Friday, 19 December 2014

How to Outsource Christmas

By Steven Low

First off, I love Christmas.  It’s a great time of the year and a wonderful opportunity to get together with friends and family to celebrate the holiday season.  However, what I loathe more than anything is the trudge round the shops, fighting with fellow citizens for cheap-price TVs and for the woolly jumper my dad is probably never going to wear.

What if there was a better way?  Let’s say I wanted to outsource Christmas?  What are my options?  Do I want to outsource certain elements or do the full-outsource – well until the meal is served on Christmas Day!

Here’s my take on a successful Christmas outsource.



Decorations:

This is a tough one.  You could hire an interior decorator, at considerable expense, to turn your house into some kind of Lapland-inspired grotto.  The kids will love you for it and you will be the envy of anyone that comes round.  You could get the kids to make and/or put up the decorations and the tree.  Just beware if you make this offer that you don’t do it in October - they’ll be on at you every day until you relent.  Also, it would be better if the kids had some artistic talent as who knows what carnage will be bestowed upon your living room.   Lastly, you could cheekily offer up your home as the base for the carol-singing practice and in order to get in the festive spirit, suggest that the group put up some festive decorations while you make them a cup of tea...which you get your husband/wife to make - You need to supervise after all.


Gift Outsourcing:

You have a couple of options here.  If you have a better half, get them to buy all the presents for family (and friends if you can get away with it).  They are likely to buy more thoughtful presents than you’ll ever manage and your only input is likely to be money.  Although, expect to buy a larger present for said better half when Christmas comes round.  Scrimp on that and you are in the dog house for sure.  I will leave it to your own conscience whether you outsource the buying of your partner’s present to her/him – surely you have the capability to buy for one person?!
Another option is to outsource it to the present receiver.  A few ways you could go on this would be to offer up vouchers for their favourite online/high street store.  

Another more modern option is Amazon or John Lewis wish-lists (other stores catering for wish-lists are available!).  Then you can dive into them and see what they want – picking one or two of them off. A win-win situation in that you don’t have to try too hard to think of presents and they actually get what they want this year.

If money is no object, you could outsource to a personal shopper who will take the feedback of the individuals you are buying for and match them up with personalised and tasteful gifts – just make sure you set the budget!


Food Outsourcing:

Many shops now sell you ‘ready-made’ Christmas dinners and we are not talking the meal-for-one frozen varieties either.  All you have to do is slam it in the oven and wait till it pings.  No cutting up veggies, boiling the sprouts, under-cooking the turkey. It’s almost fool-proof and as long as you follow the very basic instructions - somewhat edible. A costly option but you giving everyone food poisoning is not helpful and to be honest, you are far too busy cracking open the sherry and the chocolates from your mum to be cooking.

Again, if money is no object, then hire a personal chef for the day.  Be the toast of the house for years to come by hiring someone who actually knows how to cook.  This is not going to be cheap but you’ll be talking about that turkey crown for months afterwards.

Alternatively, you could always head round to family or friends for the meal.  A complete outsource of all cooking – but make sure they can cook. No point in heading round to listen to the ‘remember when’ stories that you have heard a million times if the food is going to be rubbish.

Lastly, you can always head out to a growing number of restaurants opening up for Christmas Day – to cater for the outsourcing connoisseurs amongst you.


Wine/Alcoholic Beverages:

You should never outsource this element. 


There are plenty of other bits you can outsource but guaranteed there is no getting away from the sloppy kiss from Aunty Agnes, listening to stories about the war or being forced to watch the Queen’s speech and then the third Christmas Day episode of Eastenders.  

What elements of Christmas would you outsource? Any other suggestions for people to avoid the hard work at Christmas are greatly appreciated!

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