Thanksgiving is over, and soon Halloween will be too. This is about the time I start really thinking about Christmas. My mind is already wondering where I will put the decor, and how I can change it up from last year. I started flipping through cookie books, looking for new recipes to try. Gifts have already been bought, of course not all of them, but most of them. And on top of all of that, I've been busy whipping up a lot of holiday crafts behind the scenes to share with you here on the blog.
The thing is, some of us could use a little help around the holidays. I'm by far no expert, but over the years I've learned how to better manage my time by using lists, then starting early and spreading out tasks. By doing it like this, I am far less overwhelmed when it becomes the final few weeks before Christmas.
If you need help in getting a head start this holiday, below are some tips and ways I've gotten through the last several years. It IS the most wonderful time of the year, so let's feel that way about it. Right?
When it comes to gifts, I like to give a mix of store bought and handmade. I save November and December for making gifts, so when it comes to buying, I look all year long, then store the gifts in a secret place. This method works for me because then I know I've put thought into my gifts, and I'm not scrambling last minute to buy gifts that I hope people will like. Most of the time, I can avoid the crowded malls in December. But if this doesn't work for you, online shopping is another great way to save time. Amazon has pretty much everything, as an example. Whether you are looking for books, or toys, or tools, or clothing. However, keep in mind that delivery times around the holidays increase.
With my budgets sheet, you can prepare ahead by making a list of gifts you'd like to buy, then do all your shopping at once, in a click of a button or by going to the mall. You can also record your budget to stay on financial track.
A tradition here around the holidays is baking. If you enjoy it too, but find yourself short on time, remember that most cookies and cakes can be stored in the freezer for up to three months (three months for cookies, and two months for cakes). That means you can start as early as September if you wanted! Every year, our town has a Christmas Parade of Lights in the last few weeks of November. My goal was to always have a variety of cookies for that event, as friends and family always came over to indulge in hot chocolate and yummy treats after the parade. So starting early for me was always necessary. Make time near Christmas for things that cannot be stored in the freezer, and get the rest out of the way as early as you can.
My Christmas bake sheet allows you to keep track of the recipe name, date it was made, when it's best until, and for cookies, how many you made.
There's a reason why craft stores and most dollar stores start selling Christmas paraphernalia as early as September, even though some of us might roll our eyes. But, if you love making holiday crafts, whether to keep for yourself or to give as gifts, it's not a terrible idea to get your list of ideas together and supplies bought early, at the very least. Stocking up early is a valuable time-saver, and also, some things can go quickly.
Use my craft list to create the list of projects you'd like to achieve, and set dates to work on them.
I still find the pleasure in sending out holiday cards by mail. E-cards will probably never do it for me. I usually send mine out before December 10th, it's just a date I stick by. That means, I have to start writing them early, especially because my list includes over three dozen households, and I can't write them all in a day. Imagine the hand cramping! It's also why I like to get my holiday cards out early in the SHOP, to save you time as well.
My mailing list is a good way to keep track of people you send cards out to, so that there are no duplicates or forgotten family and friends.
Besides our post-parade gathering, we often have people popping by in the months of November and December, and host at least one other major Christmas party. I love playing Christmas tunes during those times. Background music is always important to me in setting a mood. I know that it's easy enough to turn on the Pandora, however, sometimes I can find myself skipping through more songs than not.
Making a list of your favourite tunes therefore can be beneficial, and you can use my Christmas tunes list to do so. Then, download them all in time for your first holiday gathering, and you won't be disappointed with the music that evening.
P I N M E !
If these lists look a little familiar to you, it's because you may have seen them in last year's Christmas bundle. You can download all of them again HERE. I use these lists every year, and using them alone is your head start. I hope that with my other tips and suggestions, you will find your way to a stress-free holiday when Christmas is near.
Thanks, friends. If you found today's post helpful, please share with anyone else you know who might find it useful too. Have a great day!