16 September 2020

A 2020 Christmas - Same, Same but Different

Not to put to fine a point on it, but if you aren't already preparing for Christmas, and you expect it to be the same, you're in for a big disappointment.

This is 2020 - the year of chaos. We've had bush fires that devastated a huge portion of our country, then came the rain and the floods; a pandemic that's caused huge unemployment; lockdowns that have kept us in our homes; stock shortages; food shortages. Our world and our lives have been turned upside down and inside out.

So this Christmas won't be the same. It will be a little different. But guess what? Every Christmas is different, even if it's the same. 

Our families change. Kids grow up. We welcome new family members. Our tastes change. So while things are the same, they are different.

This year is no exception. 

But with all the talk of shortages - and not just from me but from the boss of Woolworths and the Farmer's Federation and even our PM - if you want Christmas to be the same but different, you need to start now. 

Start making your shopping list. Start buying the shelf-stable foods you need, or the foods that will freeze. Get them when you see them because there's no guarantee that they'll be available in December.

If you are stuck in lockdown, you'll need to shop creatively. Try online. But look to your local community too. There are lots of wonderful small businesses within 5km of most Melbournians, and most Australians. Look in obscure places for gifts. Try newsagents and pharmacies. Look in the local florist and see what gift ideas they have. Even your local supermarket will have some gift ideas.

Think about making your gifts. 

Jams, relishes, pickles, caramelised onions, preserved lemons, MOO vanilla extract, MOO mustard are all easy to make, and can be made in bulk. They don't cost a lot to make, they don't need any special equipment but they are always well received and will save you a fortune. Have you checked the prices of gourmet jams lately?

Then there are spice mixes. Taco seasoning, Greek lamb rubs, spice mixes can all be made and jarred very cheaply.

If you have oranges, lemons or limes (or all three) you can make and bottle cordials. 

Popcorn - plain, flavoured or caramel corn. Or go really Aussie and make a big batch of Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs. Package in cellophane bags for a fun gift or stocking stuffer. 

If you knit you're limited only by your imagination. Dish cloths, fingerless gloves, knee rugs, beanies (yes I know it's summer but winter will be here before you know it). 

Crocheted items make lovely gifts too. I've been working on doyleys and coasters and table runners. Crochet the trim for tea towels, hand towels, face washers, pillow slips or even a t-shirt. 

 Sewing gives you so many options. This year jar openers are in the present box, along with pot holders, hot pads, aprons and tea towels. Pillowslip dresses are easy to make and so cute on little girls. A Christmas pillowslip could become a Christmas Day dress. Then there are bags, purses, backpacks, pouches and pencil cases. Again, you're limited only by your imagination.

Don't put it off, thinking you have plenty of time. The time may be there, but the items you need may ot be. 

We usually start our Christmas countdown in October, and we will be doing it again, with the aim to be completely finished with Christmas preparations by 30th November. 

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