Christmas may be several months away, but it’s never too early to prepare early for the holiday season. The earlier you start, the less stressful the festive period will be for you, and the more you can enjoy and cherish every moment.
Before you know it, summer will be gone, and you will get busy prepping for back-to-school time. As the busyness of life overtakes your time, you’ll be surprised to find yourself looking Fall in the eye.
Rather than overwhelming yourself with all that you need to do, why not start to prepare early for the holiday season? After all, the whole idea of the holidays is to spend time with family and friends, enjoying yourself, celebrating, and making memories.
Early preparation beats the last-minute rush as Christmas approaches. You won’t need to endure shopping in busy malls, panicking about gifts not arriving on time, or rushing to decorate your home in time for festive gatherings.
Here are 8 tips to help you prepare early for the holiday season
. . . and make your Christmas as enjoyable as possible.
1. Work out a budget
I like to start any planning with a budget. So, before you even start really thinking about getting ready for the holidays, set a realistic budget. Think about everything you need—food, decorations, gifts, trips and outings, apparel, postage, Christmas cards, and even parking fees when shopping.
List it all down with your budget for each. This will help you manage your money without any scary surprises. How about starting a dedicated savings account for this? When you can see what you have, it will save you from feeling overwhelmed.
2. Create a Festive Calendar
Organization is key for a smooth and stress-free Christmas, to prepare early for the holiday season. Start by creating a festive calendar with a to-do list of your tasks. Include family gatherings, parties, travel plans, and Christmas shopping trips.
Once you’ve created your festive schedule, you’ll feel calmer and more relaxed about the holiday season. You won’t miss any important occasions and you’ll be able to purchase all your Christmas gifts in time to warp them and place them under the tree.
You could also create a gift list before you head out to do your holiday shopping. This will speed up the gift-buying process and take advantage of discounts and promotions to save money—especially if you plan on buying expensive gifts like jewelry.
3. Install Your Christmas Lights
Christmas light installation is arguably one of the most time-consuming parts of putting up your festive decorations. It would help if you secured the lights appropriately so they don’t fall. Make sure they have a strong electrical supply so they shine bright on those dark winter nights.
Putting up your Christmas lights early in the year means you don’t have to worry about this time-consuming task as the holiday approaches. Instead, all you’ll need to do is plug the lights in and watch them light up your home.
4. Plan Your Christmas Menu
If you’re hosting Christmas this year, you’ll be expected to cook and serve lots of delicious dishes. Consider planning your menu early so you can prepare for a hefty cooking session as the festive period looms.
Make sure to ask all of your guests if they have any dietary restrictions or requirements. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to serve both a meat-containing and plant-based option, so that everyone enjoys dinner on Christmas Day.
Look online for some inspiration. There are thousands of great Christmas dinner recipes online and you won’t struggle to find the perfect one for you and your guests.
Once you’ve decided on your recipes, write down a list of ingredients that you’ll need to shop. Frozen ingredients can be bought earlier.
5. Start gift shopping early
There is literally no time like the present to begin your gift shopping. See what I did there? Pun intended! Look for sales and summer discounts. List all the people you need to buy gifts for, including family and friends. When you prepare early for the holiday season, you’ll be able to pick those gifts with enough time to spare. This brings us to the next tip.
6. Check mail delivery times
So you have your gifts and Christmas cards ready and packed. Getting them to your loved ones can be a stressful task. You know how busy the post office will be once the holiday season begins.
Make sure you buy enough stamps to avoid long queues later. For gifts, why not send them out a little early to avoid the holiday rush? Check mail delivery times and set a date well in advance to send things out before the mad rush begins.
7. Decide who is coming
If you are planning to host Christmas dinner at your place, start making a guest list. Who will be attending? How many people? Will there be houseguests who will need to stay over? Knowing this will help you plan for grocery and other related shopping. Prepare your invitations. And also list extra stuff you’ll need such as towels/toilet rolls/spare bedding/etc.
8. Remember to schedule self-care
Keep your holiday season stress free by taking good care of yourself. Take some time at the start of each day to ask yourself if you are stressed/overwhelmed. If you answered yes, think about why you are stressed. Can you readjust your schedule by removing something to ease that stress? Can you delegate some of the tasks on your list?
Make sure you set realistic expectations when you start to prepare early for the holiday season. Holidays can be stressful in so many ways. But when you prepare early for the holiday season, you can avoid letting it overwhelm you. After all, this is a time to spend time with those you love.