Unlike many folk in the USA, many Europeans don't put up trees and decorations until at least the middle of December, sometimes not until Christmas Eve. When the boys were at school in the UK, we used to put our tree up on the last day of term, or perhaps the day later - usually around Dec 20th. This year we'll aim for Dec 14th, since we're having our house group end-of-year gathering that evening.
The good thing about this is that we're not fed up of seeing the decorations by Boxing Day, so can enjoy them for the full twelve days of Christmas, taking them down, as is traditional, on January 5th or 6th. The not-so-good thing is that it's somehow hard to remember that Christmas is coming. Particularly since there aren't many decorations around the town either, or in shops. We sang a couple of carols at church on Sunday, and it came as quite a shock to realise that it was Advent Sunday.
Still, I think I'm more organised than usual by this time of year. On Wednesdays I usually spend the morning in the kitchen: making stock, and soup, and perhaps some lemonade, as well as the usual bread. I also clean out the fridge somewhat.
So for the last few Wednesdays I've also done a bit of Christmas cooking - I made our Christmas cake three weeks ago, and have been 'feeding' it with brandy once a week since then. Last week I made a large batch of mincemeat and yesterday I made our Christmas puddings. I don't do a lot of sweet, high-fat cookery at this time of year, but these three are essential. Next week perhaps I'll make our first mince pies.
I also seem to be doing quite well for present ordering. I make good use of Amazon UK and wishlists for various relatives - and today, I made the last necessary orders. Richard also ordered something that Tim wants; a good thing he did it this early, as it's currently out of stock, though should be available within three days.
Today I wrote the first draft of our family newsletter, and also created a photo calendar at the Big Huge Labs site. Since we'll be printing them ourselves, at Richard's office, I didn't register - just created the individual pages, having selected relevant photos of the cats, and saved them on my hard drive.
I'd quite like to get the newsletters printed and cards written by the end of the weekend, and everything posted next Monday when I'll be going to the PO Box as usual. I did initially think of last Monday, but wasn't THAT organised...!