And every year I like to start a little earlier on my planning.
This year, I am starting now...
And you should too!
Here's Ten Things You can do NOW to help you get a head start!
10. Buy Stocking Stuffers! This is a GREAT time to buy lots of stocking stuffers because of the back-to-school prices! You can get markers, crayons, note pads, stickers, and other goodies for almost nothing!
9. Start Saving! This is a good time to start deciding what the big items on the Christmas lists will be and start budgeting for them. For example, if your kid wants an ipod touch and you know that will be around $200, start saving $40 per month aside for that now and you won't have to come up with the cash all at one time in December, when there are lots of other expenses.
8. Plan Your Christmas Break! This is the time to start making travel plans for the Holidays. If you think you're going to go out of town, decide if you'll fly or drive. Start pricing flights and hotels, and don't forget to think about weather conditions etc. and plan extra time for them.
7. Fill Your Calender! If you're anything like me, December fills up quick. Before I know it, I have a gazillion commitments and I realize I'm not getting to do the things I really wanted to do with my own family. Sit down with your spouse and kids and decide what fun activities you want to do as a family (looking at lights, seeing a Holiday movie, Christmas parade etc.), and write those things down on your calender so that when friends ask about getting together, you already have days marked off for your own family and can plan around them!
6. Find New Traditions! Maybe it's time to start Elf on The Shelf, or maybe you want to start an annual Christmas party, or maybe you want to start doing an Advent calender with the kids. Whatever it is, start researching some fun things to celebrate the season with your family now, so that you won't be running behind when the time comes.
5. Try New Recipes! Nothing is worse than finding a recipe that sounds fabulous and you serve it at your Holiday feast only to discover that it's horrible. Or, maybe it takes twice the time to cook than you thought it would. Or maybe you need to substitute ingredients. Trust me when I say it's better to start trying these "amazing" recipes out on your family now to know what works and what doesn't. That way, your feast will be exactly what you want it to be.
4. Go through Your Decorations and Lights! Now is the time to find out if your lights etc. are working and if your decorations are in need of an overhaul. That way, you can watch the department store sales, search garage sales, and look online to catch the best deals.
3. Get Crafty! If you think you might want to actually make some of the gifts you'll be giving, now would be the time to start those projects. Whether you're sewing a quilt, refinishing a piece of furniture you found a yard sale for someone, or making a scrap book, this is the perfect time to get started so you'll have plenty of time to finish without feeling rushed.
2. Make Some Lists! Start preparing a list of people you'll be sending cards to, gathering addresses, setting a budget, making lists of people you'll be buying for, etc. This will help you to be more organized as the time gets closer.
1. Pay Attention! Now is the time to start paying attention to what your family and friends talk about. Listen to your husband when he says he really likes a new magazine and think about getting him a subscription. Or, when your friend mentions that she can't find the right necklace to go with her dress, you can be on the look out. This will keep you from that, "oh no! I have no idea what to get them" crisis that always takes over holiday shopping! And the best key is to WRITE IT DOWN!! I promise you, if you don't, you will forget!
Hope that this helps you to start thinking ahead.
Because after all, Christmas is only 153 days away! :)
I will be linking up with Many Little Blessings for Top Ten Tuesday and We Are THAT Family For WFMW. Be sure to check them out!