- Brown paper, newspaper, ribbon and string for wrapping
- Coloured cardboard for gift tags
- Classy shopping bags to upcycle into gift bags (of which more later)
- The cardboard tubes from lunch wrap for crackers
- Jars, pretty pieces of cloth to cover them with and glass bottles for hampers. (The best jars are small and have metal lids. The best bottles are pretty.)
And although we’re talking about planning here, do remember that a well-run Christmas requires both organisation and flexibility because you don’t know at this stage of the year exactly what December will bring. In my case, the nursing home has just let me know that Auntie Helen has died. I can’t really say it’s tragic because her last good days were back when she still could still get out of bed, but it is sad that she’s the last of her generation in my dad’s family. And that’s one person off my Christmas card list… you can’t predict December in March.
 Which is a professional term for the stacks of fabrics quilters have, the baskets of wool knitters have and the jars of bugles beaders have. (The amateur term is “clutter”.)
 My artist friend Sharon has more than one: her studio has a whole wall of shelves of supplies, her spare room is all boxes and she doesn’t have room in her garage to park her car.
 Both because big jars of jam sometimes go mouldy before you finish them and because you get more presents from your ingredients if you use small jars!
 Which are easier to sterilise.
 Home-made cordial tastes 25% better from a bottle decorated with a sprig of glass leaves.