Thursday, November 7, 2013

Planning for Christmas

I know, I know, the calendar just turned to November, but whether you want to believe it or not; Christmas is right around the corner. Everyone thinks I'm crazy when I start talking about Christmas in August and September, but I feel like many of those same people complain about how much they have to do and how overwhelmed they are come December. 

I thought I would share some of the simple tools and tricks I use to plan ahead so that you can sit back and enjoy all the fun festivities of the season instead of running around stressed making last minute decisions and purchases. I'm not saying you should start decking your halls, but even just making some simple decisions now about activities you want to participate in or menus you want to prepare for an event can make your life a lot easier 6 weeks from now.

I've put together my top tips and tools to help plan for Christmas now to make your holiday season merry and bright!

1. Shop Early
I think about Christmas gifts year round. I'm always listening to family members when they mention something they want and keep it in mind come Christmas. I keep a note on my iPhone all year round to keep track of gift ideas. I think kids are the easiest to shop for so I'm always keeping tabs on my nieces and nephew and what their current obsessions are to help decide what gifts to get them. 

I try to be done with my shopping by Thanksgiving weekend and it is always a great feeling. I also highly recommend Amazon Prime which is a membership on Amazon where you get 2 day free shipping on most items. It is honestly the best $79 I spend a year. You can't really argue with free 2 day shipping and no tax. It's a great solution if you need a last minute gift and honestly I do 90% of my Christmas shopping online anyway so I don't have to be in the stores with angry mobs of people.

2. List it Out
I am just naturally inclined to make lists for everything to keep myself organized and Christmas is no different. There are a lot of great templates out there already to keep your gift idea, gifts bought and budget in line. This website has more than 20 different list templates that include everything from a Black Friday sales list to a cleaning list.

3. Event Planning
There are so many fun things for us to do as a family at Christmastime it can be hard to keep track of. Every season I make a list of family activities that I would like to do and the list is always very long. I also print out a special December calendar to keep on display in our kitchen to see the schedule of when we are doing all of our special events. 

4. Menu Plan
Whether you are hosting your entire family, attending a cookie exchange or need to bring an appetizer to a friend's Christmas party, it can be a pain to constantly need to run to the store to pick up ingredients. Even just deciding what you are going make this season will help you be ahead of the game. 

Once you make some decisions, you can make grocery lists of what you need to make each meal or item and even keep an eye out for sales at the grocery store between now and Christmas. I always do a pantry inventory too to see what I need for Christmas baking. As Thanksgiving approaches all the baking items go on sale so it's a good time to stock up. There are great templates for these types of lists here.

5. Keep it Organized
One last tip is to keep all of your gift purchases organized. Keep your receipts all in one place and keep the gifts for each person on your list together. For the kids in our family I have a plastic tub in our gift closet assigned to each kid. It helps keep everything separate. I also try to wrap gifts as I buy so I don't have to wrap them all at once. 

The 2012 gift closet

So those are some of the things that I like to do to keep our holidays merry, I hope it helps all of you too!

No comments:

Post a Comment