At some point, everyone has experienced the trauma of Christmas preparations left until the last minute. It's hard to imagine anything that can be as stressful as finding yourself in the local shopping centre, gigantic frozen turkey and gifts in tow, realising that you've forgotten something extremely important. You slap yourself on the forehead, dropping the turkey in the process, and curse yourself for not taking care of things earlier.

I for one, am not going to experience this during the upcoming festive period. I may spout the same mantra every year, but this year I mean business. I will prepare for Christmas well in advance, so that come Christmas Eve, I have nothing to do but sit back, relax and enjoy some wine (preferably of the mulled variety) in front of the crackling fire.

Here are my top tips:

Supermarkets turn into a battlefield, from around November onwards. I've seen people piling their trolleys as though there's a nuclear holocaust on the way, with gallons of milk and enough food to feed an army when they're usually only expecting Granny as an addition at the dinner table!

Forget that! I'll be taking care of the food shopping online. I live in the UK, so I've opted to make full use of the Christmas food ordering service at Sainsbury's. You can order everything from sides and seafood, to the turkey itself, providing you order before the deadline. Then simply roll up in the car, pop it all in the boot and off you go! There'll be no meltdowns in the aisles because the store has ran out of sprouts or Christmas puddings, and I can order the lot without taking off my fluffy slippers! Ah, the joys of living in a digital age.

I'll be similarly reliant on my laptop when it comes to transforming the house into a festive grotto.

Hayes Garden World have a dedicated online Christmas tree shop, where it's possible to pick up a tree, decorations and all of the other bits and bobs that you'll need for Christmas. We've all experienced the nightmare of trying to drag a tree home on top of the car and through the front door, spraying the house with needles. Even worse, although thankfully it's never happened to me, I have heard horror stories of people bringing trees into the house that haven't be treated properly and are infested with insects! Imagine Granny's face on Christmas morning when the place is covered in greenfly!

Again, I've elected to buy my artificial Christmas tree from UK based firm Hayes, although you can find a wide selection at your local DIY store or gardening centre.

We've come to the big issue. Buying the gifts at Christmas has to be the most stressful experience, so this year I've vowed to take a step back and remember that Christmas isn't all about the gifts!

Don't get me wrong. I won't be neglecting my kids or nieces and nephews. They'll be a selection of presents, but like my other important supplies, I'll be buying this all online. Toys Direct offer worldwide delivery, so I'll be checking out their offerings. Word of warning though; as with all online purchases, make sure you buy them well in advance. This is especially important at Christmas, when companies will be flooded with orders.

It's also an idea to make all of your purchases on one credit card. This way, you'll have a clear record of everything you've bought when you receive your statement and you can check that you haven't been charged for things multiple times. What's more, should a company go bust, paying using a credit card is often the easiest way of ensuring that you get your money back.