Once we have reached the middle of November things seem to take off. We suddenly realize that we do not have the presents ready, the house decorated, the meals for Christmas planned or even taken the pictures for the Christmas cards.
This is the situation I found myself in for several years until I have created my own "Planning The Holidays" Guide.
Here are some tips to plan your holidays ahead of time, save money and reduce stress:
- Create a document on your computer or have a notebook handy: here you simply write down the names of those you want to make a present. Whenever they mention something they like or want, you write it down. Chances are that you forget what they wanted and this way you have it handy. Imagine how much your mother in law is surprised if you give her a present she mentioned back in September.
- I collect ideas until the beginning of December. I like to have several ideas handy before I start my holiday shopping.
- Usually, at the end of October, I check out the attic for all the Christmas decoration's stuff. Put all the chains of lights, Christmas tree balls and whatever you need for your decoration in one big box.
- Check out the Internet (especially Amazon because it's usually cheaper there) to buy any other decoration you want. Now is the time to get it because it is just in the store and not sold out.
- Around the 10th November I start decorating the house. This way I can do it on several days and I don't feel stressed.
- There is another day in the year families come together: Thanksgiving! Therefore it is the perfect time to take the pictures you want for your Christmas cards.
- Thanksgiving is also a perfect time to ask your loved ones for their Christmas wishes - chances are they changed their mind but if they have no idea you still have your list to surprise them!
- Get your family photos developed and order your Christmas Cards before December begins.
- Write your Christmas Cards and send them out at the beginning of the month.
- I order all my Christmas presents online at the beginning of December. This way I don't need to worry and can wrap them before Christmas.
- If you plan to add a personal touch to your presents: now is the time to do, create your gift tags, write cards or whatever you have planned.
- Get the Christmas Tree and set it up
- Plan your meals for several days. Make a shopping list around the 20th of December and see if you can get food you can put in the freezer. This way you do not have to go shopping when anyone else does!
Of course you can refine the list but the point is, when you start ahead of time you most likely do not get overwhelmed.