I mean, Hubby and I went to a name brand store last week and they are full blown ready for Christmas! Pink trees and all.
Last year, I felt rushed. I mean, one weekend to decorate. One weekend to bake. One weekend...oh who am I kidding...the night before and a quick trip to the store to grab that one last item that I forgot...then it is WRAP MANIA.
Here are 7 things to start NOW...to help ease the stress of Christmas!
1. Do your Christmas Cards.
Dress up the kids in their Christmas best, make that picture appointment and GO!
Grab a box of Christmas Cards (or order!) and this gives you plenty of time to sign, address and stamp...so all you have to do is mail them out when it starts to get closer to December.
I know that I am terrible at sending out cards for the holidays, and it is not lack of cards...I seem to buy them every year, but I lose track of time and they never get completed or sent.
And don't get me started on our holiday pictures. They are last minute...so family ends up getting the prints with their Christmas presents...OPPS!
2. Stock up on Gift Cards
Pay attention to great gift card opportunities! You can earn gift cards while you shop at both Target and Swagbucks.
If you are using these means to shop now, you can spend those gift cards in November, instead of cash!
3. Make your BUDGET
Does this word scare anyone else?
I mean, it requires work. Sitting down to look at the money in the bank, creating a plan of action and then most importantly, you have to FOLLOW this plan.
I am a very organized person, but I also have a spending habit (don't tell Hubby) and this really bad case of "You only live once" thing that kind of makes it OK for us to splurge...
But, I do like budgets (even though they scare me) because they make me a little more disciplined.
I think that it is important to note that when you do sit down to "crunch numbers" with the Hubby, take into account the decorations, food, plates, increased utilities, stocking stuffers, gifts per person, sibling gifts, extended family gifts, your stamps and Christmas Cards, and other incidentals that might arise.
Keep a running total so you know where you stand.
Also, no matter how early you start, you have to stick to the budget. Once the budget is maxed out, the only other thing you can use are the gift cards you have been diligently earning, right!
4. Plan your Holiday Activities
So, every year we have this little Elf, Elfrick (don't ask!) that comes to visit our house. Well, the past few years, he has gotten himself into all sorts of trouble.
For this sort of planning...I have found that having a PINTEREST board, labeled "Just Christmas" that is set on PRIVATE (hey, no peeking, after all) works wonders for all my crazy, kookie ideas. That way I have a "Go To" to get ideas of what we can do on cold days, i.e. snow ice cream recipes are pinned there; or ideas on how I might like to decorate, my Christmas dinner spread ideas are there and whatever else I think I might plan and create.
5. Check your Stockings
I think that it is always a good plan to make sure the stockings are fairing well. We have handmade knitted stockings for the girls that I pack up very carefully in the attic.
Once you determine that all is well, i.e. no leftover chocolate...no random holes... It is time to start thinking about what to put in said stockings!
In September you can usually take advantage of great clearance items that works perfect for the stockings. We have some goodies for our that we paid pennies on the dollar! Score!
6. Start freezing your dough
Now, this all depends on your recipe, of course, but you can start making certain types of cookie dough (or bread dough) now and freeze it for December. This way, you get all the mess and prep out of the way and can enjoy the sheer joy of baking later!
This is a great time to try a new recipe too!
Bake one batch to see if you like it. This way you can make more for freezing!
7. Make a list...and Check it TWICE!
So, why would I not make a list of all the people who I will be giving gifts to this year. Can't forget teachers, neighbors and anyone else who has an impact on your life!
Once you figure out your Game Plan, i.e. who your giving gift cards to...purchase and cross that name off of the list.
I just want to say that my Child's school has a great Gift Card program that comes in handy during the holidays!
If your kids or hubby know what they want....make a list and once you see a great deal on it, pick it up.
If you are making homemade gifts...start now! This way you will have plenty of time to finish, wrap and move onto the next.
Now, once you are here, all the prep that we have done so far is out of the way.
You have crossed so much off of the crazy, hectic list that is the Holidays, already!