“’twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, the gifts were wrapped, the house was clean, the cards were written and you’ve won Christmas.”

Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) in a scene from Sex And The City

You’re busy. You have a career. A family. You’re on three company boards. You coach the netball team. You volunteer for charities and you’re training to be a Pilates instructor. When Christmas shopping time comes You. Do. Not. Have. Time. For. Messing. Around.

You don’t have a shopping list, you have a spreadsheet. When December 1 ticks over you send a group text to your family to ask them what they want. Your Dad needs a new toaster, your Mum wants some jewellery, your sister wants a pair of slides and your daughter wants a puppy. Like hell that’s happening, a Barbie car will hopefully suffice.

During December you simultaneously put together end-of-year work documents while organising the staff Christmas party and calling every book store in the country to find the limited edition illustrated Harry Potter hardcover. You visit the jewellery store your mum loves and decide to by her the slightly more expensive necklace. She deserves it. You get your Dad the toaster, but also a beautiful travel book. You might be busy, but you’re still thoughtful. You find the Barbie car for your daughter, and, of course, also get her the Barbie pony set because you have puppy guilt.

You’ve already ordered the cured ham you’ll have on Christmas day as well organised catering for the rest of the lunch from your favourite gourmet grocer. You don’t have time to roast 80 potatoes. You call your brother to ask him if he thinks he’ll still be dating his girlfriend by Christmas. He doesn’t take it kindly, but concedes, probably not. After dinner each night you sit down with a glass of wine and your laptop. You peruse the online stores, specifically noting discount codes and you order gifts with abandon, marking each purchase off on the spreadsheet.

By 20th December everything has arrived and you’ve collected final pieces from the stores. You took advantage of the pre-packed gift-sets, the Christmas-themed boxed things and even bought three generic candles for those just-in-case emergency gifts. Your house is decorated, albeit minimalistic. White and glass décor speckle your home and, come Christmas day, the table will feature a white linen cloth decorated with fine glassware and an oversized branch centrepiece dappled with twinkling crystal snowflakes. The crockery? 20 chic (and recyclable) paper plates.

When the day finally arrives and the catering has been indulged, it’s time for the gloriously crazy gift-unwrapping circus. Everyone loves their presents. The spreadsheet has worked its magic for another year. And, come evening, as you pack away the last of the mess you concede that next year might be the year for the puppy. Maybe.

You, the prepared shopper, manages Christmas chaos with stealth organisation. You rule the season, so as not to be buried alive by it. ’tis sage advice. Here’s what’s on your ‘Excel Of Cheer’ spreadsheet this year:


Blacklist ‘Surf on dusk’ art print, from $120, SHOP NOW
Swarovski march Interchangable fox necklace, $599, SHOP NOW
Norsu salt and pepper grinders, $139, SHOP NOW
Stila ‘Kiss Me’ stay all day liquid lipstick set, $29, from Mecca Cosmetica, SHOP NOW
Gucci original GG canvas wallet with NY Yankees patch, $485, SHOP NOW
A.Emery ‘paige’ sandal, $149, from Lee Mathews, SHOP NOW
Cabin Porn by Zach Klein and Steven Leckart (Penguin), $24,99, from Dymocks, SHOP NOW
Maison Balza carafe, $79, from Lee Mathews, SHOP NOW
David Jones Food Australian Epicure hamper, $199.95, SHOP NOW

All gifs by Giphy

See Option One: ‘The Planner’ here