UK Oak Doors DIY Calendar: December

The year is almost over!  December should be a month for celebration and relaxation, so put away those paint brushes and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.  You will, of course, spend some time putting up the tree and the other decorations, but you can do this at your leisure.  If you've been working hard on renovating your home over the last few months then you should have a house to be proud of, and this is your chance to show it off.

Getting the Whole Family Involved

Why not share the load this month and get the whole family involved in making Christmas decorations?  Young children can have fun with cardboard, coloured cellophane and paint (making window decorations), while older children may enjoy doing some "adult" DIY by cutting and sanding balsa wood to make ornaments.

If you have more than enough Christmas decorations to go around, there are still things that your children can do to get involved with the feeling of Christmas.  Making a festive candy-cane is a quick and easy job (all you need is some candy canes, and some pipe-cleaner or ribbon to tie around the long part of the cane, along with perhaps some mistletoe for a little festive flair), and they make a great table decoration.

Candy Canes. Photo: Steve Nakatani

Older children that have dextrous fingers, and a lot of patience, could make special embroidered handkerchiefs for family guests.  A white handkerchief with a red initial embroidered on it is a stylish but simple gift, and the knowledge that it's hand-made makes it even more special.

Last-Minute Tips for Christmas

No matter how organized you are, it's inevitable that something will go wrong during the festive season.  Perhaps guests will arrive a day earlier than expected, leaving you scrambling to clean up the bathroom.  Or, perhaps you'll run out of chilled wine or beer and have to scramble to find something to quench the thirst of your guests.

When things go wrong, the important thing to remember is to remember the Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy's core phrase: "Don't panic".  While the empty shampoo bottle and soap box in the bathroom may leave you crimson with embarrassment, there's a good chance that your guests won't even notice.  A temporary delay in the flow of liquid refreshment at your Christmas Eve party might raise a couple of eyebrows, but as long as you keep the party moving, it will be forgotten by the end of the night.

If you have some last minute cleaning to do, don't worry about doing it well - grab some boxes, stuff the "stuff" that you need to clean up into them, and put them on top of a wardrobe in your bedroom.  You can sort everything out properly once your guests have gone.

Box of toys. Photo: David

If you need to cool some wine or beer quickly, put the warm beverages in a bowl, and cover them with ice.  Pour some water over the ice, and then add some salt (make that a LOT of salt) to the mix.  Stir the saltwater mixture and let the drinks sit in it for a few minutes.  Your drinks should go from warm to ice cold in just three or four minutes.  Be sure to rinse the bottle off before serving it

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