Every year I start shopping for the NEXT Christmas, December 26th. I’m usually done shopping by the end of September, middle of October. Anything else I buy after that is either for someone/event I wasn’t expecting, or just a bonus! Meaning any black Friday shopping is usually for myself! 🙂 People are always like “HOW?! WHY!?”
Well, because I like to enjoy myself, and not turn myself into a crazy holiday momster. I like to take my time and spread things out. Having a list like this makes it easy to prepare ahead of time, especially when I find days in August and September that have down time, or a rainy day, or maybe I have a sick kid home. I’ll pick something on here and just crank it out!
Set your budget!
Start your gift idea list and watch for sales on those items
Making some homemade gifts? Get those started! Or at the very least, make sure you have those items!
Make your holiday card recipient list (just a quick jot of names!) so you know how many cards, stamps, return address labels you will need.
Once you buy your cards, whenever that may be, start working on writing out those addresses asap! OR if you want to get real crazy, (I like real crazy!) make a document on the computer with all your addresses, and print out labels! Easily editable to change someone’s address if they move or get married, and easy to add more people! *or delete people too! Let’s be real!*
Use the end of summer school sale to buy art supplies on sale for your Xmas stocking stuffers
Join the email lists for the stores you know you’ll be shopping, get those join deals!
Use your local grocery store fuel perk program to your advantage, buy gift cards for the stores you know you’ll be shopping at, and get the fuel discount!
Watch those end of summer sales and back to school sales to get bigger sizes for next spring and fall as Christmas gifts for the kids. This only works for 2 out of 3 of my kids, the other one doesn’t enjoy clothes as much as his siblings do.
Make a list of the cookies you want to bake!
Start making the dough! Either freeze that, or bake the cookies and freeze them instead! *Pro tip: use those summer and fall rainy days for this!
Start buying items that get forgotten and you have to run out for: baking supplies, wrapping supplies, alcohol! Order your wine by the case! There are wine delivery services, take advantage and get it sent right to your door! The cost of shipping is worth the time, gas, and mental space you will spend going to the store!
Utilize the promotions shutterfly, walmart, walgreens, etc. send out for free address labels, free greeting cards, etc!
Once you use those freebies up, if you let something sit in your shutterfly cart a few days, they almost always send a discount code to get you to order it!
Buy the end of season clearance Halloween candy that isn’t holiday specific to use for stocking stuffers or baking!
Utilize the Ibotta app and free food deals they toss out around Thanksgiving every year, and use the money you save to add to your Christmas funds! Though, by Thanksgiving, you’ll be done shopping and prepping, and can add it to next years starting fund!
Do you do a Christmas or winter bucket list? Advent list/calendar? Get that ready early!
Don’t forget to shop the AFTER Christmas sales too! Use the sales here to stock up on next years wrapping supplies, and birthday gifts you’ll need throughout the year! I keep a list in my phone of my nieces and nephews ages and interests, and anything I buy them (because sometimes I would buy the same one multiple things because I forgot what I already bought!), and any friends kids or other people I often buy for. I also keep an eye out for things for teacher gifts and secret Santa/white elephant gifts too. Tumblers? Yes please. Barkeeper drink making accessories? Toss in cart. Blankets? Yep. Candles? Add. And so on!
ELF ON THE SHELF PEOPLE: You know you have a specific day the the elf/elves arrive. You can count the number of days your elf will be around. Make a plan! This way you aren’t running around at 1:30 at night wondering what the heck to do with it because you fell asleep and forgot to move it. I actually love the elves, I love the joy it brings my kids, so I have a lot of fun with this one. I like to make a plan, and acquire any little things I will need to complete my plans. That way, I’m never stuck. AND, I have the prior years ideas, so I don’t replicate from year to year. My kids are entirely too smart, and “good rememberers” as they call themselves! *Pinterest is your friend here! Do not recreate the wheel, work smarter not harder! People have made thousands of these lists! Take one, or two or three even! Make your own from that, or simply take what’s already there and follow!
Christmas does not have to mean angry-tired-overwhelmed-underprepared mamas! Change that narrative this year, and start now! Good luck!
Have additions/edits/thoughts? Let me know! I would love to hear it!