Feeling overwhelmed by all the things you have to do between Thanksgiving and Christmas? Don’t be! With a little holiday preparation, the holidays can be enjoyable and pleasant, no matter how long your to-do list may seem! This list of simple tips will help you prepare for the holiday season so you can sit back and enjoy this special time of year. And don’t forget to download my free printable holiday planner at the end of the post!
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Even though the holidays are supposed to be a time of joy, peace, and thankfulness, do you ever feel a distinct lack of these when you think about your never-ending holiday to-do list? Is your Christmas joy replaced with stress, irritability, and maybe a tiny bit of Grinchy-ness?
It’s no secret that the holidays can be a major source of stress. Between cooking and shopping and wrapping and planning and attending parties and everything else we try to squeeze into our November and December calendar, sometimes we just want it all to be over.
That picture-perfect holiday season we were dreaming of goes right out the window, along with our sanity and maybe even our dignity.
Where did it all go wrong?
I’ll tell you a little secret. The holidays don’t have to be so stressful. And they certainly don’t have to make you wish for December 26th to arrive early this year. All it takes is a little planning to make the holidays an enjoyable time of year for you and your family.
So if you’d like to take back your holidays and actually enjoy them, then you’re in the right place! I’m going to show you how to prepare for the holiday season so you can enjoy all the little pleasures this time of year has to offer. And at the end of the post, you can download my free holiday planner to help you implement these tips!
7 Things You Can Do Now to Prepare for the Holiday Season
It really is the little things that make all the difference. Even though these tips are simple, they will do wonders for your sanity as you prepare for the holiday season.
1. Set Your Priorities
It’s just a fact that this time of year can get pretty hectic. But don’t do a bunch of things just for the sake of doing them or because “we’ve always done it this way.”
Instead, decide ahead of time what’s important to you by making a list of the things you want to do and the things you DON’T want to do this holiday season.
Think back to last year. What activities did you enjoy most, and which ones stressed you the heck out? Do more of the enjoyable activities and less of the stressful ones this year!
2. Use a Calendar to Stay on Track
You can’t properly plan your holiday season without a calendar. There are simply too many activities, events, and things to do for you to try to remember them all in your head. Instead of relying on memory, try using a calendar to stay on track this year!
You can use a calendar to:
- Schedule events such as parties and dinners
- Remind yourself to stop by the grocery store to buy ingredients for your holiday meals
- Record any deadlines you may have for charitable donations
- Schedule family activities and/or traditions such as buying a Christmas tree or baking cookies
- Set a deadline for mailing Christmas cards
The holidays can be a whirlwind, so it’s much easier to keep track of everything using a calendar.
3. Plan Ahead for Events
Now is a good time to start thinking about any events, parties, activities, or dinners you have planned between now and Christmas. Think about menus, decorations, shopping lists, guest lists, gifts, etc.
Here are a few to keep in mind:
- Thanksgiving menu and shopping list. Take inventory of your kitchen and begin stocking up on any nonperishable ingredients you’ll need for your Thanksgiving meal.
- Holiday baking and shopping list. Stock up on any baking ingredients you’ll need so you can make special treats whenever the mood strikes.
- Holiday parties. Make a list for food, decorations, guests, and anything else you’ll need for the party.
- Christmas menu and shopping list. Sometime after Thanksgiving, take another inventory of your kitchen and restock any nonperishable ingredients you’ll need for your Christmas meal.
4. Set Your Holiday Budget
It’s easy to go overboard with your spending around the holidays, especially when you see all the pretty gifts and decorations lining the store shelves. That’s where a holiday budget comes in handy! It helps you decide ahead of time how much you want to spend (or how much you can afford to spend) and where you want to spend it.
Seriously, making a holiday budget is the only way I can stay on track. I’m not usually a big-time spender, but all bets are off when it comes to the holidays! I just want to buy every pretty thing I see, whether that be gifts or food!
When making your holiday budget, be sure to account for things like food, decorations, gifts, wrapping supplies, charitable giving, and travel. It’s easy to forget the little things like tissue paper and tape, so make sure you save room in your budget for those kinds of items.
Related: How to Create Your Christmas Budget
5. Create a Gift List
If you’re like most people, the holiday season inevitably means shopping for gifts. Rather than accidentally forgetting someone, start making a list of the people you plan to shop for. Think friends, family, coworkers, etc.
It’s also a good idea to decide up front how much you plan to spend on each person so you don’t accidentally overspend this season. It’s hard to resist buying all the pretty gifts once you see them, so having a predetermined spending cap is a good way to stay on budget.
6. Get Your Home Ready for Events and Guests
I don’t know how it is for you, but the holidays always tend to bring an assortment of guests to my home even though I don’t host any official holiday events. And while I do a pretty good job of keeping my home presentable 99% of the time (well, except for the cat fur tumbleweeds that always seem to appear out of nowhere), it is nice to do an official holiday cleaning to get my home ready for visitors.
If you need help tidying your home for the holidays, then be sure to read this post:
7. Plan Some Time Just for Yourself
With all the cooking, planning, socializing, and shopping that I know you’ll be doing from now until Christmas, it’s essential that you set aside some time specifically for yourself this holiday season. Even if you only have fifteen minutes at the end of the day, be sure to schedule some down time in your calendar so you can unwind and relax.
There’s no better way to deplete your Christmas joy than by running yourself ragged trying to do everything under the sun for everyone but yourself. Take a step back and put yourself first for just a little while so you can recharge your batteries. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. If you run yourself dry, you won’t be able to give your best to the people around you.
Related: 29 Ways to De-Stress Right Now
Free Printable Holiday Planner 2018
I know these tips will help you prepare for the holiday season so you can actually enjoy it without feeling stressed or overwhelmed. And that’s exactly why I created a holiday planner so you can have some pretty printables to help you plan out everything from your Thanksgiving menu to your holiday budget!
With this planner you can:
- Set your priorities
- Schedule your time
- Plan your holiday menus and shopping lists
- Create your holiday budget
- Make your gift list
- Clean your home using my handy Holiday-Ready Home checklist
- and more!
With 24 printable pages in a two-tone red color scheme, I just know you’ll love my holiday planner as much as I do!
You can download it here.
Wrapping It Up
Don’t let feelings of stress and overwhelm rob you of your joy this holiday season. I promise that the holidays can be enjoyable when you’re prepared and have a plan. So get a head start and prepare for the holidays using these tips along with my free printable holiday planner. You’ll be glad you did!
Other Posts You May Enjoy
- Holiday Planner 2018: Free Printables to Simplify the Holidays
- Christmas Gift Ideas to Fit Your Budget
- Read This Before You Buy a Flocked Christmas Tree
- Christmas Gifts on a Budget: How to Save Money on Christmas Gifts
What about you? How do you normally prepare for the holiday season?
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