10 Things To Do NOW To Prepare For The Holidays (& FREE Holiday Planning Printables)
Before anyone gets upset that I’ve brought up the holidays in September, I promise I’m not suggesting you start to decorate or play holiday music. What I am suggesting are 10 simple things you can do now to start preparing for the holidays so you’ll have more time to enjoy them when they do roll around, even during a pandemic.
Planning Now = More Time To Enjoy the Holidays
I LOVE the holidays! But as merry and wonderful as they are, even under normal circumstances, it’s a busy time of year that comes with a long “to-do” list that can leave you feeling less than merry.
Throw in the mental and financial strain of a pandemic and this year, more than ever, instead of feeling the joy of the season, you may feel overwhelmed, stressed and exhausted.
The key to stress-free holidays any year is early planning. As we’ll be celebrating during a pandemic this year, it’s even more important. Here are 10 fast and easy things to start checking off your list now, to have more time to relax and enjoy later!
10 Quick & Easy Holiday Preparations To Do Now
1) Create a Holiday Budget.
Create a realistic budget. Include all gifts (family, friends, teachers, care providers, work gift exchanges, host gifts etc.) and incidental expenses (décor, cards, postage, gift wrap, charity, entertainment, holiday travel, gatherings you are hosting etc.).
Having an accurate picture of ALL holiday spending and establishing limits before you start shopping means you can prioritize how you spend your money. It also reduces overspending and the stress associated with it.
TIP: If possible, start putting aside some money weekly to cover holiday expenses. It may not cover everything but will help spread the costs out. Next year, start in July!
2) Holiday Cards.
Photographers have already started booking these sessions, so call now! Whatever type of card you mail, get stamps and print your return address labels now too.
TIP: Holiday mail will likely take longer this year. If you send a lot of cards, start writing a couple every day or two at the end of October. You’ll be done in lots of time to get them delivered for the holidays and avoid the hand cramps that come with writing too many cards at once!
TIP: Get a jump on next year’s cards by picking them up a week after Christmas. They’re on clearance so you get cards for next year AND save money!
3) Start Making Your Gift Shopping List.
Start brainstorming gift ideas and keep a running list. This year, in particular, try to support local businesses as much as you can when shopping.
4) Inventory Your Gift Closet.
If you have a gift closet or drawer, go through it. Maybe you can already check some people off your list!
5) Start Shopping!
The pandemic has created stock shortages and delivery delays. Plus, there’s the possibility of a second wave causing further shutdowns.
Start your shopping now to minimize the risk of being caught without the gifts you want. Bonus, it spreads the expense of gifts out over several months, instead of paying for it all in December!
TIP: Don’t forget to pick up a couple of small, gender-neutral gifts to keep on hand in case you receive an unexpected gift you want to reciprocate.
6) Find Something To Keep ALL Holiday Receipts In.
Keep all holiday receipts together to avoid searching in various locations for items to be returned. It doesn’t have to be fancy; an envelope in a drawer works great.
7) Stock Up On Baking Supplies.
Take an inventory of what you have and start purchasing holiday baking supplies. If you start buying one or two items a week now, you’ll have a full pantry by the time you begin baking minus the big bump in your grocery bill!
8) Stock Up On Wrapping Supplies.
Take stock of your wrapping supplies (bows, ribbons, gift tags, wrapping paper, gift bags, gift boxes, tissue paper, tape) and make a list on your phone of what you need. When these supplies start appearing in stores (any day now), you’ll know what you need and can knock this off your to-do list while running your usual errands.
9) Do A Toy Purge.
If you’ve got kids, there will probably be new toys over the holidays. Make room by decluttering toys that have been outgrown, are broken, missing pieces, or aren’t played with.
TIP: Check out this clever idea from sunnydayfamily.com to get the kids involved AND excited about a toy purge! For general tips on decluttering toys with kids click here.
10) Start A List Of Things You Want To Do.
The events, activities and gatherings will be different this year, but there are still lots of safe and festive activities you can do to make the time special.
To name just a few: get hot-chocolate and drive around looking at Christmas lights, have a holiday movie marathon, make hand-made cards or gift tags, bake, make a gingerbread house, go tobogganing, build a snowman together, or do a holiday scavenger hunt.
Get creative and start keeping a list. Then prioritize the most important activities so you can get any supplies and plan your time accordingly.
While the holidays will be different this year, they can still be merry. Set yourself up for success by doing these 10 things now.
You’ll spread out the long holiday “to-dos” and expenses. Best of all, you’ll give yourself more time to enjoy the season, even during a pandemic!
For help with your planning, click here for my 15 FREE holiday planning printables. You’ll receive budget sheets, a master to-do list, gift planners and so much more!
How will you make the holidays special this year? Let me know in the comments below.