The holiday season is meant to be a time of joy and celebration — something not easy to achieve if you are making last-minute preparations. The answer? Start now. By starting your preparations in September, you can reduce stress, stay organized and have a more enjoyable holiday season with your loved ones. Here are 10 ways to get a jump on the holidays.
Mark Your Calendar
Create a holiday calendar. Mark down traditional holiday events such as fall festivals, tree lightings and any traditional events. Don’t forget school activities, holiday parties and other events. Having a clear overview of your commitments will help you plan your time effectively.
Set a Budget
Set a holiday budget so as not to overspend. Consider all expenses, including gifts, decorations, food, travel and entertainment. You will feel less stressed and have more fun if you aren’t worried about your finances.
Make A List
Now is the time to start crafting your gift-giving list. Start with your immediate family and work outward. Don’t forget teachers and service providers such as beauticians and mail carriers. Set a budget for each.
Don’t wait for holiday sales to start. Shopping early can help you find the perfect presents without the last-minute rush. Sip ‘N Shop events like the one hosted in Bryson offer unique gift options you may not find anywhere else.
Make Travel Arrangements
If you'll be traveling during the holidays, book your flights, accommodations and transportation in advance. Prices tend to rise as the holiday season approaches, so securing your plans early can save you money.
Start Craft Projects Now
If you plan to make handmade gifts or decorations, start your projects in September. That way, you can take your time and feel proud of your accomplishments.
Plan Your Holiday Menu
If you are hosting, it’s never too early to plan your menu. Browse cookbooks and cooking magazines. Copy recipes to a holiday notebook. That way you have everything in one place when it comes time to create shopping lists and food preparation. Some items such as rolls, pie crusts and cookie dough can be made in advance and frozen.
Nobody wants to do a deep clean during the holidays. Declutter, organize and tackle any home maintenance tasks that need attention this month. Get family members to help. Create a special holiday chore list to help you keep up on basic maintenance tasks.
Holiday Cards and Invitations
If you send out holiday cards or invitations, start designing and ordering them early. This allows you to address and mail them out with plenty of time for delivery.
Schedule Time for Self-Care
Don't forget to take schedule time for yourself during the holiday season. Set aside time for a relaxing massage, regular exercise and overall downtime. If you are happy and relaxed, your family will be too.