Talking of Christmas 2011 already

In Magazine Land Christmas 2011 is in full swing. The cookery editors are sweltering over this year’s twist on Christmas dinner (oh to have a sneak preview on whatever tops Heston Blumenthal’s orange stuffed Christmas pud – we could stuff the freezer and clean up) the fashion editors are done with bikinis and fretting over LBDs and the shopping editors desks are groaning with the must-have toys we will be fighting over on Christmas Eve.

It may seem daft to be drowning in tinsel and fairy lights when the rest of the country is sizzling in slingbacks, but we could learn a bit from the frothy world of magazines to give us a head start.
Christmas can send family budgets into freefall. According to the insurance website Gocompare – 7% of families are still paying off last Christmas’s credit card bill now, and at 18% interest rates that makes those reindeer socks an even less wise investment every day.

A lot of that debt can be put down to pure panic buying. Who hasn’t splurged on a daftly expensive sweater for the man in their life at Christmas simply because they haven’t got the time or energy to think of anything better? Now I’m not suggesting you start stocking up now on boxed sets of Minder and soap on a rope to beat the rush, but this could be the time to start looking out for presents for people you know are difficult to choose for. If you are lucky enough to be going away this summer keep an eye out for potential Christmas presents – and I don’t mean you buy your Aunty June a raffia donkey, but she might appreciate some delicate silver jewellery or some handmade lace or  pretty pottery. But don’t let your holiday head warp your judgement – a sangria jug with Ibiza scrawled across it is not going to look any better in December, but an olive wood salad bowl just might save your bacon. Talking of which, if you are holidaying closer to home keep an eye out for potential foodie presents you can buy online nearer the time – a hamper from a farmer in Cornwall is likely to be better value and look far more attractive than a boxed bottle of port and Stilton bought in a panic from a supermarket.

  Equally, it might be a bit premature to buy your children’s big ticket presents now, God forbid you should peak too early and snaffle the last Hello Kitty DS just as they switch their affections to Justin Bieber, but it wouldn’t hurt to hoover up a few cleverly chosen books and toys now, especially if you have hordes of nephews and nieces.  
Right, I’m off to write my Christmas cards and check the fairy lights for blown bulbs – how will you be spending the day? Let me know your best and daftest ideas for spending Christmas in July.

Scary statistic of the day:
We’ll all have to work to 70 to pay off the country’s debts according to number crunchers PricewaterhouseCoopers

Deal of the day:
50% off a holiday to Disneyland Paris and more money in your kiddybank if you buy it through KidStart – think of the unsuitable Christmas presents you could buy there!