Are you ready for Christmas yet? I know it’s still November and we still have Thanksgiving to celebrate. I also know that I love Christmas and am one of those people who plans for Christmas all year long. This Christmas, I realized that I needed to be more intentional with my planning than ever before because getting ready for Christmas as pregnant mom with a busy 20 month old is a new challenge for me!
I started thinking through all the things I normally do to get ready for Christmas and realized there were quite a few things I could now to get ready for Christmas early. The sooner you start organizing yourself for Christmas, the smoother the month of December passes. Isn’t that what we all want? We all want to be able to enjoy Christmas with our families. Let’s make that our goal by crossing a couple things off our to-do lists now.
Here are a couple ways to get ready for Christmas early.
1. Make your Christmas shopping list now. Let’s start simple. Sit down and write your list of the people for whom you want to buy presents. Now, be realistic. What is your budget for gifts? Do you really need to buy presents for everyone on your list? Take some time to really think through your list. Include everyone you have thought of and decide if you are buying or making a gift for them.
2. Look through your gift closet and discover what Christmas gifts you have already bought. If you’re like me, you shop year round for good deals that your family would enjoy. Look through the closet where you have stashed all those gifts and rediscover what you already have on hand – and for whom. Maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised that you are already finished shopping for one or two people on your list. If you haven’t started shopping yet, there’s no better time to start than now! (And next January, you can start really early by shopping year round too!)
3. Email / call / text your family and ask for gift ideas. Whether you have started shopping or not, it’s time to start getting ideas. Send out a quick email asking for gift ideas or suggestions. Don’t wait until the second week of December to do this! Do it now because the Christmas sales start earlier every year. Once you have some ideas, start looking! I’m a big fan of Amazon shopping and watch the deals closely in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
4. Buy Christmas stamps. It’s a little thing but think how nice it will be to avoid the post office when it starts getting really busy! Buy stamps for your Christmas letter or just to send those couple Christmas cards. Either way, buy the stamps now and cross that off your list. Bonus points if you go ahead and get your Christmas cards ready for the mail early, too!
5. Look at your December calendar and start filling in dates. This is a big one because December can get busy very quickly! I know we already have at least one party on our calendar. This year, I got smart and scheduled our annual Christmas piano recital back in October so all the parents could put it on their calendar early. We are all glad we did! You might decide to print off a simple December calendar and put it on your fridge so everyone can reference it. If you use a digital calendar, make sure you keep it updated. Don’t forget to schedule any special family events (like driving around to look at the lights) if you really want to make it happen.
6. Double one or two of your meals and freeze them for those busy December evenings. I’m a big believer in using your freezer to your advantage and the holidays are a time when it can really come in handy. There will be those busy nights (even with filling in your calendar early) where there won’t be much time to put dinner on the table. If you have a meal in the freezer or cooking in the crock pot, you’ll have one less thing to worry about – which is always good! (If you’re looking for a good one, this 5 ingredient Mexican chicken is one of my favorite crock pot recipes.)
7. Bake a batch of Christmas cookies and put them in the freezer. Let’s make our last item a fun one! Go ahead and start your Christmas baking now. Did you know that most Christmas cookies will freeze wonderfully? I know this because my freezer is one of my best time saving friends. Make a list of the Christmas treats you like to make each year and bake one of this weekend. Bonus points (again) if it is one of your more time-consuming recipes now. If you want to free up even more time in December, make a plan to bake one new Christmas cookie each week from now until Christmas and store them in the freezer. I tend to make at least 3 or 4 batches of buckeyes over the Christmas season so those are on my freezer list already this month.
If you are looking for more practical ideas to help you get ready for Christmas, I highly recommend Kathi Lipp’s new book, Get Yourself Organized for Christmas: Simple Steps to Enjoying the Season (affiliate link). Kathi includes 21 tasks that you can accomplish (one a day) to get you ready for the Christmas season – well ahead of time! I think November or even late October is the perfect time to read this book and get organized.
We all want to enjoy Christmas so let’s do it by crossing a couple things off our list now so we can slow down and enjoy the season! Doesn’t that sound nice? What else can you do now to help you get ready for Christmas early?