…and checking it twice. Fact: There are 121 days left until Christmas! Can you believe that?! That means you’ve let over half of the year slip by without planning for the longest (and largest) holiday season of the year. Okay, so maybe the situation isn’t quite as dire as I make it sound, but, as crazy as it may seam, it’s not too early to start marking things off your “Christmas to-do list”! I’ve been in a major list-making mode this past week and (as crazy and obsessive as it may sound) ventured to make a list of some things I want to get done over the next month to gear up for Christmas. Seeing as how I’m pretty positive there are some fellow serious list-makers out there, I thought it’d be fun to share my list of to-do’s to make our Christmas season a little more jolly…
01 / Start shopping. Spacing out Christmas shopping over the next few months will be much easier on your wallet than buying everything between Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Buying even just 2 or 3 gifts every month will keep budgeting easy and cut down on the usual hustle and bustle of the Christmas shopping season. Every time you buy a gift, put them in a designated area (I keep ours in the guest room closet). If you tend to have a bad memory (like I sometimes do) stick a post-it on the item to remind yourself who it’s for.
02 / Wrap it up. Go ahead and wrap any presents you buy. Leave the bows off and add them when it’s time to put the gifts under the tree so they’ll look crisp and freshly wrapped. You can find Christmas wrapping paper around this time of year online – at some really great prices too. Pre-wrapping your presents will save you a ton of time as long as you’re diligent about labeling them as to who they go to and what they are. Otherwise, your presents might be as much a surprise to you as your friends and family.
03 / Start preparing the house now. We’re not talking about cleaning, necessarily; just minor repairs and enhancements. Focus on the rooms your guests will spend the most time in, like the guest bedroom(s), the living room and the kitchen. If you have dents, nicks, or scratches to fix, or even minor enhancements you’d like to make to these rooms, now is the time to get them done. Slowly but surely, you can get everything looking picture perfect before they arrive.
04 / Be the first to make travel arrangements. Ticket prices aren’t the only reason to make your plans for travel now rather than four months from now. As the holidays approach, you’re going to find it harder and harder to make plans that fit into everyone’s schedules. By scheduling now, you’re sure to be the first person on anybody’s calendar.
05 / Make your list. While I’m not typically a big fan of “Christmas lists”, sometimes it’s nice to be able to point to a place where your significant other can check out reasonably and a few not-so-reasonably-priced items (just for fun) on my Christmas wish list. We found MyRegistry.com when we were moving into our house. We had a lot of family members ask us what we wanted/needed for the house. It’s always kind of awkward — you know what I mean? My mom asked us to make a “wish list” and after a little Google search, we found MyRegistry.com. And I have to say, it’s a pretty cool website. You can add items from any website and make notes about color, quantity, size, etc. or even where you plan on using it in the house. One major perk about MyRegistry.com is you can put a password on your list so you can share it with family members and close friends only. Greg and I have ended up making our own individual lists for each other to work off of – since I have dubbed him the “hardest person in the world to shop for”. It makes shopping a little easier and fun too.
06 / What’s Aunt Martha’s new address? This shouldn’t take too much time, but when the Christmas season hits, your time becomes even more valuable. Take a few minutes to make up a Christmas card list and talk to the people on that list to make sure you have their current address. If you’re a bit embarrassed to call your long-lost relatives and tell them you have no idea where they are now or how they got there, just call mom. She’s a mom and she’s bound to have the down low on where and why. Btw, I don’t have an Aunt Martha.
07 / Get the party started. On top of presents and travel, you need to think about Christmas parties! Let’s face it: Parties are expensive. By planning out your Christmas party now (or parties, if you’re a real party animal), you can be on the look out for things that will complete your party theme. Like I said before, you can make budgeting your Christmas season much easier by spreading out the cost of your party over the next 5-6 months. Like the Christmas presents, keep all of your party supplies in a designated area so you don’t loose track of them between now and then.
08 / Pick a family, any family. Along the same lines as travel, you might want to go ahead and start discussing with your significant other whose family you’re going to spend Christmas with. That way, when your family starts asking who you’re going to spend Christmas with, you’ll have an answer and explanation ready to go.
09 / Prepare to deck the halls! Take a little time to do an inventory of your decorations. The sooner you know what you have, the sooner you can start designing your tree and general decor. That way, when you see a cool decoration or ornament, you can grab it up, knowing it’s going to go great with your overall style. Also, while you’ve got a few of the Christmas boxes down from the attic, take a few minutes to make sure the lights work. There’s nothing worse than getting your whole tree or worse, your whole house, covered in lights, then realizing half of them don’t work. #beentheredonethat
10 / Create a savings plan. As a final tip, try your best to set aside a few dollars every paycheck as a Christmas fund. Vacations, presents, and parties, no matter how well you plan them, can still end up costing more than you’d expect. If you’ve set a few bucks aside, you’ll have less to worry about in the long run and have a credit-free Christmas.
Do you have any helpful tip to add to the list? Share it with us in the comment section…