photo from This And That Creative
I know, you are still trying to get your Halloween plans together, with the costumes and the parties, much less looking ahead to Christmas. But the craft stores have had their holiday wares up since the summer, so someone, somewhere is planning. Here are ten holiday tips to help get your Christmas motor running! Not Just A Mommy!
Make A List And Check It Twice
Grandmas the kids need to make gifts for...the White Elephant gift for your office party...the cookies for your neighbors...all those cards you need to send...there are a ton of things to keep track of during this time of year. Create a list so you can be picking up things while you are out and about instead of fighting through crowds in a few months.
Create A Budget
No one wants to start the New Year with a hefty credit card statement. Many of us tend to be generous when shopping for holiday gifts. Keep in mind that it is very easy to succumb to "impulse buying" and go all out on your holiday shopping.
Creating a budget will keep you mindful of your spending. Keep an eye out for sales on your big ticket items; I haven't done the madness of Black Friday shopping, I'm still in a food coma from Thanksgiving. This is where your list comes in handy. If money is an issue, consider giving homemade gifts instead of store-bought items. Baked goods, handmade crafts, or personal services you can provide are great ideas.
Order Your Christmas Stationery Now
Now that you've your list, cross one thing off, ordering your cards, party invitations, and mailing labels. Storkie has a fabulous selection of stylish Christmas cards, from photo cards and magnets, to my favorite, the Christmas Card Inventation featuring a gorgeous assortment of outer wraps and inner card styles. You choose the color combinations to create the design that perfectly fits your style and tastes.
Send Out Save The Dates For Holiday Parties ASAP
Calendars fill up fast during the holidays, let your invitees know your intentions now so they can put your party in there. Nothing sours your holiday mood like having people already committed to other functions. In fact, now is the time to send them out.
You Are Not A 4 Star Restaurant, Your Holiday Menus Need Not Be
From Thanksgiving through New Year's, there is al ot of eating going on. I love Thanksgiving because I can cook. I dread Christmas because I cannot bake. If it were only about cupcakes I would be a rock star. So I buy my cookies. Nothing wrong with that. Have a friend who bakes like Paula Deen? Ask her to make an extra batch of her world-famous rum cake for you. Can't cook at all? Host a holiday potluck! Plan the menu and ask everyone to bring what you need. Otherwise, you WILL end up with 10 trays of brownies.
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate!
Do not become a holiday martyr doing all of the cooking, cleaning and shopping. Is there a child at your elbow asking to help? Is there a friend hovering near by? Did your mother-in-law ask for the umpteenth time to bring her Yam-a-loaf? Take the help.
The Secret To A Kick A** Holiday Party...
Make the guests do all the work. Every year, I have a Christmas party with an awesome theme that secretly takes all the work off of me. Why put up crazy decorations when your guests come in festive wear (Ugly Sweater Party), store bought treats, (Santa's Mustache Bash) and bring all the gifts? (Ugly Sweater Party 2009)? Want them to help you decorate your tree? Have a Tree Trimming Party! Need treats for the season? Have a Cookie Exchange Party. This year, I'm planning a Gift Wrapping Party...no, they aren't wrapping my gifts...I wish. Have everyone bring over a few unwrapped gifts and make this Christmas chore a social event.
Just Say No
Don't holiday-party burnout. You do not have to attend every single event. Close friends and family, yes. The work party, yes. The weird couple down the block who you've hardly spoken to all year's open house, no.
After-Christmas Sales Are A Goldmine
Want to take stress off for next Christmas? Reserve a little money for those after-Christmas sales. Getting prepared now can save you a lot of time and money, which can be added to your Christmas budget next year. Stores want to move the Christmas items to make room for the Valentine's Day and Easter items, which I swear comes earlier and earlier every year.
It's All About Me
Holidays are a high-stress time and is all about goodwill towards others. But don't forget the most important person, you. Don't skip yoga class for a One-Day-Only-Sale. They lie. There will be another one. Don't neglect your weekly lunch break with Susie. She will cross you off her Christmas card list. Afterall, the holidays will pass, and they'll be back next year.
Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post while participating in the Storkie holiday blogging program. I received compensation for my participation. All opinions are 100% mine