Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Family Life: It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas. TREE Up, Presents Bought and Wrapped, Waiting for the Big Day to Arrive - or Are You a Strictly Last-Minute Mum When It Comes to Getting Ready for Christmas? JOANNE WELFORD Asks the Question

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Family Life: It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas. TREE Up, Presents Bought and Wrapped, Waiting for the Big Day to Arrive - or Are You a Strictly Last-Minute Mum When It Comes to Getting Ready for Christmas? JOANNE WELFORD Asks the Question

Article excerpt

Byline: JOANNE WELFORD

BY her own admission, Rachael Trotter is usually a last-minute mum.

Her Christmas shopping is left well into December and so are the decorations that go up inside her Billingham home.

Not this year, though.

Envious mums everywhere take note: Rachael, 25, is all decorated and has done all of her Christmas present shopping right down to the last little stocking filler.

What's more, she's even wrapped up her gifts and they are sitting waiting to be distributed to family and friends when the big day gets a little nearer.

"I did everything about three weeks ago," she says.

"I've wrapped everything up and even put everything in the right bags.

"I told my son we were going shopping one day, we got on the bus to Middlesbrough and I did the lot."

Rachael, who works in a coffee shop, admits she was prompted into getting organised early after being stuck in a traffic jam at Teesside Shopping Park a few weeks ago.

It made her think that things would probably get busier the closer it gets to Christmas and she didn't want to get stuck again.

She, husband Richard and son Jacob, almost two, decorated their house last weekend too, putting up their tree and lights.

It means, of course, they can now relax a little and simply enjoy the run up to Christmas without having to think about braving crowded shops in the present buying rush.

"I have quite a lot of people to buy for - I have a brother and sister who are both married and friends and their children too, but I managed to get the lot in one go - I am totally pleased with myself!," laughs Rachael.

"I even bought birthday presents because we have a few birthdays coming up in December. I'm usually a last-minute Christmas shopper so I'm really organised for me."

The family were due to have friends round for dinner one night last week, so they decided to put their decorations up beforehand to make the house look really festive.

"We were going to put them up anyway," says Rachael.

Any mum will know that this time of the year can get increasingly frantic as we juggle shopping trips to buy presents with more shopping for festive groceries; wrapping everything up and Christmas card writing - not to mention the cooking involved both before and on the big day itself. …

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