Christmas is just around the corner. As the song goes it is my favorite time of the year. There is so much to get excited about, but with that can also come a lot of stress and feeling overwhelmed. There is a lot of pressure associated with pulling off a spectacular holiday for your family. Busy moms deserve to have an amazing stress free December with their family. The key to making things go smoother for me is to have a plan of action and be organized several days or weeks before the event actually occurs. I am not good at waiting until the last minute to throw something together. Here are some tips that I have found helpful to make my December more enjoyable.
Tips to An Organized December
- Decide what Charities and groups you will help early on. There are lots of opportunities to help others around the holidays. Our family is very involved with a group called PIN (People In Need). It helps the homeless community get back on their feet. My husband has been a huge part of this charity for quite some time. Although we help them year round, we have also made it our family Christmas project. We save toiletries all year and then make care packages to hand out at Christmas to the homeless shelter. If you don’t know of someone personally in need or don’t have a charity you can always give to Toys for Tots or the Angel Tree.
- Make your lists and shop early– I try to make my master shopping list in late October and get a jump on my shopping in early November. I like to have the majority of it done by early December so I can actually enjoy December. I love for family members to give me a list of items they would like to receive. This makes my job a lot easier and my family gets what they want. I even keep my kid’s lists each year and we have fun looking back at the letters they wrote. It’s fun to see what they wrote to Santa when they were younger and what kinds of things they asked for each year. If you can shop early, I would say that is the one thing that could save you from being overwhelmed in late December.
- You can’t do EVERYTHING in December if you want to stay sane- You have to learn to say No. There are certain events that you just are not going to be able to attend if you want to do what’s best for your family. This one took me a while to get a grip on. There are so many extra events and parties between Thanksgiving and Christmas that you just want to cram everything in. Well that’s when the bad moods and meltdowns are going to occur. Stick to your family traditions that you enjoy and are a “must do” and a couple of other events. Say NO to the rest. Then you will have time to get your list done.
- Get your family traditions scheduled on the calendar ASAP- There are things my family does each year that we want to continue doing. Some things need reservations and if I’m not on the ball prior to the Thanksgiving break then we are out of luck. One year, I was too late on setting up the brunch reservation at the place we eat each year. We get dressed up and go to the hotel and look at all the holiday decor around the property. It was completely booked on every Sunday in December by the time I remembered to call. You would have thought I had boycotted Christmas the way my kids acted. But you can guarantee I will never forget to book that brunch because my family loves it so much. It is just part of what we do in December that makes it Christmas to us.
- Wrap your gifts as you buy them- Wrapping your gifts as you purchase them can really keep you organized. Sometimes I actually forget what I have already purchased or lose small things like gift cards or jewelry. Keeping the gifts wrapped as I go gets them out of my closet and under the tree. I also use different paper for each child so it’s easier to pass out gifts on Christmas morning. Plus they like choosing their paper each year.
- Finish your Christmas Cards Early– This is a hard task for me each year. I don’t want to leave it until the middle of December. I really have to start thinking of this in October or my photographer will be booked. I try to have him take the pictures and do a custom card for us. It is just easier for me and I always love what he does. However, Minted offers such great cards and prices that you can create something amazing to show off your family to your friends. I like to start addressing them by Thanksgiving break and send them in early December.
- Make all special gifts for teachers, neighbors, and party hosts early- Get your ideas and supplies together for gifts you need to make for the special people in your life. When my kids were younger we used to make DIY gifts for their teachers, bus drivers, and our wonderful neighbors. It was fun to get them involved in the process. We would throw some Christmas music on and get in the crafting zone. They took pride that the gift came from them and the teachers always loved something personal. Of course it always came with a gift card. Come on…. I’m a former teacher so I know what teachers like… There are only so many coffee mugs full of candy you can get in a season. But it’s the thought that counts.
- Try to Shop during the week or online if you can- Shopping online saves so much time and you don’t have to go out and be bothered by the crowds. Most sites are offering free shipping now so look for those deals. Also try to search for coupons prior to your shopping. Most sites will actually have coupon codes that you can print out to take to the stores. It’s worth a couple minutes to do a quick search.
Do you have any tips that could help us save time and money this holiday? Leave a comment below. I am always interested in learning something new. Christmas is my favorite time of year and I would love to get through it with the least amount of stress as possible.