The headlines are everywhere…”Get Ready for Christmas,” “Plan Christmas Now,” even “Christmas in (insert random month).” A lot of people don’t even want to think the word Christmas until at least the day after Thanksgiving, but there is a reason why we should all get ready for Christmas as early as possible. I’m definitely happy to tell you what that reason is.
If we put off all things Christmas until December, we will be exhausted. It’s that simple and you know I’m right! Even if you pare down your celebrating and give up a tradition or two, there is still a ton going on in the days leading up to Christmas. If everyone started early, the Holidays wouldn’t be nearly as hectic. There is no set time that we need to start, but definitely the earlier the better!
I’m not sure about everyone else, but there have been years when I didn’t really enjoy Christmas all that much. Between shopping, cooking, wrapping, planning parties, traveling, cleaning house, and doing laundry there was no time left to just relax and enjoy it all. Throw in all of the kids’ school activities (ball games, concerts, Christmas parties, plays, etc.) and there was barely time to breathe. Getting ready for Christmas early became a way to save my sanity and allow me to participate in the fun stuff instead of staying behind to make all the preparations.
How To Get Ready for Christmas
There are multiple things to do now that will make the Holidays so much less stressful. Everyone’s plans and traditions are different, so every suggestion may not apply to you. That’s okay! Just pick the ones you like and go from there.
*Make a list of Christmas traditions or activities your family would like to participate in this year. A Christmas Bucket List would be great as well.
*Make a gift list. Be as detailed as possible. Include everyone that you will definitely be buying gifts for and anyone else who is on the “maybe” list. Add sizes (especially for spouses and children) and favorite colors, styles, etc. Write gift ideas or suggestions by each name. Make sure to include homemade gifts or family gift ideas. Also, don’t forget the budget.
*Speaking of budgets–don’t forget to make one and be sure to include extra things like travel expenses, groceries, donations, and stocking stuffers in your Holiday budget. It’s never fun thinking you have enough money for everything and then realizing it’s going to be a Credit Card Christmas after all. Check out these posts for money making/saving ideas and low-cost gifts: 10 Easy Ways to Earn Extra Holiday Cash, More Ways to Earn Extra Christmas Cash, and 10 Gifts for $10 or Less!
*Make a card list, if you send cards. I buy them and intend to send them every year, but they rarely even get filled out. I admire the people who do get them sent though!
*Schedule Christmas photos. A lot of photographers are booking up fast at this point, so it might be a good idea to do this first.
*Plan outfits for photo shoots, celebrations, and other activities. (Try to use clothes you already own to save money). Make a list of clothing/shoes/accessories you or other family members might need and start shopping.
*Buy and/or organize the supplies for an Advent calendar if you intend to have one and start putting it together.
*Plan dinner menus for any occasion you are hosting, list ideas for food to take to other events, and don’t forget that you still have to eat regular meals throughout the month! All those groceries can be expensive, so try to keep dinners at home very simple.
*Start stocking up on canned, boxed, or freezable items for parties and family dinners. Definitely look for coupons and sales!
*Make a list of possible craft/decorating projects. Look through your home and make note of what supplies you have and what you will need to get.
*If you ARE making crafts–start now! They always sound like a good idea until it’s close to the day and you get stressed out. That’s when you wind up buying a gift card you didn’t budget for because you are in panic mode. “How To Get Crafty for Christmas” has some great tips.
*Look up decorating ideas and start planning how much you will do. Start decorating as early as you and your family can stand it! My ultimate goal is always to have everything finished by December 1st so that I have one less thing to think about. It doesn’t usually work out that way, but I keep trying!
*Clean the house. Do the heavy stuff like cleaning windows, wiping down walls, or shampooing carpets. A lot of us have family and friends in and out of our homes from Thanksgiving on through the New Year. There isn’t going to be much time to clean, so do as much as you can beforehand.
*Do something nice for yourself. Buy yourself a little present. Sleep late. Cook your favorite food for dinner instead of what someone else will eat. Have some quiet time. Anything that will help remind you that you do more than enough to deserve a little treat sometimes!!
These are just a few ideas to help everyone avoid that extra Holiday stress. Again, these ideas may not all apply to all, so pick the ones that do. The Christmas season is about family, friends, making memories, and celebrating Jesus. Start getting ready now and make it a season to remember!