Lydia C. Lee is still trying to work out what to do with her one wild and precious life. She currently is a haphazard blogger. Read more at holidazeandhellidaze.blogspot.com.au or www.pandoraandmax.blogspot.com
So now is the time to get prepared, so you aren't caught short. Obviously, when the invitations arrive for dinner or BBQ, you need to take something. Rather than just buy a box of chocolates, how about you make something? Starting at $3.49, Ikea has Christmas cupcake cases and even chocolate moulds and Xmas 3D cookie cutters.
You could even give them the pre-made gingerbread dough, if they aren't bakers themselves, but might want to have the fun with the kids. It's $4.49, and can be frozen. Just roll, cut with the cutters then stick in the oven for 6 minutes - easy!
There are also tins to give gifts in, that will find a useful place in the pantry, instead of hitting the recycling bin immediately. If you aren't keen on baking yourself, they have the pre-cut ginger bread decorations, a mere $1.49 a pack - decant them into a tin and you've made a lovely gift for well under $10. There's also the cute snowmen marshmallows, if that's more your style.
No matter what you give, you'll need wrapping paper or gift bags, and Ikea has a range of low cost options. Wrapping paper galore, from $5.99 for the large rolls and $2.99 for the gold and silver wrapping papers.
They have gift bags in every size - if you have a lot of tiny gifts, consider the advent calendar bags - just don't stick the date numbers on them, and you have 24 little gift bags ready to go, for what works out at .42 cents a piece.
There's a huge range, to many to show here, but it's easy to have the gifts look impressive with minimal effort.
Of course, sticker labels are a must, if you have a huge number of people to visit at Christmas. For just .99 cents, you're covered.
Lastly cards - $1.99 for 5 festive postcards or make a difference with the Save The Children xmas cards - $10 for a pack of ten, with the proceeds going to the Save the Children charity, which helps kids both here and overseas.