10 Holiday Planning Tips

As much as I was still pretending it was summer, the snow in the air today convinced me that it is time to put away the flip flops, tank tops, and shorts and start focusing on the fun aspects of Fall and Winter–the holidays of course! Here are my top ten holiday tips to ensure a happy, festive, stress free time!

1. Come Up With a Game Plan
One of the best things you can do to ensure holiday success and not stress is to sit down and make a plan. Give yourself deadlines for each item on your list–when do you want all the gifts ordered by? When should you have them all shipped to make sure they get to everyone on time? When in your schedule works best for family pictures? By having dates planned out and then entered in your calendar (whether paper or digital) you can approach everything in orderly manner.

2. Make a Spreadsheet

Something I’m doing this year that is a great idea is to make a spreadsheet for everyone’s gifts. I created an easy spreadsheet in Google docs that has the name of the person, the idea of the Christmas gift, a column for if it’s purchased, one for if it’s wrapped, one for if it’s shipped, and a column for price. This helps me right now as I browse and brainstorm for gifts, and then helps me keep track of what I need to do next with each persons gift. This will also be great for keeping us in budget! If you’re the kind of person who buys gift throughout the year this would be invaluable as it would help you keep straight what you’ve actually purchased! If you’d like to see how this works out step by step and how to create your own check out this post: Budget Guide for Holiday Shopping

3. Schedule Pictures
Unless you want to be scrambling on Facebook last minute to see which one of your pictures you could possibly use for a Christmas Card I highly suggest getting your family pictures taken in October!

4. Order around discounts
If you start early enough you should be able to purchase most your gifts and most definitely your Christmas Cards at a discounted rate! Many of the businesses already have all their Christmas cards available and offer up to 50% off in months like October. I especially LOVE this design from Storkie.com!

5. Use a Menu Planner
I have been using the FlyLady holiday menu guide since I got married and it is AMAZING! It helps me know when to buy groceries, what to do in the days leading up to Thanksgiving/Christmas for the meal, and walks me step by step on cooking the huge feast the day of. I have been able to cook delicious feasts for my family thanks to it!

6. Ship Early
To avoid the crazy not fun Post Office lines in December ship your gifts early! One thing that I love to do is to ship my gift directly to the person it is for if I order it online. I usually ask someone else if they will wrap and give it to them, and allow them to do the same with gifts for my family. Shipping is so expensive it just seems silly to pay it twice!

7. Get Creative
Many of my friends have expressed not knowing what to do with all the photo cards people send them. I always make a collage of them either on our fridge or on a wall, then afterwords I have a photo album (one of the ones with the sticky back pages) that I put them all in. It’s great to have hard copy photos of all our friends!

8. Start traditions
In order to make putting out decorations fun and not a hassle make a tradition out of it. Pick a day every year to get them out and make an event of it, make h0t chocolate, put on festive music, bake some goodies, and have the whole family help!

9. Sit back and relax!
In the week leading up to Christmas if you’ve done all of the above you should be able to just sit back and do fun things like watching favorite movies, playing in the snow, and baking!

10. Hit the sales
Once Christmas is over hit up the after Christmas sales. You can find Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, gift tags, and gift sets like perfume extremely discounted. Take advantage of this and stock up for the following year, it’ll be one less thing to deal with 12 months later!

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

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