The Holidays Are Coming!

This week’s blog post is by Christine Luken.

The  Holidays are coming!  The Holidays are coming!  That’s right – only one month until Halloween, two months until Thanksgiving, and LESS than three months until Christmas!!  Are you panicked yet?  Well, don’t be.  I’ll tell you the secret weapon you need for a less stressful 2013 holiday season.  Planning!

Most of us – me included – tend to wing it when it comes to shopping, cooking, and decorating for the holidays.  In the same way that meal planning reduces the cost and stress of putting dinner on the table, investing a little time in advanced planning for your holiday celebrations NOW will pay big dividends later.

Find the Right Tools ~ I found this awesome and FREE Holiday Planner which has handy sheets for keeping track of your gift list, holiday expenses, and activities.  It’s geared towards Christmas, but you could make a copy for each holiday to track decorations, crafts, travel plans, food, and more!   I like that it includes a budget, which increases the likelihood that I won’t overspend on my holiday fun.

Narrow It Down ~ I’ve been collecting ideas for Halloween on Pinterest and there is NO WAY that I will be able to make and bake everything on that board!  So now is the time to narrow it down and decide what I can reasonably accomplish based on the time and money I want to spend.  Think about what traditions your family really looks forward to for each holiday and make sure you allocate time in your schedule.  This way you won’t be carving pumpkins at midnight, pulling your pumpkin pie out of the oven an hour before you’re supposed to be at Grandma’s house, or facing an all-night wrap-a-thon on Christmas Eve.

Build Your To-Do & Assign Dates ~ Once I decide what I’m going to do for each holiday, the next thing to do is figure out when.  By looking at my schedule for October, November, and December, I’ll be able to figure out when is the best time to indulge in some baking and crafts.  In past years, I’ve always waited until the last minute, which means half of what I wanted to do goes unfinished.

More Time, Stress, & Money Saving Ideas ~  Look over your Holiday To-Do List (which should be posted somewhere you see it often, like the refrigerator) and consider your food and baked goods.  What can you make ahead and freeze?  When I visited my Uncle Paul in August, he was baking pies for Thanksgiving and popping them in the freezer.  What a great idea!  Get started on personalized gifts, Christmas cards, and family pictures now.  I always make calendars full of family pictures for my parents as Christmas gifts.  I hate to admit that I’m always doing this at the last minute, emailing my sisters for good shots of my nieces and nephews to include.  This means I’m usually paying for express shipping to get the calendars on time.  Shopping for both food and gifts during the holiday season can be stressful.  If possible, plan shopping trips during the week in the morning when crowds will be light.  I’ve taken vacation days from work to accomplish this in past years and it’s worked really well.

Have a tip for saving time, money, or stress during the holiday season?  I’d love to hear it!

Comments

  1. Great post! I can’t believe how close the holidays are!!!

  2. I need to get started on our cards!

  3. This is my first year without a full time job, so I have more time for crafts, cooking, etc…and WAY less money for gifts! I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas and tips!

  4. Marika says:

    Indeed, right after the summer holidays we’re now approaching another fun and festive season, I can’t wait!

  5. These are some great tips. It seems like this year has just flown past.

  6. Great tips. I need to use them when the holidays roll around!

  7. Jennifer B says:

    This is such a great list to help keep your organized and not so stressed with the holidays right around the corner!

  8. brett says:

    sigh. cut back. send e cards. there’s so many things and i won’t do them. i always overdo the holidays. but i’m really good at it….

    having a planner is SO important. for anything!!

  9. Amy Desrosiers says:

    I think the free holiday planner is awesome! Thank you so much!

  10. Great tips… and what a list.. thanks for sharing, sure will come in handy to prepare for the holidays.

  11. I saw an ad on Facebook yesterday that showed the number of days until Christmas and it almost put me in a semi-panic. I absolutely cannot believe how fast this year is flying by.

  12. What a great way to be organized and prepared for the stressful holidays!!

  13. That’s the only way I can get everything done over the holidays! I have to master plan everything and schedule them by day!

  14. Can’t believe how fast this year has gone by!! I will be using your tips for sure since the holidays snuck up on me this year lol!

  15. The holidays are coming? OH NO!

    Great article – i am all organized for the rest of the year — yea!

  16. I can’t believe Christmas is right around the corner! Crazy!

  17. lori wells says:

    Since my mom passed away and my son is now grown I no longer buy gifts any more or celebrate the holdiays. I may celebrate at work but as far as the home celebration all I do now is buy the turkey and fixings. No more fuss. I do miss the holidays with my family however it is easier this way.