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Christmas preparations

Rachael Garside Rachael Garside | 09:00 UK time, Thursday, 24 November 2011

Do ever you get the impression that everyone else's Christmas preparations are far more advanced than your own?

I have that sinking feeling (already) that I'm getting left behind. Last weekend was stir-up Sunday, the traditional day for making Christmas cake and puddings which always falls on the last Sunday before Advent.So I've missed that one.

I could cheat of course and buy both items at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair at Builth next week.

As luck would have it, I'm working there this year and am banking on having a few spare minutes to get some serious shopping done.

It seems to me there are two camps of people at this time of year - those who like to boast how far ahead they are and those who are lagging woefully behind and just can't seem to get the motivation together for plunging head first into festive preparations.

A house on my street in Carmarthen had their decorations in the windows at the beginning of last week and by this week, the shop displays are all in place, twinkling and flashing as constant reminders to get the party started or certainly to start spending.

I also like the idea of a chance to enjoy a 'festive skate' at Dinefwr Park and Castle in Llandeilo this year - they're installing an ice rink as part of their Edwardian Christmas Fair this weekend (Nov 26 - 27 - more information at www. nationaltrust.org.)

These temporary rinks have become all the rage - there's one in Cardiff and Swansea every year and this year, there's outdoor skating in Newport, Blaenavon and Betws-y-Coed, where they're planning a week of winter festivities from December 2.

The choice of festive events on offer in Wales is truly dazzling and can seem a little overwhelming.

It's always a dilemma to decide where the best place to see Santa is, or end up running the risk of 'Santa fatigue' whereby even the children have had enough of the man in red and white by the time Christmas actually arrives.

Every year, I vow to keep things simple but it's a bit like riding a runaway train. Maybe I should head for the Museum of Welsh Life in St. Fagan's for their 'Sustainable Christmas' event on December 3.

At Tee Gyred - the eco-house, they'll be offering tips on how to host an environmentally friendly festive season and a chance to make home-made decorations. All from recycled materials no doubt.

So many options, so little time, 32 days to be precise.

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