Can you believe Thanksgiving is in 10 days?! I am so excited!
My heart is so happy that the holidays are approaching. While I’ve always loved the holidays, I’ve never really been one to be “on top of things” when it comes to entertaining or Christmas shopping. This year, however, I have completely changed my tune.
I wanted to take a minute to give you guys some of my tips on how I’m making sense of this sometimes hectic season! Whether you want to go big or just get things done before the mall makes you want to pull your hair out – here’s a few tips to make your holiday season go smoother.
You have 3 things you need to decide on: your priorities, your budget, & your time. Are your priorities to make homemade sweaters and gifts for every person you know? Great! But does your budget and time allow you to do that?
Make sure that all three of these areas are in sync with each other. If your priorities outweigh your time or your budget, you are sure to set yourself up for a frustrating season.
A lot of years in the past, I have pinned lots of cool stuff on Pinterest, thought of great gift ideas, and then it’s the week before Christmas and I’m like, why did none of this come to fruition?! Because I failed to plan for what I actually wanted and didn’t take into account the time and money it would take.
Whatever your goals are, write them down and be specific! Keep it in front of you so you remember to get it done. Try to keep your list to a manageable size. If you look at it and think you’ll never have time for it all, try to pick some things you could do without.
Here is my list of my to do’s for the holiday season:
- Get a turkey platter & gravy boat
- Get dress for husband’s Christmas party – check!
- Make apple butter as favors for our Thanksgiving guests/Christmas gifts – check!
- Order Christmas cards & collect addresses – check!
- Send by 1st of December
- Make an ornament wreath for the door
- Make a simple Christmas card holder
- Host a cookie exchange/secret Santa party – invites sent!
- Make gifts for my coworkers
- Specifically, 2 spa gift baskets for my admins
- 3 gift baggies for some women I work with
- 2 tins of cookies for my bosses
- Make homemade peppermint sugar scrub as gifts for friends/family
- Make some goodies!
- Make cookies for work at least twice (gotta share the love!)
- Make peanut butter blossoms, chocolate peppermint cookies
- Try to make peppermint marshmallows!
- Get Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving! – got started!
- Put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving 🙂
Maybe this list looks insane to some of you, but when I break it down, it’s not really that much, I am just trying to make my list as specific as possible! In years passed, this would have looked impossible to me because I most likely would have started making this list halfway into December when it was already too late!
Everyone’s goals will look different based on what you have going on and what you have time for. Even if you only have a few people to shop for or just one event to prepare for, making a list will help put it all into perspective on how to make a game plan to get it all done!
2. Shop Smart
Don’t just wing it with shopping! Too often, I have been like, I’m going to the mall to do all my Christmas shopping today! But I go with no game plan and end up leaving frustrated and then have to make additional trips.
It helped me to make a list of things I needed for craft items & gifts to buy.
Here’s an example of what some of my list looked like:
- Peppermint sugar scrub: coconut oil, peppermint extract, mason jars & ribbon for packaging
- Ornament wreath: big box of silver ornaments, foam wreath, small colored ornaments
- Christmas card holder: Christmas sign, ribbon, clothes pins
- Candy canes for Christmas party
Gifts to buy:
- Gift baskets for work friends: gift caddies, hand lotion, lip balm, Christmas socks, peppermint scrub
- Gift bags for work friends: baggies, chocolates, nail polish, make gift tag
- Gift tins for cookies
- Secret Santa gift
From there, I categorized the items I needed by what stores I wanted to go to for them. So I had a Target list, a Michael’s list, a mall list, etc.This way, I am making as few trips as possible and going into each store with a plan. I’m also making use of getting some gifts online to save time and money.
Some simple shopping tips:
- Don’t forget your coupons. Check Retail Me Not before going to any store. There are always coupons for Michael’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, Bath & Body Works, and so much more. Most you can use straight from your phone too.
- Prepare for the crowds. Expect crowds & long waits if you live in a busy area, go shopping at peak times, or go shopping the day a coupon becomes active. If you go into shopping expecting it to take a little longer and deal with more people, it can help your experience so much!
- Plan trips in advance. Plan your trips based on how much time you have and stores in the same area. Be realistic about how much time you have to spend so you’re not rushing.
3. Start NOW!
I don’t know about you, but a lot of the time, I miss the joy of the season because I am so busy rushing around trying to do stuff for Christmas or get things together. The earlier you can start, the more you can sit back and enjoy the season as it unfolds instead of not being present for the holidays you are so excited for.
My biggest goal is to avoid the mall after Thanksgiving. The mall near me is absolutely insane year-round and it’s that much worse around Christmas! If starting early just isn’t possible or you wanted to start early and then realize that time has already passed, make it a point to find joy in doing all your holiday tasks.
Have a lot of cookies to bake? Savor the moment by making them with your kids and making it a fun activity. Need to wrap a bunch of presents? Don’t forget to light a nice holiday scented candle or put some music on while you do so to relax.
4. Remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Pinterest is a great inspiration for holiday ideas and there are lots of nice things advertised to us this time of year. But remember that it’s not all about what you do or how much you spend. It’s about what you decide to make of this season with friends and family.
Whatever your holiday plans are, I hope they are filled with joy and organization! Even if your plans are simply to get the minimal done, any amount of planning ahead of time can help the holiday’s seem more of a joy than a burden.
Questions for You:
- What are you plans for this Christmas?
- Is getting ahead for the holidays a struggle for you?