Christmas, it will be here before you know it. While it may seem a bit premature to start christmas planning, it’s never too early to start. Having a plan will keep you organized.
There are decorations to put up, parties to attend, cards to order and mail, and much more. The list seems never-ending and you wonder if you’ll get it all done or forget to do something.
It doesn’t take long anymore before Christmas music starts playing and the decorations are in the store. The season seems to start earlier every year. Thank goodness for Halloween because I’m sure everything would start in September if it could 🙂
The past few years we have had everything up before Thanksgiving. It sounds crazy when I say it out loud but we’ve enjoyed having it up because it gets us into the Holiday spirit.
I look back on Christmas’s we had as a kid and they were great. We usually went to visit family. I have so many memories. I can tell you the food we ate and the activities we did. From all of the Christmas’s we had as a kid, I only remember one toy we got and it was the Game Boy, I just aged myself;)
That year, myself and my sister only had one present under the Christmas tree and they were exactly the same. I remember the anticipation of trying to figure it out, we didn’t have a clue as to what it was.
Thinking of the Holidays as a kid puts it in perspective. While it’s fun giving our kids gifts and watching their faces, how many gifts they get are they really going to remember?
Mom guilts falls hard on me during Christmas, I want to give them what they asked for. I feel bad when I don’t do it. I want them to have this amazing childhood with great memories but perfection doesn’t exist.
There is an alternative, I could buy them everything they want and end up with a house full of stuff. But what will that teach them? Plus, there’s more to now organize.
Mailing out Christmas cards can be stressful, it’s a process. You have to pick out the right picture then selecting the card, get them ordered, address them and go to the post office to mail them out.
Trying to be supermom
Every year there’s this pressure to be super mom and get it all done without having help. You’re supposed to do “all the things.” Pinterest and Instagram add another layer of pressure and puts these picture perfect ideas in our head when it doesn’t exist.
Being rushed or stressed about something isn’t fun for anyone. You’re not your best self. You make mistakes, spending more money than you planned on or you snapped at your spouse. Mom guilt sets in.
A few years ago, we had traveled back to my hometown (Fargo, ND) for Christmas. There were all of these questions of when we were flying, what we were going to be doing and I decided to put together an agenda for everyone.
That agenda was one of the best things I ever did. It reduced my stress and gave answers to everyone as to when, where, and what we’d be doing.
After seeing how beneficial that was, I decided to expand on the Christmas agenda and put together a budget. We would spend the same amount every year but never had a budget on paper.
The Holiday season should be fun and enjoyable. Getting a plan in place will ultimately make it easier on everyone.
Christmas Planning Tips
Christmas Planning Tip #1 Write down everything you plan to do this Christmas
If you’ve ever planned anything, you know plans work when they are executed. Can you imagine having a wedding without a plan? I mean, you can do Vegas but you still have to have a plan to get there. Will it all go perfectly? Absolutely not but when you have a written guide that helps you.
When you plan out when you are putting up the decorations, you won’t keep putting it off for another night or day. You hold yourself accountable when you make a plan. Putting up Christmas decorations is exciting and should be fun.
If you have a family tradition or are looking to start a family tradition, write it down. Traditions are something we
Set a date on the calendar for the whole family to know when you’re going to do it, especially if you have young children because they love to help out. It will give the whole family something to look forward to.
There have been times where I’ve had something on my to-do list for over a week, I keep moving it to the next day. The second I plan it out and actually put it into my calendar it gets done.
Schedule out your days, it’s rigid but it works. Time Management keeps things running smoothly. Always give yourself more time than you think it will take so you have a good buffer in place.
Make a plan, work your plan.
Christmas Planning Tip #2 Minimize the amount of time on social media
It’s no secret the Holidays can be stressful. The key word is can because you have control over your stress and how you react to it all.
My stress level increases when I forget to do something. I usually forget to do something when I don’t have a plan.
When a plan isn’t in place, I make choices that aren’t the best. I eat more sweets and don’t sleep well. Sleep is important and lack of it can cause some bad decisions and bad decisions have consequences.
Social media adds to our stress because we get caught up in the comparison trap. Decide how much time you are going to spend on social media this year. Utilize the feature on your smartphone that sets a time limit for how long to be on social media.
Here are some other tips for social media:
- Don’t scroll your following feed, this really applies to Instagram. I’m talking about the feed where it shows what other pictures people have liked and commented. This helps keep you in your lane and not see what others are doing. Plus, you’ll spend less time on the app when you do this.
- Unfollow or mute posts. If you are following someone and it’s not inspiring you to be a better version of yourself unfollow them. There is also the mute feature where you don’t have to see anyone’s posts but can still follow them.
Viciously protect your social media feeds for yourself. It selfish but you’ll be happier when social media isn’t making you feel bad about yourself which ultimately can turn into stress.
You eat healthier, are happier, and get more done when you’re not stressed.
Christmas Planning Tip #3 Use services that will save you time
Time is something where we are all on the same playing field. No amount of power or money is going to buy you more. We all have the exact same amount of time as the CEO of Disney.
When a plan is in place, you save time because you’re not wasting time. Have you ever had a rushed day? It’s not a fun feeling and every task seems to be taking forever.
Plan out when you should pick out your Christmas cards and the last day they need to be in the mail. When you chose a day they have to be in the mail, you are giving yourself a deadline. Deadlines force us to get it done.
Use the online tools the companies offer, such as mailing out the cards for you. The first time you chose to have them mailed out for you, you will need to upload your address book so it will take a little bit longer. However, you’ve saved yourself time in the long run because next year it’s not going to take as long.
If you have a smartphone then it will be really easy for you because most companies have an app where you can upload everything directly from your phone.
There usually is an extra fee for this charge but it will save you more time than it’s worth doing it yourself.
We started doing this a few years ago and it’s been a game changer for us.
Christmas Planning Tip #4 Make a budget
Having a plan in place allows you to save more money. When you know what you’re going to buy and stick to your budget, you save money versus buying impulsively.
The Holiday season is a tough time to stick to a budget. We want to buy the best gifts for our friends and family. Giving is something we love (hopefully) and makes us feel good about ourselves.
It’s much easier to ignore the plan or budget because it’s your truth seeker and reminding you to stick to the plan.
Are you a spender or saver? I’m a saver, my husband is a spender. It’s a good balance because I don’t want to be cheap and there are times where he calls me out on it. At the same time, I’m able to reel him back in with “do we really need that?”
Even though I’m a saver, having a budget keeps me in check. It’s giving our money a plan versus our money telling us where to go and wondering what happened at the end of the month. There are free budgeting apps that will help you such as Mint and Every Dollar. We’ve used both and like them both for different reasons.
Mint automatically categories your purchases based on the store. Let’s say you get groceries at Walmart, at first the app will categorize it as shopping but once you change it to groceries, it automatically changes it to groceries for you. There’s less work when it comes to categorizing your purchases.
Every Dollar is less comprehensive and not as overwhelming as Mint. The app is easy to use.
There have been many times where I’ve been shopping and haven’t stuck to the plan. It felt good giving more than I planned but I also felt bad because it wasn’t in the budget.
Going away from the plan is a short-term fix that doesn’t give lasting results.
We’ve all made an impulsive purchase at some point in our lives. Whether it was large or small, it felt good at the time, not so good afterward. Keep your emotions in check when shopping and stick to the plan.
Christmas Planning Tip #5 Have fun and enjoy the process
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! While we hear that song on repeat, it really is true. There’s anticipation for what’s to come. Getting together with family and friends is fun because we are creating lasting memories.
If you have kids, there’s an added layer of excitement. Their excitement this time of year is hard to contain. Watching their faces is absolutely priceless.
If you’ve ever planned a wedding you know all the work that goes into it and as the dates of the events get closer the excitement builds. Christmas has the same type of build-up.
Putting a calendar together of the events for December builds up the excitement. Plan when you want to put up the decorations, shop for gifts, pick out the Christmas cards, and when you will wrap gifts.
Think like a CEO this Holiday season.
CEO’s have to make tough, important decisions while keeping the companies goals in front of their mind. They have deadlines to meet and want to keep their customers happy.
Focus on being happy this Holiday season. Write down what you want to accomplish. Create a plan that won’t put you into a deep hole come January.
As you can see, Christmas planning will save you time and money, reduce your stress and create excitement.
Get your Christmas plan on paper and make it your best, most efficient one yet.