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I love the idea of planning ahead, but I honestly fail at doing so when it comes to Christmas.
Pretty much every year, I fall back to my first love (Amazon Prime, how I do love your shipping!) to get me over the last-minute failure to plan hump.
This year, I’m going to try something shocking and different: plan ahead with shopping for Christmas in July rather than Christmas Eve. Yep- I’ve done it. Eeesh!
Lisa Sharp from The Stress-Free Christmas is here to help all of us get on track for less stressful Christmas planning.
5 Ways To Get Ready For Christmas NOW
Guest Post By Lisa Sharp
Remember the joy and fun that Christmas brought when you were a kid? Do you find it stressful now as an adult?
I started to feel this way about Christmas and hated it because it’s always been my favorite holiday.
I finally had enough when on the way to our annual Christmas trip I was still filling out Christmas cards that I had tried to stay up late the night before to finish.
I was tired and stressed instead of being excited about our little vacation.
I decided then that I was going to make a change and bring the magic back to Christmas.
I won’t say I never get stress around Christmas anymore but it’s so much better than it once was.
Now I have time to watch Christmas movies, drink hot chocolate, and all the other fun Christmas activities that being busy often prevented me from enjoying before.
The way to do this is by planning early.
People tease me about how early I plan for Christmas but then they are jealous when I have time to actually enjoy the holidays.
These are the five things that I feel will make the biggest difference in your holiday season if you get them done ahead of time.
1. Creating a Budget For Christmas
Money is the number one stress around the holidays.
We spend a lot at Christmas time and it can really put a strain on things. Setting a Christmas budget can make a big difference.
Be realistic with your budget and figure out what you really can spend.
Having this done for a long time in advance will help you if you want to buy things ahead of time or need to save money.
2. Start Saving For Christmas in July
Speaking of saving money, start now. If you start early you can just put away small amounts at a time which is much easier than finding big chunks.
If you don’t seem to have room in your budget to save try a 30-day money challenge.
You give up a few small things for 30 days and save that money for Christmas. It won’t stress your budget and can build up quickly.
You can also do some side hustles to earn a little extra money. These are some good options:
- Use cashback apps when buying things online or groceries.
- Drive delivery service, grocery pick up, or a rideshare service.
- Have a garage sale.
- Make a craft and sell it.
- Do surveys online.
These are just a few ideas for things you can do to make some extra cash. There are so many fun and creative ideas out there.
3. Declutter Your Home Now
Clutter is always stressful and decorating for the holidays and bringing in new things can make that clutter even more of a problem.
I try to always be decluttering my home but in the fall I like to do a big sweep of my home and really do a good job.
I have a decluttering checklist I use to help me think of all the places and things I can declutter in my home.
Don’t forget when you do get out your holiday decor to go ahead and declutter it as well.
If you find things you no longer like donate them then, don’t store it even longer.
4. Plan Your Christmas Cards
Remember how last-minute Christmas cards were my breaking point?
One year I didn’t even get them done in time and didn’t send them at all.
Now my goal is to get them done by November 1st and sent out right after Thanksgiving.
Having that big chore done always makes things feel easier.
If you get photo cards you want to plan even earlier so you know what photo you will use and get them ordered early.
Take a few moments to plan out how many cards you need, addresses you need to get, when you need to order by, how many stamps you need, etc.
And be sure to order any supplies early.
I like to sit down and watch a Christmas movie while working on my cards. It makes the time go by faster.
5. Have a Christmas Shopping List
I like to have my Christmas shopping done by December 1st and I shop a little bit all year.
I like to watch for special gifts and sales, especially on larger items.
I have a running list of gifts, supplies and decor so that if I see a good deal I can grab it.
Last year I knew I needed tissue paper and saw some from the year before in July for just a few cents.
Because I knew I needed it I got some and had that bit of shopping marked off my list and saved some money.
It’s tempting to wait for Black Friday and Cyber Money but if you are shopping all year you can likely find even better deals.
And the best part is fewer crowds and you don’t have to miss out on Thanksgiving with the family to go shopping.
When you do these simple things you can have a much more relaxed and stress-free Christmas.
If you feel like you need even more help head over to my blog The Stress-Free Christmas for a ton of tips, free printables, and so much more.
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Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)