Everyone knows that Christmas falls on December 25th every single year. But it seems that many people procrastinate and panic while others are calm and organized. How can it be that such a busy holiday as Christmas is calm for some people? Here are a few tips and tricks to make your holidays less stressful.
On the 25th of each month mark on your calendar a chore that you can do to prep for Christmas that won’t be a waste of time later in the year. This includes things like buying stamps for Christmas cards, addressing Christmas cards, making crafts, making baked goods and such. Only you know what can and needs to be done well ahead of time to take the stress out of your holiday.
When buying birthday gifts for special people throughout the year, pick up their Christmas gift at the same time. This way you have one specific person on your mind and will pick a better gift. Also, you won’t have to lay out the cost for another gift at the end of the year when money starts to get tight.
Have a gift closet in your home. It doesn’t have to be the whole closet, you can use just a shelf, a tote, a chest, an unused dresser, or even a cardboard box in the basement. It doesn’t matter what you use as long as you can get all of the gifts to that location and keep them hidden, if need be. This way gifts aren’t tucked away in many places and you forgot where you put them when it’s time to wrap. Keep a binder that tells what you have already purchased and gifts that you are looking for.
When it comes to wrapping paper and you are hitting the after-Christmas sales, look for paper in solid colors. If you only purchase solid colors you can use them all year long as you need them. You can also buy embellishments, ribbons and tags to bring out the festive in the gift. You can use last years Christmas card fronts for decoration. Depending on the sizes of the card and gift, you can use a glue stick to glue the card front to the gift for a nice picture. Or if you only want to use part of the card front, cut out the part you want and use it for a tag. You can cut up last years Christmas cards in January and pack them away with the wrapping paper so they are ready to be used.
If you love making crafts for gifts you know that time is precious. A year sounds like a long time until you realize it’s already Halloween and you haven’t even thought about what you want to make yet. Get ideas and write them down in a notebook year round. While shopping the after-Christmas sales, make a stop at your craft store and pick up holiday items on clearance. This will allow you to not only save some money but also have the items you need on hand. Mark some time on your calendar each week or month to check your progress on your crafts. Only you will know what your progress needs to be depending on your lifestyle, amount of time you have to devote to crafts, what crafts you are making and how many. But mark it early and you will have a weekly or even monthly reminder to check on you.
If you like to give perishable gifts, try to go with something that can be stored for a period of time. Things like jellies and jams can be canned and put on a shelf for most of the year. Breads and most baked goods can be frozen for a few months. If these are things you like to give, mark it on your calendar when to start so that you will be done with your gifts by the time the Thanksgiving turkey is gone.
Christmas cards are an easy thing to get out of the way early. You can buy the stamps in September so that cost won’t affect your budget as much. If you picked up the cards at the after-Christmas sale last December you saved yourself some money there too. By October you should be signing your cards and addressing your envelopes. If you have people who move often or you know they will be moving soon, just write their name on the envelope and address it when you are putting the stamp on it. You don’t have to seal them yet. Set them in a basket on your desk or somewhere you see them often. This will allow you to be able to go back into the cards and write a personal note to the recipient. Don’t worry if not everyone gets a personal note written in theirs. Then on December 1st you will be able to seal all of the cards, put stamps on them and drop them off at the post office. Keep a separate address book just for Christmas cards. This way you know who you sent them to and who you are receiving cards from each year. Also, while you are receiving your cards, check the address against what you have and update any changes that need to be made to your address book.
If you don’t like to bake but love the Christmas goodies that only come out once a year, find someone who is hosting a cookie exchange. This way you can make only one type of cookie or dessert and bring home a large variety of things. If you really can’t bake, ask the hostess if should would be willing to co-host. This would mean you bring the drinks, cups and plates while she bakes goodies for you.
Being organized for Christmas really comes down to knowing what you need and making time to get it all done. Sometimes it just takes the simple task of writing down a reminder in our calendar all year long.