55 days until Christmas!!
I know you kind of want to kill me right now. Holidays? Seriously? We haven’t even gotten past Halloween yet! I’m with you. Really, I am. But hear me out on this. What if there were a few easy things you could incorporate into your days now that would save you mega stress down the line?
Ever since becoming a mom, the holidays have become more magical, but also a whole lot more hectic. There just isn’t enough time in the day! So, I’ve learned that getting a head start on certain areas of holiday planning saves me from feeling frantic on December 20th (or, you know, less frantic).
1. Shopping List
Make a list and check it twice! Take a few minutes to jot down everyone you plan to buy a gift for this holiday season and begin brainstorming gift ideas. Start with the easier ones (hello, gift cards!) and then you are left with just a handful (or fewer) of people who you have time to give some thought to. Speaking of those gift cards, start grabbing a few now. When I stop into Starbucks or Dunkin, I pick up one or two cards to add to my stockpile of teacher gifts, and I plan to grab a restaurant gift card when I take my family out to eat this weekend. Not only does it help with the last minute gift scramble and save me from going out of my way come December, but spreading out the purchases is great for cash-flow purposes as well…if you know what I mean!
2. Holiday Cards
Holiday cards have got to be in the top 3 of holiday stressors. Between all the addressing, stuffing, and getting that perfect picture (OMG, is there anything more torturous than photo sessions with young children?! I’ve left in tears…) there is just not enough spiked hot cocoa in the world. But, if you give your self a little extra breathing room, you might find the process a touch more enjoyable. Ordering your cards now lets you take advantage of some fantastic early-bird discounts – I got my cards 50% off this year! And, addressing 5 or 10 cards a week is far less overwhelming then 50 in one night. Another great way to save on the stress is forgoing the typical family photo card. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing the smiling faces of my family and friends in my mailbox, but there are plenty of other adorable, personalized ideas out there. I’m loving the fingerprint family card trend I’ve seen on Pinterest. Or, how about using some of the artwork your kids are pumping out by the tons? So cute!!
We all know how insane November and December can get between train rides, concerts, work parties, get-togethers with friends, shopping trips, and the holidays themselves. Do yourself a favor and sit down with the calendar now and schedule in some breaks. Maybe it’s in the form of booking an afternoon massage, blocking off an entire weekend for nothing but mellow family time, working in a volunteer activity, or scheduling a babysitter for an afternoon so you have time set aside for the shopping, wrapping, and various other prep work. Having a moment to breathe helps me to put the insanity into perspective and re-focus on what is truly magical and special about the holiday season.
Good luck my friends! Wishing you all a holiday prep that includes more smiles than tears! (Wine helps.)
And if you need a hand getting reading for that holiday party, don’t miss these great tips from a Hostess with the Mostess!