I said HOLIDAY PLANNING.
Don’t roll your eyes. You know it’s coming.
As I was filling in the rest of October on our refrigerator calendar, a small feeling of fear started to set in. Sadly, folks, this month is OVEH. It really IS time to start thinking about the holidays. As frightening as it sounds, the more you plan ahead, the more you will enjoy these precious times.
Here are a few of my own tips that may help you reduce holiday madness:
- Order your festive Christmas cards – Whether you are looking for personalized photo cards, modern cards or traditional cards, get them early. During those “down” times at Thanksgiving, when everyone else is napping, grab your cards and start writing them out. Or, keep them in the car to pass around and sign while driving to see family or going shopping. Make the best of your time!
- Baking ingredients – Halloween means candy, and lots of it. After Halloween candy sales are good times to stock up on chocolate. Grab discounted bags to freeze and use in your holiday cookie baking. Crushed Snicker bar pieces in cookies? You betcha!
- Party Planning – If you are going to throw a Christmas Brunch or have a party, get your date set NOW. People are busy. With our friends, as sad as it sounds, a two or three month advance notice is not out of the questions. If you want people attending, let them know now.
- Lists – Now is a good time to start making lists: foods, gifts, invites, activities, etc. Keep your lists with you so you can pick items up when you find a great sale!
- Eliminate the Un-necessary – Are there events you participate in every year but no one really cares about them? For instance, do you drive around looking at Christmas lights with your family only to return home stressed out by hours of backseat kid fighting? Eliminate it. Think quality over quantity. Most of us tend to over-tax ourselves with having to be involved in everything. Pick a few things…and do them well.
- Lessen Gift Giving – Do you give gifts just for the sake of giving gifts? Don’t. It’s just added stress and a waste of time and money. We have lessened our with people by only having the kids exchange one gift. Or, we’ve just agreed that spending time together is gift enough. This is not to sound harsh, but I don’t need a bath set or a candle to know someone has thought over me. I’d rather share an hour of laughs over a vodka tonic by the light of the Christmas tree. That, to me, is holiday time better spent.
- Order Gifts Online – During holiday shopping time, many stores online will have GREAT deals with FREE shipping! What’s better than doing your gift buying in your pj’s and having it brought directly to your door? It’s awesome. Some places will even gift wrap them for you! Though, start shopping early. You don’t want to run into holiday shipping problems.
- Double Bake – Are you a holiday baker? Whenever you bake a batch of your favorite cookies, make double the amount and freeze the second batch. You never know when someone will show up and you need something in a pinch. Or, throw them on a plate with a ribbon and you have an instant gift. Anything to lower unwanted stress.
- Plan a Year Ahead – If you didn’t buy all of your wrapping paper, bows, etc. after Christmas LAST year, plan to do it this year. It’s nice to have all of your supplies on hand when you need them and NOT have to pay full price before the holiday.
- When All Else Fails – If holiday planning just isn’t your thing…or if the thought of family gatherings make you want to cringe…plan a trip. Wish everyone a “Feliz Navidad” and fly your butt to Mexico. See you there. Adios!