The holidays can be such a stressful time of year for a lotta people, including myself! Bank bills go up, gifts have to be thoughtfully picked out, recipes need to be cooked, multiple get-togethers need to be attended, and cards have to be sent out on time. It takes a lot of prepping and planning! And sometimes this can take away from the excitement and joy that is meant for the Christmas season -- which is why I do my absolute best to start preparing as early as possible. Here are some ways I help to stay organized during the busiest time of year!
* Last updated: December 2015
1) Making a gift list early-on
If I'm being perfectly honest, I generally start thinking of a Christmas gift list for others as early as August! This is partly due to the fact that my sister and Brian are both December babies -- which means I really gotta be on the ball in the gift department! Particularly for Brian (because he can be a hard one to shop for) all year round, I do my best to really pay attention to things he likes when we go shopping together. I'm always on the lookout for things like books, dvds, even cooking utensils that could eventually be used as a possible gift idea. It doesn't matter if it's March, June or October -- I keep the ideas tucked away at the back of mind; it's a non-stop working process! But it always pays off come Christmas time. (If I am absolutely stuck still, then I'll email his mother for ideas!)
2) Order as early as possible
Thank goodness for online shopping! It has saved me a million times for items that were perhaps not sold in Canada or sold out in the stores. Once I make a gift list for people and have some general ideas, I order from sites like Amazon or Ebay as early as possible to avoid the postage rush / delay that may occur in December.
3) Picking up small items from time-to-time
If I'm out at a store and see something I know my dad would really like, I may just buy it on the spot and put it away to give him as a gift later on. In fact, I did that this year when I bought him some discounted DVDs at Best Buy in September; I know he'll love them come Christmas morning! In the past, if I saw something Brian liked at a store like Urban Outfitters -- you guessed it -- next time I was there in around October, I picked up part of his gift and kept it safely hidden until it was time to give. It may seem ridiculously early and too meticulous to do, but I find it really saves from future stresses!
4) Christmas Cards
Christmas cards are the one thing I do my absolute best to get done on time. Since I can't give everyone gifts, I still wanna do a little something to show my appreciation towards loved ones. I purchase some nice Christmas cards, write a short little message inside, and then draw a simple, cute Christmas image for each person (always from Google images!) I then touch it up with some Christmas stickers and glitter for a finishing touch.
It's easy to see why they're so time consuming!
5) Updating Your Address Book
With Christmas cards, it also means I have to make sure my address book is completely up to date. I keep all my friends' addresses written down in a notebook, and sometimes right before I'm about to mail out some cards, I'll send a quick message to a few friends just to confirm that their address is still the same. I keep a separate pile for cards that need to be mailed out sooner so I know to get those ones out a little earlier!
6) Dragging Out the Decorations
We usually don't start putting up our Christmas decorations until very late November/the first weekend in December. And throughout the years, my mom has probably done too-good-of-a-job saving all her decorations from when we were small kids! It can be such a hassle to drag them all of out the storage room so I thought I'd lend a hand and get most of the boxes out so they can start being put up perhaps this weekend!
7) The Final Product
With early preparation comes the end of the an earlier race! Once a present has been bought, I add it to a gift bag and add a little sticky note on the front as a little label-reminder to myself before sending it out. I keep a lot of the gifts piled on the floor of my bedroom and others (like family members) hidden about.
8) Managing Budget And Time
Pretty self-explanatory! And I know, something we don't like to think about -- our statement afterwards. It's obviously very normal for our credit card statements to be a bit sky-rocketed during this time of year. As long as you stick to a budget and don't go too overboard! -- you'll be a-okay once the money is made again afterwards. I also find it really helpful to have a planner to mark down dates when purchases were made and / or just general dates such as Christmas parties and deadlines I need to keep track of.
9) Store Away Something Nice for Yourself
During the Christmas rush, I'm so busy thinking about gifts for other people that I often forget to treat myself every now and again: especially if it means a little Christmas gathering is coming up! If you see a nice shirt or dress in the stores that has "fun Christmas party" written all over it - get it! Too many times have I missed out on potential Christmas attire, only to see myself rushing out the door before an event with "nothing" to wear. Last year, I splurged for an emerald green dress from H&M I wore to a Secret Santa party and this year, I found a decently priced green flowly top from Forever 21.
10) Take Some Much Needed Downtime To Enjoy The Holidays
The holidays are about celebrating with your loved ones and having fun! In the midst of all the crazy shopping and last minute to-do lists, always take some downtime to enjoy them, whether it's having a Christmas party with your friends, baking cookies, or just sitting around watching Christmas movies. It's the best part! :D
Enjoy your Tuesday, everyone! :)