One of the keys to a happy holiday season is having the time to enjoy it. For five weeks, from Thanksgiving to Christmas, it often feels like we are caught in a swirling tornado that whips us from one event to another. The entire season can become a blur of gift buying, school performances, and family visits.
That’s why organization is key this time of the year. If we can plan ahead and take the time to prepare for the holidays now, it will reduce our stress and enable us to be fully present during these wonderful family moments.
Here are six things you can do now to get ready for Christmas.
1. Create a Financial Plan
Much of what we do around the holidays takes money. It’s unfortunate, but true. If you can get a handle on how much you plan to spend on gifts, outings, clothes, and the like, you’ll be in much better shape when you need the cash.
2. Make a Calendar of Events
There are church services, school performances, and school parties. There are office parties, family get-togethers, and family traditions. Trying to squeeze all of these events into five weeks is a challenge. It will save you enormous amounts of time if you can plot out when you want to do those things. Sure, it will take coordination with your family and friends, but it could also be beneficial for everyone.
3. Create Shopping Lists
You’re going to be shopping a lot over the next few weeks, and there’s no reason to delay your planning. Sit down and list all of the people that you need to purchase gifts for along with a projected dollar amount. You can also budget for other holiday-related items like food, a tree, decorations, and family photos. It might also be helpful to schedule some time for you to accomplish your shopping so you’re not waiting until the last minute.
4. Plan Family Outings
Amidst all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, you’ll want to find some time for good old-fashioned family fun. Take a moment and think about your family traditions or the traditions that you’d like to create. What’s available in the community for your family to do together? Make a schedule for when you plan to visit Santa, go caroling, and buy your tree. If you have those dates set, everyone can make sure to clear their calendars.
5. Check Lights and Decorations
Your Christmas lights and decorations have probably been sitting the garage or attic for 11 months. A lot of strange things can happen over that much time. Do the lights still work? Do you need a new timer for the lights? Do you need to upgrade some of your decorations? Dig the box out a few weeks before you plan to decorate your home and make sure that everything is in good working order. If not, you’ve got plenty of time to buy new stuff or repair the things you have.
6. Get Rid of Unwanted Toys
If your kids are expecting a windfall from Santa, it’s a good idea to start making some room in the house now. Go through their current and older toys to see what might need to be donated or thrown away. Sure, your kids might miss a few things for the next few weeks, but once December 25 comes, they’ll be consumed with all new toys.