Oh yes, the ever so busy holiday’s are right around the corner. Can you believe there are only 51 days until Christmas? Every year I swear I am going to have a stress free holiday season. And although I decorate early, (my tree is up today, ok it was up the day before Halloween -don’t judge) I still find myself running around like a lunatic. So in order to avoid the starring role in my own Holiday Meltdown video, I compiled a list of things to do to avoid a stressful holiday season. Sidebar-if you didn’t watch the video, lol, it is a MUST!!!
1. Write out your holiday cards. . .Now
If you send traditional Holiday Cards, write them out now, address and stamp them. Usually the post office is out of holiday stamps by the first week of December. Thankfully, the post office has their Holiday collection available already. If you do an adorable photo card of the kiddos, take it now or make an appointment at your local photo studio. This will save you the headache of trying to take your family pic when everyone else is trying to take their family pic. Place cards in envelopes, address and stamp. Now they’re all ready to throw in the mail the first or second week of December.
2. Make a shopping list, set a budget and start shopping now
I know everyone likes to take advantage of all the huge sales on Black Friday, but if you’re like me, do you really end up scoring the big deal? Or do you come home with a $5 crockpot, more pajamas than you need and a headache. Make a list of who you’re planning on giving gifts to and start shopping now. Many stores have started advertising holiday deals early and some big box stores offer layaway. Does your child want this hot toy that you see now but don’t want to buy it this second? Put it on layaway and make payments. Also check out sites like Pinterest for great ideas for DIY gifts. I made a sugar scrub last year and it was a hit. Also, DIY-ing your gift is personal, and often saves tons of money. Take advantage of coupon codes from sites like RetailMeNot and utilize Amazon. I shop often on Amazon and their prices are very competitive. Also, if you’re a prime member ($99 a year) you can take advantage of 2 day, next day or same day shipping. Make sure to keep a list of what you bought and check it off when you make your purchase. If you can, wrap, tag and put away/hide immediately. If you have gifts to ship, ship them early. This way you can save on shipping and you don’t find yourself spending $40 to overnight a $20 sweater.
3. Plan your Holiday activities
Are you having people over for Christmas Eve? Do you want to take the kids to see a show? Planning now will save you a major headache later. If you are hosting at your house, plan your menu and see who will be attending. If you’re cooking the Turkey but guests are bringing the sides, send an email out now and see who is bringing what. This way you’re not running around like a chicken without a head days before. If you want to take the kids to a show, get your tickets now. Check Groupon and other sites for discounts and savings. If you’re traveling, do NOT, I repeat, do NOT wait till the last-minute. Airlines LOVE to spike up prices, especially during the holidays when they know travelers are going to travel regardless of price. Use your phone’s calendar to keep track of important dates and events. You can set it to remind you of what you have planned hours, a day/days or even a week/weeks before the event.
4. Plan and schedule your elf on the shelf
Yes, he’s back! I personally love Elf on the Shelf, but I know your child’s beloved elf can bring you tons of stress. Plan your elf’s moves in advance. Use an Elf Calendar or set up an Elf on the shelf board on Pinterest. This way you’re not scrambling each night wondering where you are going to move the elf. And just in-case you forget to move the elf, here is a list of kid friendly excuses; why the elf didn’t move.
5. Visiting Santa
Many malls and stores will have Santa in mid-November. Instead of waiting 2 hours on a line days before Christmas, take your kids to visit Santa now. I promise you, you will not regret it.
6. Stock up on emergency holiday supplies
Stock up on wrapping paper and tape. Lots and lots of tape. Running out of tape while wrapping in the middle on the night is frustrating! Don’t let it happen to you! Also, stock up on a few bottles of wine and gift bags for the unexpected guests who show up at your house with a gift. While you’re at it, stock up on a few bottles of wine for yourself too! And last but not least, batteries! Do NOT forget the batteries. Nothing is worse than your child opening his favorite gift to find out you are out of AA batteries. Stock up now!
I absolutely hate it when I hear someone say “I can’t wait until Christmas is over”. Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year! Planning ahead will allow you to spend stress-free time with family, friends and loved ones. So instead of experiencing a last-minute holiday meltdown, you will be stress-free sipping eggnog in front of your tree!