It may only be October but that means there is only 9 weeks until Christmas. Before you lose your mind and start running around in circles (with your hands in the air) think about all the pre-planning you can do now. Okay, are you better. Good. That’s why I always try to plan and prepare as much as possible before the beginning of October. I love to make homemade gifts and decorations and getting an early start in important for my sanity. Here are the 10 thing to do now to prepare for the holidays.
10 things to do now to prepare for the holidays
- Set a budget: Setting a budget should be and is # 1 for a good reason. In my family I have 20 people to buy for. YES 20! I don’t usually buy gifts for the adults any more but rather make them something homemade. That leaves my 8 nieces and nephews to shop for. I set my budget at about $25.00 for kids under 10 and $50.00 for over 10 (aunt Lizzy only buys clothing). That means that I spend around $275.00 for all of them. The adults I budget about $10-$20 per couple. All total I spend about $500.00 for the whole lot of them. I do not use credit cards! Try to buy a gift card every month for $50.00 starting in January so you will have the money saved by October.
- Start homemade gifts: Over the past few years I have been making nothing but homemade gifts for all the adults on my list (a family cookbook, homemade no. 2 spray, homemade ginger syrup and a family birthday calendar). If you plan on making something like homemade vanilla or need extra time to make a family birthday calendar, starting now will make you life so much easier!
- Making DIY decorations: Seems like I always get into the habit of trying to make these too close to the actual holiday and then don’t have time to enjoy them. Wether you are making a centerpiece for your Thanksgiving day table or maybe a spooky wreath for your front door; all of the tools and supplies are on sale now. Just so happens that I decided to make a DIY plaid Christmas tree skirt (future post) and used the scraps to make some awesome art for the fireplace mantel inspired by a post I found on Pinterest by saltandpeppermoms.blogspot.com. My version shown below.
- Gather contact information for gifting, cards and invites: Okay I’ll admit it now…I’m the worst at sending Christmas cards. You know why? Because I don’t even think about them until a week before Christmas. This year I am making an effort to not only send them out early but also have a fun “Pajama and Pizza” Christmas party for all of the wonderful kids (and adults) in my life. Here is the invitation I came up with as well as a handy Christmas card list.
- Plan family and friend outings: I LOVE THE HOLIDAYS! There are so many great activities and festivals going on starting at the end of September through the end of December that you would be silly not to plan now. Not only are the holidays coming but my mom’s 60th birthday and my father in law’s 70th birthday. We are going to be super busy so planning is the only way to ensure we don’t go crazy. Here is the calendar for Portland and the surrounding areas. Check it out. There are tons of things to plan for in the near future.
- Make the gift list: Having 20 people to buy for has its pit falls. The kids all growing so fast that I am constantly trying to contact their parents to ask about sizes. I made this gift list that works wonders for me. Make sure to ask the kids what they want directly. I only buy clothing for the kids. Sometimes I buy articles of clothing that their parents won’t. Tee hee!
- Start buying gifts now: No, it’s never to early to start shopping. I would love to wait for black Friday, but not having a job has limited my budget to the max. I have been shopping since the back to school sales and have almost bought everything for the kiddo’s. YES (fist pump)! Try using this handy gift list and this Black Friday shopping list.
- Make a wish list for yourself: Okay, this one is a little self-centered but guess what…you are important! I may only get one thing on my list but it makes me feel good looking for things that I want and don’t need. It’s really just a little retail therapy for yourself but it’s fun. Trust me, try it. Amazon has a great wish list area that you can make private or public.
- Prep your house: Use these last few partly sunny weeks to get all the spider webs off your porch. Weatherize the doors and fix any leaks you might have in the gutters. Sounds weird? No. Doing these things now will mean that you don’t have to worry about them when the wild winter weather hits. A clean chimney and clean gutters means fewer headaches for you during the holidays.
- Take a look at your decorations: Last but not least. Pull out all your holiday decor. Maybe you were so burnt out last year that you put your broken menorah away or old frosty lost his arm? I am super guilty of this one. Take out all your decorations and asses if you need new lights, candles, tree skirts or tree’s. On black friday you’ll be ready to go buy those items that need replacing.
Bonus tip: If you are not already an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial right before Black Friday. That way you get free 2 day shipping and also have access to the members only deals on Black Friday and cyber Monday!