I. Love. Christmas!! I love everything there is about Christmas. The real reason of celebrating Christ’s birth, spending time together with family, cooking & baking, going Christmas caroling ( I’ll have to tell you sometime about when we had a tradition of taking the older 6 caroling – ask them and they’ll say they LOVED it as much as I did – NOT!! :):)) I love searching out the perfect gift for the perfect person, watching Hallmark Christmas movies, decorating for Christmas and today is the 3 month mark!! 3 months from today is Christmas!!
Do you have ways to get yourself ready for Christmas so as to not be pulling our your last piece of hair by the time December 25 arrives? I want to share with you some of my top tips for not having a harried holiday season. One of the biggest tips that keeps me from going crazy is
Tip #1: GIFT LISTS
Keeping a list throughout the year with me at all times. I have written everyone’s name that I plan on purchasing presents for on that list. Whenever we’re together throughout the year and I hear them mention something like, “I have always wanted that!” or “I just love those things that they have!” I quickly write them down on my list. This allows me not to end up 2 weeks before Christmas with a huge long list of names with no idea of what to get them. I actually create a list on my phone so that it’s with me whenever I’m out and about and perhaps come upon an item that someone had suggested. After I purchase the present I make sure to strike through the present on my list or place a check mark behind it. I have saved myself SO many headaches by doing this!
Tip #2: PLAN A WEEK AHEAD
After halloween, I look at my calendar and see what extra parties I am planning on going to and figuring out if I’m suppose to bring a gift or maybe a dish to pass. I then go to my calendar and the week before the scheduled party, I plan on either getting the gift or figuring out what I’m going to be making. Nothing I hate worse is a day before a party going through my cookbooks and trying to figure out what I should bring. By planning earlier, I save the stress of having to plan AND make the dish or buy the gift. It’s amazing how much more enjoyable the time spent with family and friends is if I’m not completely frazzled before even getting there!
Tip #3: DECORATE RIGHT AFTER THANKSGIVING
I am NOT a big Black Friday kind of shopping girl at all. I like the IDEA of it but the crowds and the waiting in line for HOURS just is NOT my idea of fun!! Instead, me and the kids usually start putting up the Christmas decorations on the day after Thanksgiving or that weekend depending on our plans. I just LOVE watching a Hallmark movie while putting up the tree and decorating the house. When I get it all finished the weekend of Thanksgiving – it gives me all of the rest of December to finish up my shopping and the HUGE job of wrapping presents. It always take so much more time than I imagine wrapping the gifts!!!
Tip #4: AMAZON PRIME
Need I say more?!?!? I think I have used Amazon Prime to do about 95% of my Christmas shopping for the past 4 years. Not to mention they are also on our children’s TRIP (Tuition Reduction Incentive Plan through Jenison Christian school. A percentage of the total amount is donated back to our school to reduce their tuition) WIN – WIN!! Remember I’m not one of those Black Friday shoppers? Well, I technically am – it’s just I do my shopping in my pj’s, in front of the tv, with a chai tea in hand. That’s MY kind of shopping!! The yearly cost of Amazon Prime has been completely worth every. single. penny!! Sign up at www.amazon.com to start your subscription
Tip #5: SIMPLIFY
If I could do one thing differently than I did when first married and a new mom is I would simplify where ever I can. Whether that’s paper plates (they make the cutest kind now a days!!) so I’m not in the kitchen doing dishes for hours, crock pot easy meals throughout the holidays, and slowing down by not having a plan every single night or most nights of the week. I’ve learned that life is WAY to short to be so busy. Less is Best!! Spending quality relaxing time with family is SO much more worth my time than constantly running and going to every single opportunity available during the Christmas season. Sometimes I think that we’re so busy during the month of December, that we COMPLETELY lose sight of why we even HAVE Christmas – and that’s to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Slow down. Think on His gift to us – the BEST gift we could ever receive.
Now that you’ve received these 5 tips you may now go back to your regularly scheduled life and completely forget that Christmas is only 3 months away! :):):)