Although the time does really fly, I try to be mindful all year long about holidays and events coming up. I hate feeling stressed and rushed, so being organized helps me keep the stress at bay. Let's be honest: there's really no "stress-free" Christmas, but there are things that can certainly lower the stress level!
Here's my tips, that are probably common sense but it's always nice to have a reminder:
1. Shop Early: I seriously start my Christmas shopping in July. Thanks to QVC's Christmas in July special, I can usually bang out a couple of gifts super early. This year I bought candy covered apples that will be delivered next week. These are intended for bosses, daycare teachers, etc. From that point on, I like to start thinking about gift ideas, and if I see something while I'm out shopping then I pick it up then. Even if it is October. This is the easiest way I've found to reducing the spending in December - which can be stressful all by itself!
2. Plan family photos in November - If you do holiday cards with your pictures on it, this is so smart. I'd love to claim it as my own idea, but I stole it from another "Stress free" type article a few years ago. This year we did professional photos with a local photographer in November. We've already gotten our photos back, I've made my cards, and dropped them off in the mail this morning. Holiday cards aren't a high priority list for some, but I really love getting cards. The best way to get them is to give them out too!
|Just 1 of the 200 photos we had to choose from. Difficult process!|
3. Schedule your time - This may seem a little OCD, but I started writing everything down on a calendar. Events, appointments, fun things. It helps me to visually see it in a time format. I've even penciled in my baking days. Also, when I'm going to prep any food that can be frozen ahead of time. Then I have less to do on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. But I also won't fill up my weekend with other plans and suddenly have no time to bake cookies if I have already made plans for it. Because really, what kind of December would it be without cookies!?!?
4. Make lists - Oh my goodness am I a list lover! From my grocery list to my Christmas list. I have lists for everything. No lists for lists yet, so no need to send me to the psych ward yet.
I keep a list of gift recipients, along with the idea I have for them. Then I cross it off when it's bought.
I have a list for our Christmas dinner menu, complete with drinks, courses, and groceries to be bought.
I swear I'm not crazy.
I find comfort in organization. All of my pre-planning allows me to enjoy the holiday a little more, without worrying about what I need to make for what event or where I need to be tomorrow.
Do you plan ahead for the holidays? Or do you wing it?