I always have to be so careful around this time of year. If I’m exposed to too much Christmas stuff, I start to get all excited about it and I completely bypass Thanksgiving and Halloween. It means no looking at anything with jingle bells, glitter or candy cane stripes. I can’t even glance at the holiday displays popping up in stores for fear that I’ll be sucked into all that good Christmas cheer. I don’t open up Pottery Barn emails as it can snowball into a full afternoon of Christmas pinning on Pinterest. It’s a very slippery slope with me.
That being said, I also don’t want to leave all the holiday preparations until December and then spend the whole festive season in a mad rush to buy presents for everyone on our list AND write all the Christmas cards AND decorate the apartment AND somewhere in there find time to bake cookies, watch Christmas movies and spend time with loved ones – all while trying to do the day-to-day stuff too. It’s ALOT to fit into 4 weeks.
This year I want to be able to ENJOY the season. No rushing around like a mad woman trying to fit it all in. I want to have time to do the things that I love – like spending time with family and baking cookies for the local shelter, because those are things that matter during the holiday season. So I decided to change my game plan a little bit….
1. Start Buying Gifts NOW
I’m not saying you need to make your whole shopping list right now, but while you’re out doing your regular shopping, pick up a few things as you go. I started doing it this past weekend and I was able to finish two people on my list. Do you know how great that feels?
Keeping an eye out for gifts over the course of the next 12 weeks instead of leaving it to the 3 weeks before Christmas (or in some cases Christmas Eve – oops) will not only save you time, but also help you pick out more meaningful gifts. It also gives you a chance to order things well enough in advance that you don’t need to worry if they’ll show up in time.
2. Pinch Some Pennies
The holidays can be expensive. There are gifts, charity donations, cocktail parties, big family dinners, maybe a couple new outfits – it all adds up. Start putting a little bit away every week starting now and then it won’t be such a big hit to your wallet in December.
3. Begin the Annual Purge
There is always that last minute attempt to get the house ready before company comes and you wish you had time to clean out that front hall closet or sort through your clothes or steam clean the rugs. Start adding one of those extra things to your cleaning routine every week. Get your kids involved in it too – now is a great time to have them go through their toys and donate the ones they don’t use anymore.
4. Plan Out Handmade Gifts
I love to give handmade gifts when I can. Whether it’s a festive apron, cozy hand warmers (great stocking stuffers) or an iPad cover, I think that handmade gifts are a great way to show someone you care. However…they do take up lots of time. If you’re thinking of making something special for someone on your list, plan it out now. What supplies do you need? How long do you think it will take to make it? Is it easier to get them all done on one weekend or do you prefer to stretch it out over a few weeks?
I like to pick an evening, like Monday nights when I catch up on Once Upon A Time, and make that my crafting night. Keep everything you need to work on your projects in one tote and then drag it out for that time you set aside.
5. Update Your Address Book
Did someone on your Christmas Card mailing list move? Send them a quick email now asking for their new address, instead of waiting until the holidays when it may get lost in the jumble. You can even start writing out the mailing addresses on the envelopes now, so all you have to do is fill out the cards later on.
Putting in a little extra work now, instead of leaving it all until you’re smack dab in the middle of the festive season will hopefully free up some time for you to actually enjoy the holidays. Instead of running around shopping with the masses, I have visions of curling up with a nice mug of hot chocolate (with a little Irish Cream in there for good measure), with my favourite reindeer slippers on, watching some cheesy holiday movies with Garrett and Whiskey. Fa-la-la-la-la!
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way – I’ll be back to fun fall things tomorrow and for the rest of October. No more Christmas talk until at least November. But I just had to get this out there.