By Thamar Jones
The first signs of Christmas are appearing in retail stores all over town and everyone you know falls into one of two groups: the haters or the embracers. Whether you are a pre-planner who thinks about Christmas all year long, or you’re one of those do-your-shopping-on-Christmas-Eve types, there’s no denying the appeal of preparing! So yes, ready or not, the countdown to Christmas has begun. As of today, Christmas is only 41 days away and as my coworker reminded, that’s only four pay checks away! While it might be too early to bake the ham I’ll say, it’s definitely time to start decorating and preparing!
Start off your holiday preparations this year by creating a holiday budget. With a pen, some paper and a calculator in hand, begin by figuring how much money you have and how much you can realistically set aside for the holidays. Creating a budget is important as it will ensure that you don’t splurge on items that you cannot afford. The holidays have become a spend trap that can easily land you in big debts well into the New Year. Proper planning will eliminate last minute shopping and spur of the moment purchases on things that you never really needed in the first place.
Use Pinterest, YouTube and Google to inspire ideas that you can recreate in your own home. Browse the stores to see what decorations are available and which ones you can make with a little glitter, glue and some imagination.
Make a list of all the people that you want to give presents to this Christmas and put some thought into what you’ll be giving to them. Most of my friends and family prefer thoughtful sentimental gifts so I know I can have a lot of fun creating something each of my loved ones will appreciate and cherish. This also means that I don’t have to break the bank to give them something that they will love.
Between the decorations, gifts and guests, your home will be packed this festive season. While it may be too early for that annual Christmas deep cleaning, it is the perfect time to declutter and get rid of things you haven’t used in a while. Make space where you can by de-cluttering. Whether it is an appliance, old kitchenware, clothes, linen…. Whatever has not been used in six months or more, it may be time to get rid of it.
Holiday parties, gatherings and activities will soon be added to your calendar. It is not too early to start pairing your party dresses with the perfect accessories and shoes. By planning your outfits now, it gives you a chance to see what accessories you need to shop for.
What about your salon appointments, Christmas music playlists, Christmas greeting cards, Christmas grocery shopping and so on? It’s not quite time to do those just yet. Although there is no harm in getting a head start if you want to!
But if your budget is made, your holiday theme has been decided, you are planning your gifts, you have de-cluttered and your holiday wardrobe has been planned—at least mentally, then you are on schedule! And if you have not begun any Christmas planning as yet, then times a ticking mama, I urge you to get to it.
Christmas planning eliminates the stress of the last minute Christmas rush and planning all those fun little details gets you is the best way to get the Christmas spirit flowing in your heart and soul!
By Thamar Jones