It seems there are camps this time of year. You are either Camp Thanksgiving or Camp Christmas is coming. Like all things in life, people like to say you are either in one camp or the other. Well I am here to say I love Thanksgiving and everything it celebrates. I am always trying to cultivate a grateful, thankful heart in myself and in our family BUT I am also all about Christmas.
Most of the heavy lifting for Christmas falls on my shoulders. While I am not complaining at all, because I love it, If I wait until after Thanksgiving to start, I am all sorts frazzled and bah humbug by Christmas. I even wrote about it last year.
So, today I am sharing 10 things to do in November to prepare for Christmas and spoiler not one of them is decorating or putting up a tree. Do I have your attention now? Listening to Christmas music while preparing is completely optional but I don't judge! #MariahCareyChristmas #yesplease
1. Create a Christmas List
We will all be shopping this Christmas unless you are Scrooge. I like to use a printable table (seen above) that lists the recipient, gift(s) I would like to get them, the budget I would like to spend and then how much I spent. When I purchase the gift, I then highlight their name so I know I am done. I have downloadable printables available, like the ones pictured for my email subscribers. Just subscribe here.
Once you have your list, you can determine what you need to buy and where and create a list in your phone notes or I have another printable (get it by subscribing here) to keep a running list of items you need to shop for. When you have a plan and a list, you are more likely to stick to your budget and shop purposefully. Except at Target, things always jump into my cart at Target, but I digress.
2. Create a Christmas Budget
This could be interchanged with creating a Christmas list. For me, I like to determine who I am buying for and then set a budget from there. For my husband's family we draw names and have a set price limit for each gift which really helps. I tend to stick to the same price point for other family members too. Then I also determine what my kids want and establish a reasonable budget for their gifts. I use a separate printable for them (and you guessed it, sign up for my email list and I will send it to you). There is no need to go into debt to celebrate the most wonderful time of year.
3. Begin Shopping
Now that you have a list you can begin shopping. Often times on Amazon things go up in price as the season goes on. Last year, my son wanted a particular lego set and the price jumped 30% after Thanksgiving. Supply and demand people, shop early!
I also was that parent buying a $20 American girl dog from a 3rd party vendor because it was sold out on the website and that was THE ONLY THING my daughter really wanted for Christmas. Don't risk items selling out, if you see it and you think you want it, buy it and tape the receipt to the item. You can always return it.
Beginning on Monday, I will be sharing all my favorite kids toys, games, books and adult gifts! Make sure to stop back by!
4. Create a Christmas Bucket List
There are only 24 days until Christmas in December. You might say that's obvious but inevitably if you don't plan for the things you really want to do, your days will be filled with other engagements. Every year, we plan to go to a lighted holiday display and have a pizza picnic in the car, I put that on the calendar now so that we don't miss it.
Make a bucket list
of items you want to do with your family and then put them on the calendar. I have included a bucket list printable (get it by subscribing here
). It's similar to how our family does bucket lists, which I have detailed in this post
. Here is our Christmas bucket list
from last year to get you started.
|Annual Christmas Lights and Cocoa Party #myfamilymightkillmeforpostingthis|
Find similar Christmas Pajamas here.
5. Plan Your Family Christmas & Christmas Parties
If you have family and you are coordinating when to have Christmas, start planning now. Have you ever tried to coordinate 2-5 families schedules and find a date that works? If you have, then you know it's good to plan early! Be flexible with one another, although Christmas is on December 25th, the spirit and purpose of Christmas can be celebrated on any day!
It might be an office party or inviting your small group over for a Christmas meal, but whatever it is, it's good to let people know early so they can mark their calendar and gives you time to plan a fun party. Here are some fun snowball party games
6. Christmas Attire
It's never too early to think about what your family will wear for Christmas. For some of you, this is not important but it's one of two times a year I try to have all 3 of my children coordinate, the other is Easter. The days are fleeting they will comply.
I like buying them early so they can wear them for all
the holiday festivities. Christmas pageants, Christmas programs, Christmas parties, Christmas church..they will be wearing it! Don't you wish you were my kid?
Maybe you also like coordinating Christmas pajamas. Clearly, we like to match at Christmas around here. Here are some fun options ( one
7. Christmas Cards
With social media and staying more connected, this is a fading tradition but one of my favorites. It's the one thing I save year after year. I punch a hole in the corner and string them together and the kids look at them all year long.
Go ahead and take a family photo or compile some photos from the year and order your cards. Places like Vista Print (where I order mine and no this is not sponsored) or Shutterfly have some great options. Right now Vista Print is running 50% special with code HOLIDAY and Shutterfly is running some seasonal deals too.
You have time to gather all the addresses of your card recipients, get stamps and get a fun, festive return address stamp. Create an assembly line with your family and get them all ready to send and then mail them right after Thanksgiving.
8. Get Gift Wrap
It's a great time to stock up on Christmas gift wrap. My favorite place to buy it is Hobby Lobby. Their paper is thick and high quality and you get huge rolls. Costco also has large packs of tissue paper for a great price. Don't forget bags, gift tags, bows, tape and scissors.
Once you have purchased all your supplies, create a space in your home, maybe a spare bedroom or a drawer in a buffet or dresser so you can be ready with all the essentials in one spot.
9. Create a space for your presents
|Can you figure out which tote is holding the presents????|
Around here little minds will want to know what I have bought so I create a space in our store room to hide all the presents. I hide them in totes out of eyesight and reach. I will periodically pull all of it out to make sure I have everything I need and crossed off the list and wrap it all up.
10. Put up your exterior Christmas decorations and lights
Especially if you live in the midwest, it's safe to say the cold is going to set in soon. Take advantage of a warm day in November to put up all your decor then the day after Thanksgiving all you have to do is plug them in.
There you go, 10 things you can do in November to prepare you for Christmas. I promise, if you do these things now, then you will be off to a head start this Christmas season. You don't even have to put up the tree. Are you planning for Christmas now?
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Until next time, keep on keeping on with an intentional, joyful, faith-filled life. #tribekoko
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