £25, Boohoo
Here’s where you can copy the look and pay high street prices for her celebrity style.
How to look like Lana Del Rey
Brooches, £12 for two, Accessorize Hourglass Film Noir Mascara, £25
There’s now Harry Potter activewear… perfect for a sweaty game of Quidditch
AUSTRALIAN fashion brand, Black Milk Clothing, has released a new range of sportswear, inspired by everyone’s favourite wizard, Harry Potter. Team Hogwarts activewear will go live on December 18 – …
AUSTRALIAN fashion brand, Black Milk Clothing, has released a new range of sportswear, inspired by everyone’s favourite wizard, Harry Potter.
Team Hogwarts activewear will go live on December 18 – so get your wands ready.
Black Milk Wands at the ready, especially with this Harry Potter activewear in tow
Courageous Gryffindor, creative Ravenclaw, dedicated Hufflepuff or sly Slytherin, pick your house then choose your tank top.
Pieces start from £40 (AUS$70) and include leggings, tanks, sweatshirts and even dresses.
The leggings are a particular favourite, as they allow you to proudly show off your favourite wizard house.
Alternatively, you can choose a subtler style which still comes with a very handy pocket for your wand.
Black Milk When you like Harry Potter, but when you like it subtle. Still, there’s room for your wand
It’s been twenty years since the first Harry Potter book, but enthusiasm for our favourite wizards has never waned.
The activewear collection is perfect for those sweaty Quidditch games – a sport which has grown increasingly popular since the first instalment J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books.
Black Milk Choose your house then choose your tank top
Demure, daring and downright dangerous dresses for your Christmas party
WHEN it comes to picking your Christmas party dress, how much do you dare to bare? A midi, long-sleeve or high neckline can see you through that festive function then dinner with the in-laws. Or if…
WHEN it comes to picking your Christmas party dress, how much do you dare to bare?
A midi, long-sleeve or high neckline can see you through that festive function then dinner with the in-laws.
Or if you believe less is more, you could take the plunge in a low-cut frock or pull on a thigh-baring mini to frock around the tree.
The High Street is awash with styles, so there’s bound to be something to suit every occasion.
Here, SIOBHAN O’CONNOR has picked nine very different dresses, ranging from demure, all the way to daring.
So take your pick and see if you’ll be on the naughty or nice list this Christmas.
Cover up for Dec 25 with Gran
Stewart Williams – The Sun Long-sleeve velvet midi, £30, Nastygal.com; heels, £32.99, New Look
Put glam back into lunch with in-laws
Stewart Williams – The Sun Scoop-back dress, £25, Isawitfirst.com; earrings, £7.99, New Look; heels, £64, Office
Stand out in sparkles at the office party
Stewart Williams – The Sun Sequin dress, £55, Dorothy Perkins; courts, £19.99, New Look; bag, £5, Primark
Look a cracker for your date night dinner
Stewart Williams – The Sun Sweetheart- neckline dress, £18, Miss Selfridge; heels, £69, Office
All thighs on you for Christmas Eve drinks
Stewart Williams – The Sun Sequin blue dress, £55, Asos.com; heels, £25.99, New Look
Dare to bare for a girls’ night out
Stewart Williams – The Sun High-neck dress, £20, Missguided.co.uk; bag, £26, Topshop; heels, £40, Missguided at Schuh
See in the New Year in nothing butt this
Stewart Williams – The Sun Sheer tassel dress, £15, Boohoo.com; heels, £16, Primark
Add the sex factor to evening activities
Stewart Williams – The Sun Dress, £40, Ohpolly.com; embellished courts, £120, Dune
Bring the party to the bedroom in sequins
Stewart Williams – The Sun Sequin dress, £40, Prettylittlething. com; earrings, £7.99, Bershka; heels, £30, Missguided at Schuh
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