Sunday 11 February 2024

Start Planning Ahead for Christmas Now: Why Early Preparation Leads to a Merrier, happier Christmas

Later on in the year as the Christmas season draws nearer, it's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and put off thinking about Christmas until it's just around the corner. 

However, taking the time to plan ahead for Christmas even as early as now now can save you stress, time, and even money in the long run. 

By starting your preparations early, you can ensure that you have a more relaxed and enjoyable holiday season filled with cherished memories. Here are some compelling reasons why it's worth getting a head start on your Christmas planning.

Beat the Rush:

One of the most significant advantages of planning ahead for Christmas is that you can avoid the last-minute rush. By starting now, you'll have ample time to organise everything from decorations to gifts without feeling overwhelmed. No more scrambling to find the perfect present or fighting crowds at the store. Instead, you can leisurely browse online or in-person, knowing that you have plenty of time to make thoughtful choices.

Spread Out Costs:

Christmas can be an expensive time of year, but by planning ahead, you can spread out the costs throughout the previous year. Start budgeting now for gifts, food, decorations, and any other expenses you anticipate. 

By setting aside a little money each month, you'll be able to manage your finances more effectively and avoid the stress of a large, last-minute outlay. Plus, you'll have the opportunity to take advantage of early sales and discounts, saving even more money in the process.

Personalise Your Celebrations:

Planning ahead allows you to personalise your Christmas celebrations in meaningful ways. Whether you want to handcraft decorations, bake special treats, or create custom gifts, starting early gives you the time and space to bring your creative ideas to life. You can involve your family and friends in the process, making it a fun and memorable experience for everyone involved. By infusing your celebrations with personal touches, you'll create cherished traditions that will last for years to come.

Reduce Stress and Enjoy the Season:

Perhaps the most significant benefit of planning ahead for Christmas is that it helps reduce stress and allows you to truly enjoy the Christmas season. Instead of feeling frazzled and overwhelmed, you'll have the peace of mind knowing that everything is under control. 

You can focus on spending quality time with loved ones, participating in festive activities, and savoring the magic of the season without the constant worry of unfinished tasks looming over you. By taking a proactive approach to your Christmas preparations, you'll create a more relaxed and joyful atmosphere for yourself and those around you.

While it may seem early to start thinking about Christmas now, the benefits of planning ahead are undeniable. By beating the rush, spreading out costs, personalizing your celebrations, and reducing stress, you can make this holiday season truly special. So why wait? Start making your Christmas plans today and enjoy a merrier and more memorable holiday season ahead.



Wednesday 31 January 2024

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Water Charity Releases Chinese New Year 2024 Greeting Cards

Hope Spring, a Herefordshire-based water poverty alleviation charity, has launched their Chinese New Year 2024 ecards on their website as part of their fundraising efforts. 

The organisation announced the launch in a blogpost on their website.

Hope Spring started its tradition of adding Chinese New Year to their charity ecard platform three years ago. 

Since then, every year, a new set of Chinese New Year ecards is designed in partnership with charity eCards UK and added to their offerings just before the start of the lunar new year.

The Chinese new year is based on the lunar calendar, and this year is on the 10th of February. As with the Chinese tradition of giving each new year the name of an animal, real or mythical, 2024 is the year of the dragon.

The Chinese New Year ecards from Hope Spring feature traditional and modern designs that are certain to appeal to people of all ages. They are perfect for sending heartfelt wishes to your loved ones and work colleagues while also making a positive impact in the lives of those in need.

"Chinese New Year is an important holiday for many people around the world. We saw this as an opportunity to reach out as well as highlight what a small donation made from sending one of our 'year of the dragon' eCards can achieve,” said Seun Olonade, the platform manager of Hope Spring eCards.

This initiative not only aims to celebrate the rich and vibrant culture of China during this festive season but also highlights the importance of safe and accessible water resources for all individuals, regardless of their background or location.

Hope Spring's supporters and new people who wish to support them can find out more information about the Chinese New Year ecards on their website, social media pages, or by reaching out to them via email.

hello@hopespring.org.uk

http://www.hopespring.org.uk

Tuesday 30 January 2024

Saturday 27 January 2024

Thursday 25 January 2024

Wednesday 24 January 2024

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Monday 22 January 2024

That's Food and Drink: Easter Treats from DukesHill

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Wednesday 10 January 2024

Next reports strong Christmas trading

Next plc has announced a Q4 trading statement and issued guidance for the year ahead:

Full price sales were up 5.7% in the 9 weeks to 30 December, ahead of previous guidance of a +2% rise

Next has increased its guidance for Profit before tax for the year by £20 million to £905 million, up 4.0%

Next has issued full year guidance for the FY25 financial year. It expects total sales to rise by 6% and profit before tax to be up 5%

Charlie Huggins, manager of the ‘Quality Shares Portfolio’ at Wealth Club, who owns shares in Next, commented: "Next has pulled yet another rabbit out of the hat, leading to a further upgrade to its full year sales and profit guidance. It has demonstrated once again why it's considered one of the best run retailers around.

"UK consumer spending appears to have defied gravity. A strong employment market and rising wages have helped cushion inflationary cost pressures, meaning consumers have continued to fill their Christmas stockings with Next's wares, despite the gloomy economic headlines. 

"Next's online sales were particularly strong reflecting better stock availability and excellent operational execution. This stands in stark contrast to other retailers like Superdry which have struggled in the prevailing economic environment. 

"The future for Next looks bright and is reflected in the group's guidance to grow sales and profits again in the year ahead. 

"Next's core proposition is clearly resonating with the UK consumer and is being augmented by intelligent acquisitions of brands like Fat Face. With inflation falling and wages rising, the economic picture also looks a lot less bleak than at the start of last year."  

Wednesday 3 January 2024

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Post-Christmas returns fall slightly, but £1.4bn worth of items are still winging back to retailers

‘Takeback Tuesday’ returns decreased by around 6% yesterday compared to last year, says ParcelHero. Despite the fall, around £1.41bn worth of items are now heading back to retailers, which could prove the final straw for some hard-pressed retailers.

Post-Christmas returns for the first working day of the year were down by around 6% on the same day last year, says ParcelHero. Despite this dip, it says around £1.41bn worth of items are now winging their way back to retailers. The home delivery expert cautions that the fall in returns is likely due to lower Christmas spending rather than a change in customer habits.

ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks M.I.L.T., says: ‘We’ve looked at our own returns volumes and spoken to people in the courier and retail industries and it looks like there was a small but distinct drop in the volume and value of returns on “Takeback Tuesday” yesterday, compared to record returns last year.

‘Last year, around £1.5bn of unwanted gifts and goods were returned in the first week after the Christmas and New Year break. This year, we’ve seen a slight dip in returns volumes and, looking at the types of items being returned, we’re estimating around £1.41bn of clothing, electrical goods and toys are now winging their way back to retailers. The number of courier bookings for returned items peaked at 10am yesterday as people returned to the post-Christmas daily grind. The Royal Mail says Takeback Tuesday returns were up around 52% on a typical day last month and that certainly chimes with our own figures.  

‘We’d love to say the slight drop in the number of Takeback Tuesday returns is because shoppers are becoming more aware of the environmental impact of returns and the financial strains they place on many much-loved, smaller, specialist retailers.

"But it’s more likely the slight fall reflects what we suspect was a relatively lacklustre Christmas period for retailers, with online and in-store sales looking relatively flat. Fewer gifts equals fewer returns. Barclays says card transaction volumes on Black Friday 2023 were down -0.6% compared with 2022 and The Guardian reports that pre-Christmas “super weekend” sales fell by up to -32% online and -4.5% overall."

He added: "Our recent industry report shows that returns are costing UK sellers around £60bn a year. The study reveals a large chunk of these returns happen in the post-Christmas period. Around 47% of all ParcelHero shipments were marked as “returns” in the first week of last year.

"Online businesses face a no-win choice between reluctantly swallowing returns costs or risking negative online reviews from those customers with returns issues. 81% of stores say they are very concerned by increasing levels of customer returns. Smaller, specialist online retailers who thought they had enjoyed healthy Christmas sales are now facing plunging margins and warehouses filling with unsaleable stock as January returns come rolling back in.

"Customer expectations and the financial realities for smaller e-commerce sites are increasingly at odds. Some online retailers have told us that they deal with return rates as high as 60% after Christmas, with most being accepted unconditionally in order to maintain their all-important five-star ratings. These returns are being accepted despite the fact that online orders cost retailers £3 more to process than physical sales.

For more information on the full impact of returns on retailers large and small, don’t miss ParcelHero’s report,“ Retailers Reach the Point of No Returns” at https://www.parcelhero.com/content/downloads/pdfs/returns/returnwhitepaper.pdf

(Image courtesy of Mohammed Salem from Pixabay)

 

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Monday 1 January 2024

Happy New Year from That's Christmas and That's Food and Drink

The husband and wife team who responsible for running That's Christmas and That's Food and Drink (that's us!) would like to wish everyone a happy and joyous New Year.

We would like to thank our friends in the public relations industry and food and drink companies and gift companies and other designers and creators of fine gifts from diaries and calendars, to jewelry to toasters and air fryers and from games to electronic equipment and food and drink makers and providers for their fantastic help in writing the posts on our sites.

And we would like to take this opportunity to thank you, our readers no matter where you are.

That's Christmas will continue publishing news and features throughout the coming year when these are relevant but it will largely be resting until the next pre-Christmas season starts up again.

However, That's Food and Drink will be continuing to publish news and features about the food and drink industry over the coming year.

We will also take a look at tweaking our blog designs to make them more user friendly.

If you would like to be featured on any of our sites please email afj_uk@yahoo.com.

(Image courtesy of Tham Nguyen from Pixabay)