Yes, you read that right! I’m talking about Christmas before Halloween! There’s only 58 days until Christmas and if you only have time to do your Christmas planning on the weekends then that means you have 8 weekends left! It’s crazy, I know, but trust me, the sooner you get done with preparing for Christmas, the more time you’ll have to spend quality time with your loves ones during the holidays. How nice would it be to have a stress-free holiday season?
1)Make or buy a Christmas planner
A planner is a must! You don’t need to spend much on it either. You can make your own (design one on the computer, use a notebook, use free printables through Pinterest, or simply gather a few sheets of paper and make your own). You may purchase one too. Personally, I bought mine on Etsy. The best part about it was that I was able to download the file instantly after purchasing it and I am able to use it year after year (by just printing it again every year). It only cost about $5! So what exactly is a Christmas planner? A Christmas planner is a planner to help you get organized for the Christmas season. Typically, a Christmas planner has a page or two on the following topics: shopping list, holiday budgeting, baking list, bucket list, card list, decor inventory, menu planning, party planning, online shopping tracker, stocking stuffers ideas, December calendar, and more. It’s a great way to keep you on top of everything and makes it easier to not forget something.As a planner lover, I find it a lot of fun!
2)Start shopping for gifts
Make a list of who you plan to buy gifts for this year and start shopping now! Don’t wait until Black Friday or for December. Try to avoid crowds at shopping centers and high expedited shipping costs online during the month of December. Stores and online stores have sales year long, so you can definitely snag a deal early. Remember to keep track of the gifts you purchase and for who because you don’t want to over buy or forget someone.
3) Order Christmas cards
If you’re a family who has a holiday photo shoot taken every year for Christmas cards, schedule your photo shoot now and order your Christmas cards ready. I’ve gotten many E-mails with coupons for Christmas cards this month in October. Prices are low right now because card makers know they can sell at full price later. I suggest you order your Christmas cards as soon as possible, address them, and even put the stamp on each one! Make a note on your December calendar for the day you wish to mail them out. When that day comes, your cards are ready!
4) Start planning holiday activities/parties
Are you planning to bake holiday treats? Watch a holiday play? Go away for a weekend? Attend a holiday party? Do a holiday craft? Have a home movie night? Now is the time to make your holiday bucket list and start thinking of when you plan to do them (this is where your holiday planner comes in really handy).
5) Set a budget
Plan ahead and set a budget for yourself. Spend only what you can afford and don’t go into the new year with debt. I like to use cash envelopes, so I have a cash envelope for each person I wish to give a gift to (Husband, Daughter, Mom, Dad, etc.). I also have a cash envelope for photo shoot/cards and holiday activities. I believe in having sinking funds, so I start filling my cash envelopes months in advance! That’s pretty much all I budget for because I don’t host Christmas parties and I will be able to budget out of my paychecks, during the holidays, for anything else that I may need. If you have not set money aside for the past months for Christmas, make sure to be setting money aside each paycheck. It can get difficult managing your needs and wants during the holiday season which makes budgeting very important!
The key for a stress-free Christmas season is to start planning early (before Halloween) and hopefully be done with majority of Christmas planning (plans on Christmas planner, buying gifts, getting Christmas cards addressed and stamped, having a plan of how you wish to spend December, and sticking to a budget) by Thanksgiving! I hope this inspires you to start planning early so you can focus on what matters most during the holiday season. I would love to hear about your Christmas planning in the comment section below!