Repeat after me: The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.
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If you’ve ever dreamed of being the type of person to have everything for Christmas ready by Black Friday, this post is for you. No, I’m not one of those people. However, I think I figured out the secrets to make it happen. The answer is to start thinking about Christmas 2023 now. Yes, I know your pumpkin spice latte hasn’t digested yet and you still haven’t gotten settled into school ), but it’s never too early to start thinking ahead to the holidays. I mean who doesn’t want to be holly jolly when they have the chance? If Target and At Home, can welcome the Christmas spirit while acknowledging the preceding holidays such as Halloween, Diwali, and Thanksgiving, so can you.
So here are 8 things you can do now to start preparing for Christmas 2023.
- Determine how you feel about gifts
In some ways, the holiday season has lost its meaning. It’s largely become a battle of consumerism. Depending on who you ask, long gone are the days in which it was a time to honor family, traditions, and religion. Now is the time to determine what aligns more with your needs and goals for the season. Determine whether you want to forgo gifts, customers, and large dinners to focus more on family time. Do you want to skip the big dinners with extended family and have a simple meal by yourself? Or do you want to buy gifts for kids and handmade for adults? One of the beautiful things about the holiday season is that there are no rules. But also means you need to determine your rules and communicate them as soon as possible.
2. Reflect on the last holiday season
The holiday season may be positioned as a joyous time, but that doesn’t mean every second of it is joyous. Varying circumstances can make the holidays stressful, depressing, exciting, overwhelming, frustrating, surprising, and more. Put yourself in a better position this time around by, looking at all that went wrong, right, or mediocre last year so you can identify the best best coping skills this year. In addition to reflecting on how you felt last season, it could be helpful to determine how you will track and reflect on this holiday season. For example, using therapy notebooks for anxiety and depression, a planner to schedule self-care through the holiday madness or even an app can be helpful.
Even if you realize the holidays don’t bring out your best, you can be proud knowing you are committed to what you can to manage emotions better this time around.
3. Set up a savings account now
It’s no secret that holiday season can be rather costly. The gifts, charitable donations, holiday baking and traditions can all add up to hefty amounts now. If at all possible, open up a savings account and start storing away money now. As of writing this, there are 17 weeks till Christmas. Even if you can only save 15 dollars per week until then, you’ll at least have $255 to spend on a cute Christmas Eve 2022 family holiday tradition.
4 Join Facebook buy and sell groups
I’m a huge fan of buy-and-sell groups on Facebook. If you aren’t already aware, these Facebook groups act as virtual garage sales in which people sell things they no longer need. Now, of course, I would never give used items for Christmas gifts. However, I’ve gotten great used items I could keep for myself around the holidays. I even got a 6 feet faux Christmas tree for free from one of the groups I follow. Plus, some people even sell brand new items for a fraction of the cost – things that might make for great holiday gifts. (However, since covid is still around and we’re heading into Flu season be sure to properly sanitize anything that you get from these groups before using. ) You can find these groups by searching “Your town name + yardsale group” in the Facebook search bar.*
Don’t forget you can also sell items you don’t need to make money for the holiday season!
5. Take inventory of your Christmas decorations
You know what’s frustrating? Setting up your Christmas tree and realizing you don’t have any working string lights and having to drop everything and drive to the store to get it. Or equally frustrating is buying a tree angel thinking you don’t have one only to realize what you really needed was a new tree skirt. Save yourself the headache and wasted money by pulling out your decorations and taking inventory of what you don’t have now. That way you won’t find yourself without anything once you finally are ready to put up the decorations.
6. Buy what’s on sale now if it’s budgeted for
I’m a big fan of buying things off-season to save money. Believe it or not, I’ve already purchased AND wrapped a few Christmas gifts. It’s amazing how much money you can save when you buy things out of season. Sometimes you can get great holiday items at 75 percent off if they are purchased in the summer. However, it’s only a saving if you budgeted the expense. Otherwise, you’re just spending money that you should be spending on something else. To take advantage of the sales, add a little extra in your budget for gifts. That way you are prepared and ready to shop guilt free if a holiday item is on sale. (If you need help creating a budget, you can check out this book about budgeting from The Budgetnista or this post on Inpsired Budget about must-have budget categories)
7. Pay attention to holiday trends
It may be several months away, but holiday trends are already in the making. If you’re one to keep up with and incorporate trends into your holiday festivities, now would be a good time to start looking at what’s trending. That way if pink tinsel or upside Christmas trees are back in style, you’re on top of it.
8. Make reservations early
Some of the best holiday attractions sell out early. If you budgeted for it and it’s something you can’t imagine missing, it might be your best bet to make those reservations. Considering many attractions have been abandoned through covid precautions, something you want to do might be in high demand now. Plus, some things still have limited capacity due to Covid-19 precautions. For example, I know the Polar Express Train ride in my area has limited ticket sales and capped its capacity at 25 percent. Plus, if you buy early you might even be able to get a great deal.
9. Make a list of all the charities you want to support
Tis the season to give and open up your heart. This year has been a very emotional one; one in which many of us have found our purpose or call to action. The holiday season is another great time to lean into those causes and support either financially or with your time. However, it’s not always easy to pay attention to the causes that speak to you and stay focused on them when there are many deserving organizations. Take note of what’s really been moving you. That way you don’t find yourself overwhelmed and confused once the holidays come and everything demands your attention. Not only will you be able to save money to donate by planning ahead, but you’ll have an idea of where to divide your time when it comes to volunteering too.
10. Browse Pinterest for holiday-themed ideas
One of my favorite ways to prep for Christmas is trolling Pinterest (follow me)for all the DIY, decor and house party traditions. Not only does it give you something to look forward to but it helps you come up with ideas for your own family. You’ll have time to practice and master signature holiday cocktails and desserts. Plus, DIY can take a lot of time and prep so it’s never a bad idea to get a head start gathering materials.
11. Prep your holiday wish list
If your family is anything like mine, you’ll encounter a bunch of people asking what you and your kids want for Christmas. Unfortunately, if you don’t have an answer ready you could unknowingly be making your life and the givers’ like more difficult. Why? Because the giver will spend hours or days trying to figure out the right gift. Then you will spend hours telling your kids to play with yet another toy that gets tossed into a pile collecting dust. Or you’ll be stressed finding time to go to the store or post office to return that sweater that just wasn’t your style or fit. All that can be avoided if you take stock of what you already have so you can make a thorough wish list of wants or needs. That way when asked you can be sure that you really don’t need another self-help book to add to your bookshelf. What you really want are more experience-based gifts such as a lesson on branding from Kris Jenner on Masterclass or a better understanding of science and problem-solving from Bill Nye the Science Guy.
Perhaps, your kids don’t need another book about cars, but instead need this one about understanding BIG feelings cause the tantrums are trying your patience. And no, it’s not greedy or ungrateful. Think of it as simply welcoming ease into everyone’s life.
12. Think about matching attire
Thanks to social media, matching holiday pajamas has become a thing. And it’s not just for people who celebrate Christmas. Since the trend picked up steam there’s been matching pajamas for Hannaukah, Kwanzaa and Halloween. The options can be endless and quite overwhelming. That’s why it’s a good idea to think about what you envision for them now. Do you prefer plaid pajamas, santa pajamas or pajamas with identifiers such as “sister elf” and “brother elf”? Do your prefer to shop The Children’s Place new holiday pajama collection or are you a fan of Old Navy?
Is it ever too early to prep for Christmas? When do you start thinking about the holiday season?
TERRIfic Quip: There is magic to find all around