Take Time to Reflect on the Previous Christmas
This is the first step to take if you truly want stress-free holidays. Create two lists, one for your least favourite things and one of the best things about Christmas. Your loved ones and friends will have varying things they like and dislike about the holidays, and so, the best way to tackle this is by getting it all written down. To help you get started, here are some of the questions to keep in mind:
-What was the best thing about the previous Christmas?
-What was the least enjoyable moment about the previous last year?
-What do you wish you had done differently given a chance?
-What do you wish you had not done?
If there are elements of the holidays that you do not like, then consider scratching them off the plan this year. There is no rule that says you should bake cookies, decorate the front porch or send out happy holiday cards. If you do not like it and it doesn’t need to be done, then do not do it.
You will quickly figure out that there are a lot of things that could make it into both lists. For example, designing Christmas cards with photos of your loved one could be one of your favorite things, but despise having to scramble for the photos and having them printed and mailed out in time.
-Do you like holding a Christmas party, but despise the stress it brings when putting it all together?
-Do you like supporting gift drives and charities, but feel you have the time or the finances to give as much as you would like?
-Do you fancy making handmade gifts, but don’t have the time due to your many other obligations?
There are things that make it into both lists and you need to sit down and consider what will really pay off this year.
If anything is important to you, it is essential to ensure you can find the time to achieve it and enjoy it, rather than having the exhilaration sucked out by the hustle and bustle that comes with the task.
Put a star next to the things you think should be a priority and list down a few ideas of how you can approach the tasks now and over the course of the next few months in order to make them less stressful.
For example, you can schedule a family photo session during summer or just as fall kicks in so that you do not have to think about it when the holidays approach. If you want to host an event or meet with friends and loved ones, begin thinking and planning the dates. Also, have let everyone on your guest list know about it early enough so that they can plan accordingly as well.
Homemade gifts are some of the best, but many never find the time to create them. A few years back, I learned knitting and even planned to knit several gifts that year. However, this did not turn out to the case. The problem, and perhaps you have experienced this as well, is that I waited for too long before embarking on the task and the holidays were already with us before I could even work on one.
If the idea of homemade gifts isn’t interesting to you, that’s okay. However, if you find making gifts for loved ones and friends rewarding, this is the time to come up with a plan. The last thing you want is to spend sleepless nights beading, sewing, painting and printing just a few days before Christmas.
Also, keep in mind that you do not have to be a professional to make homemade gifts. If you like handing out photos, start compiling those fun summer pictures into a calendar today. You can also take your young ones to a pottery place and make a handmade platter for the grandparents.
Setting aside funds that you can spend on charity, holiday activities and gifts is another way of planning ahead. This is to ensure you do not go broke between the period of November and December. Ideally, you’ll want to set a budget now, to avoid being caught up in the holiday spirit.
Create Some Headway on The Gift List
If you already have a holiday shopping list or routine that suits you every Christmas, do not change it. However, most people have a hard time knowing what to buy, when, and how to do it. The little things like a gift card for the teacher, hostess gifts for a person who’s having a party, etc., have a reputation for sneaking up on people. Such gifts do not kill your time, but can significantly affect your budget. As such, you’ll want to start stockpiling all those little gifts from today. You can grab a gift card when you are out and about, and this applies to any other adorable or relevant item you come across. It’s never too early to grab a few Christmas light necklaces.
While at it, be on the look for gift card promotions and gas points incentives when you shop at the grocery store. Purchasing several cheap cards and there will give you a stockpile of those last-minute gifts without spending too much money at once. Get everything you need from
July is ideally an excellent month to shop for Christmas gifts, thanks to the many sales available. Take advantage of the sales to get toys for your kids and charitable toy drives. It is way much easier to be generous when you have these items at hand than feeling the burden of overspending during the holidays.
Additionally, if you are currently on vacation or are planning for one before the holidays, this is a great time to visit those unique gift shops and local artisan gifts. You are always in a relaxed mood during vacation, presenting an excellent time to do some shopping.
If you have children in school, keep in mind that during August and September, you’ll have to incur several back to school expenses. As such, this presents to be the best time to work on that Christmas gift list and activities. We might be in July, but just as fast as the first half passed by, so will the second. This is the best time to work on that list and ensure that your holidays will be a blast.