Yeah, I’m still on the pattern of Christmas!
Here are 10 ways to prepare early for the holidays, so when they come and swamp the calendar, you can be prepared and enjoy the moments!
1. Start Early!
September 1st is my start date. Early? Ridiculous? Maybe so, but it’s how I do it! It gives me the time to get everything ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas so that during finals week and company coming into town, it’s not insanely crazy!
2. Set a budget!
The holidays are one of those times that you can end up spending way more than you would have. At times this is out of impulse and at other times, just seeming like adding $5 or even $15 to a gift is nothing… until it happens on every gift and you end up spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a holiday, you could have accomplished on much less.
In a world where it is expected that people will spend $100 on a wedding or birthday, I may seem quite stingy, but here are my cost points…
Family – Each couple $15-$20, child $10
Friends – Couple $15, child $5
Neighbor – Each family $10 (usually a plate of cookies and a home made jam or pie filling)
3. Make a list and check it twice!
Begin by making a list of everyone who would feel loved by being remembered by you. Make sure this list includes all of your family! Our family does not get along. we’re not allowed to see one side and we are iffy with the other and don’t even get me started on in-laws! But! It’s Christmas. Christmas is a time to forgive and love.
4. Make your gifts meaningful!
As you read in my last post, my goal is to make everything home made or buy it from a good cause. Whatever your goal is make sure that each gift reflects things that are a value to you and that are more than just store bought check boxes.
5. Cater your gifts to each person
There will always be that one person on your list that you just need to remember, but you don’t know at all. However, as much as you can, make every gift reflect your relationship with that person and things that matter to them.
One totally goofy gift this year is a plate that says, “Scratch”. Sounds crazy, I know, but it is something my mom has been mentioning for years! She wanted the pantry to be named “Scratch” so that every time she made something, she could say that she made it from scratch! 🙂 It’s the little things that count.
6. Build the gift!
Once you have your list of people and list of what they would like, build a gift around that.
Going back to the previous example, with the “Scratch” plate, I added a cute pair of knit hot pot holders and a home made mint brownie mix in a mason jar. Package it up in a cute bag and it’s set.
So take those two lists and make them collide into a beautiful gift!
7. Bag more than you wrap
If you are planning on traveling for christmas by car or staying at home for the holidays, bag up! Using gift bags instead of wrapping paper makes it easy to transport multiple gifts without tearing paper and makes it easy to reuse supplies! Bags and tissue paper are much easier to fold up and store in a closet than lots of torn wrapping paper! Also, if you really want to conserve, you can use cloth reusable bags.
8. Sometimes, you’ve got to wrap!
If you are traveling by air, it is really easy to package everything into boxes, wrap them up, and stack them in a suitcase! Just remember to bring ribbon to assemble bows once you arrive! No one wants squished bows…
9. Seal it with a note!
If it’s to your special someone, you could totally seal the envelope with a kiss, but for the others on your list, a meaningful card will do!
Don’t just say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holiday”, say something meaningful that makes them feel that you care about them and their enjoyment of this season!
10. Mail them early!
Remember for out of town people, mail their gifts early! Due to the crazy increase in mailing needs over the holiday season, if you mail early, the price is much lower! So mail them 2-3 weeks in advance. This will get them out of your house and done, save on shipping, and possibly even lengthen the holiday cheer for your loved ones!
So there you go, a very early guide to the holidays!
22 days down, 343 days to go!