10 Things To Do NOW To Prepare For The Holidays
Yep, I’m bringing up the holidays. In October. Before anyone gets upset, I’m not suggesting you decorate or play holiday music yet (although science does say decorating early makes you happier 😉). What I am suggesting are 10 simple things you can do now to start preparing for the holidays so you have more time to enjoy them whenever you start celebrating.
Planning Now = More Time To Enjoy the Holidays
I LOVE the holidays! But as merry and wonderful as they are, it’s a busy time of year that comes with a long “to-do” list. Instead of feeling the joy of the season, you can feel overwhelmed, stressed and exhausted. Do these 10 quick and easy things over the next month, before the busy-ness of the season begins, and give yourself the best gift of all: more time to relax and celebrate!!
10 Quick & Easy Holiday Preparations To Do Now
1) Create a Holiday Budget.
It’s easy to overspend during the holidays. And then to stress about overspending. Create a budget now that includes all gifts (family, friends, teachers, care providers, work gift exchanges, host gifts etc.) and all the 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 begin shopping allows you to prioritize how you want to spend your money, reduces overspending and the stress associated with it.
TIP: If possible, start putting aside some money weekly to help cover holiday expenses. It may not cover everything, but it will help spread the costs out. Next year, start in September!
2) Holiday Cards.
Photographers start booking these sessions in early fall, so call now! If you send non-photo cards, get those now. Get stamps and print your return address labels too.
TIP: If you send a lot of cards, in a few weeks start writing a couple of cards every day or every other day. 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: If you want to get ahead of next year’s cards, go to stores a week after Christmas for huge discounts. You get your cards for next year AND save money!
3) Start Making Your Gift Shopping List.
Start brainstorming gift ideas for people you are buying for and keep a running list.
4) Inventory Your Gift Closet.
If you have a gift closet (or drawers in my case) go through it before you begin shopping. Make a list of what you have and who the items can be gifted to. Maybe you can already check some people off your list!
5) Start Shopping!
Buying gifts early means less time in holiday crowds and reduces the chances you’ll overspend on gifts you’re shopping for last minute. It also spreads the expense of gifts out over several months, instead of having to pay for it all in December.
TIP: To avoid scrambling last-minute, pick up a couple of small, gender-neutral gifts to keep on hand in case you receive an unexpected gift or forgot to buy for someone.
6) Find Something To Keep ALL Holiday Receipts In.
Keep all holiday receipts together to avoid searching in various locations for the receipt for the game your niece got 2 of this year. It doesn’t have to be fancy; an envelope works great. Just remember to place all receipts for purchased gifts in it!
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 will 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 a few minutes to take stock of your wrapping supplies (bows, ribbons, gift tags, wrapping paper, gift bags, gift boxes, tissue paper, tape) and replenish what you need.
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!
10) Start A List Of Things You Want To Do.
There are so many events, activities and gatherings over the holidays, but you can’t do it all. Starting a list now of all the things you’d like to do helps you prioritize the most important activities so you can plan your time accordingly.
Doing these 10 things now to get ready for the holidays spreads out the long holiday “to-dos” and gives you more time to enjoy the season. You also spread the cost of the holidays over several months and minimize time spent in peak holiday shopping crowds and scrambling last-minute. See, I told you I had a good reason to bring up the holidays in October!
If you could use some help getting started on these 10 things, be sure to check out the BirchTree Blog in 2 weeks. I will be sharing 15 free holiday planning printables to keep you organized now, and throughout the holiday season!
What’s the best thing you do to get ready for the holidays? Let me know in the comments below.