Wednesday, October 5, 2011

10 Holiday Planning Tips

October is one of my favorite months. There’s so much to do! Fall festivals, pumpkin patches, playing in the leaves. I just love it. The only downside is that it seems like once October hits, time goes on fast forward and it’s suddenly Mid-December and I’m not prepared for anything.

So I thought that now would be a good time to start getting ready for the holiday season. Anything I do now will only save me work later, right? I’ve thought of 10 tips (or really, goals if I’m being honest) to help me (and you) get ready for the holidays.

1. Budget. If you haven’t already figured out what you are going to spend this holiday season, time is of the essence! Figuring out what price range you would like to stay in can really help you narrow down the list of things you’re going to get. Don’t just budget for gifts- think about the cookies and goodies you’ll be making, any entertaining you may do.

2. Make your list and check it twice. This goes along with budgeting, but once you have your price range it will help to list all the people you are buying or making gifts for. Don’t forget teachers, friends, class gift exchanges, or secret Santa exchanges. Having a list ahead of time will help you avoid last minute trips to the store to get the gifts you overlooked.

3. Add to your grocery list. Holiday meals can add up, especially if you’re the one entertaining. Start thinking about what you make for your holiday meals and pick up a few extra things as you grocery shop now. If you know you’ll be making green bean casserole, then get extra green beans and set them aside for the holidays. It’d help to have a designated “holiday food” spot in the pantry (if you have the room) so that you can keep track of what you’ve got.  Consider donations to food pantries as well when shopping.

4. Order your cards early. I am one that always has such great intentions when it comes to sending out holiday cards just to have to rush to mail them out in time to get them by New Year’s. has a great selection of cards to choose from. I love the one below because it shows you don’t have to wait for snow or put on matching PJ’s to send out a great holiday card. The photo from a family vacation is really sweet and shares a memory with others!

5. Start making gifts. If you plan to get crafty and make some (or all) of the gifts you give, the sooner you start working on them the better. This way you can find out if something does not work with plenty of time to figure out a backup plan. It will also prevent you from rushing at the last moment to get things ready. If you haven’t thought about making gifts, check out some of the projects on There are so many ideas that you may be inspired to try one out!

6. Bake bake bake. If you plan to make a lot of holiday cookies and goodies, you may want to start your baking a little early. You can freeze the dough for many cookies, or even freeze the baked cookies and thaw them out when you expect company. Making pies and casseroles ahead of time can also help alleviate some stress later.

7. Switch up your wardrobe. Right now in Indiana the weather is indecisive. It is pretty chilly one week and warmer the next. Even so, switching to a fall and winter wardrobe right now would be easier than trying to fit that in during the chaos of the holidays. I talked about my tote system before; I keep off season and larger sizes on hand in totes so that I can easily swap over as needed. If you do it now you can also see if you need new dressy clothes, if tights have seen better days, or if shoes are outgrown. Keep a few items that you can layer in the drawers until the weather has transitioned to cold. 

8.  Clean out the clutter. The holidays seem to just make everything in my house multiply. It would help a lot to start clearing clutter now so that when they arrive I am not completely overwhelmed by stuff. If you don’t need it, donate it. Go through the kid’s toys as well to make room for the haul to come. Also, I think “less is more” when it comes to decorating, because remember everything you put out- you’ll have to eventually take down.

9. Make a holiday calendar. Every December we make a “countdown” to Christmas and do something festive daily until Christmas Day. They range from “build a snowman” to “watch a Christmas movie with popcorn” and are a really fun way to keep the Christmas fun going for a whole month. Think of things you’d like to do with your family and talk with your kids about what they’d like to do this year. 

10. Be flexible. All these plans can be really helpful. You may cut stress out and feel like you’re ahead of the game for once. You also may find that even with the best of intentions things start to fall apart. That’s okay! You’re not a failure and the holidays were meant to be enjoyed, so if the plans don’t work- change them and move on. Don’t get too wrapped up in the itinerary that you forget to enjoy time with your family. 

I wrote this blog post while participating in the Storkie holiday blogging program. I received compensation for my participation. All opinions are 100% mine.

1 comment:

  1. Love this list! Thanks!

    I love planning for the holidays and it seems to make them go a little smoother, but you're right, Even things don't go as planned, don't sweat it!


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