The holiday season is upon us. Truth be told, I should have published this blog post a couple of weeks ago. However, this time has snuck up on me.
You too? Oh good, I’m not alone!
Instead of thinking I should wait until next year and publish this post in a more timely manner, I thought that you might be in the same boat as me and are feeling behind even though we are barely into November.
Let me share with you 7 ways you can begin to prepare for the holiday season right now.
First, though, I need to clarify what I mean by the holiday season. I consider the holiday season to be the time period of Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. I realize there are a lot of different holidays that people celebrate during that time. However, I’m going to focus mainly on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Make a realistic plan
I am the world’s worst when it comes to being a perfectionist in regards to the holidays. I want to have the perfect place setting, the perfect food, the perfect decor, and at Christmas, the perfect gifts. Over the years I have learned to scale back my expectations and have quit chasing the elusive perfect holiday.
So we need to make a realistic plan that reflects what we truly want to happen and can actually happen.
Ask yourself these questions as you make your holiday plan:
- What obligations and commitments do I already have on my calendar?
- Which events or gatherings do I want to host?
- What resources will I need to make these plans happen?
Set a budget
All too often I spend way too much during the holidays. And it’s not just on gifts. I can go overboard on food and decorations as well.
Think about what funds you are able to set aside for the holidays. If you determine that this year is a little leaner and you need to cut back on some things, make preparations to do so. Maybe you will need to encourage your family to draw names for gifts instead of buying for everyone. Or maybe your family will choose to have one big family gift instead of each family member receiving lots of smaller gifts.
Once you know how much you are willing and able to spend, then you can create a holiday season that reflects those priorities.
Begin decluttering your home now
There is nothing worse than having to frantically clean up your home the day you are expecting guests. Especially if those guests arrive unexpectedly. Start today by getting rid of or putting away items that are laying around your house.
Don’t stress over this step though. Any progress no matter how big or small is still progress. Do what you can over the course of the next few weeks and you will see a difference in your home.
If your cabinets and closets are so full that you can’t put the items away, then take the time to declutter just one or two of those places to make room for the items that are sitting out around your house. Just the other day I took the time to get rid of a couple of things I saw under my bathroom sink that were just taking up space.
Spend 15-20 minutes a day working on one cabinet, drawer, or closet and you’ll be amazed at how much you can get cleaned out over the course of a week. And when you add the time you spend each week cleaning and decluttering, think about what a huge difference you’ll see in your home.
Making sure everything has a place will go a long way in relieving stress when it comes time to clean your home.
You’ll also want to clean out your refrigerator and freezer to make room for all the holiday ingredients and leftovers that you will have. This is a great time to not only clean it out but clean it thoroughly by taking everything out and wiping down the shelves and washing out the drawers. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the holiday season than having a freshly cleaned and sanitized refrigerator and freezer.
You’ve determined your budget already. Begin putting it to good use and start buying a few gifts at a time.
I know some people who shop all year round for gifts. I’m not one of those people. In fact, I probably won’t start buying gifts until December.
If you don’t like to shop early, then do as I do and at least begin creating your gift list. This way you can begin to keep an eye out for specific items and you can purchase them when you see them on sale for a good price.
Begin cooking and baking now
Make a plan for your holiday meals. Are there any that you could prep and/or make now and then freeze for later? Or can you create some meals to freeze that will be available to pull out when you are having a hectic week?
Save yourself time and energy by getting prepared for this busy time.
Make a plan for your holiday cards
If you send out cards every year, make a plan for how you are going to do that. Are you going to include a photo? What about a letter?
If you are going to include a photo, make plans now to have it taken so you’ll have it ready to go when you get your cards ready. Also, make sure to update your address list to make sure everything is correct.
Don’t forget to make a plan to take care of you
In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s often easy to overlook our own needs. Make sure you are getting plenty of rest, water, and healthy food to keep you fueled for all the things you need to do.
Take a few moments each day to do something just for you. Refocus your thoughts and energy while you take advantage of a little downtime.
Even though the holiday season is here we can still make it less stressful by planning ahead. I hope you’ve found these tips to be useful and inspiring.
How do you plan for the holiday season?