Every year I try to start early with my Christmas preparations but it never fails, I usually feel pretty stressed out by the time Christmas is here. This year though, I am feeling ready to enjoy the holidays. Having a solid prep list has really helped. Here are a few things I have done or am planning on doing before Thanksgiving:
- Decorate. I decorated my home quite early this year, like the second week of November. Now before you say that is way to early- this is what works for us. We are gone 4 weekends at gymnastics competitions, some of those are out of town. My husband and I also took a trip for a weekend, we have Thanksgiving, and a few family events planned not only on Thanksgiving day. Having my house decorated before these events has put my mind at ease.
- Kids wish lists. I had my kids come up with their Christmas lists early this year. Each time a new catalog came in the mail, I set it in a specific pile for them to look through and write down their wish list on a sheet of paper. I had them write which catalog and page number the item was on and it was so helpful. I still helped my youngest who is 5, but the older three did awesome! This year, we decided on getting our kids a specific number of gifts and I’ll pass along the ‘extra’ ideas to grandparents and aunts and uncles.
- Christmas Cards. I love to send Christmas cards and look forward to getting them in the mail, too. We took our family photos earlier this month and once they were edited, I found a card on minted.com, typed our update on the back and ordered them. I received them last week and they are all ready stuffed in the envelope. I plan on addressing them this week once my kids are in bed and my husband and I watch shows at night. I won’t send them until December, but they will be done ahead of time!
- Pictures for Grandparents and Parents. Every year, we give our parents and grandparents family photos and updated kids photos. I almost always wait until the last minute to order these and write the kids age, grade and year on the back. Not this year. I ordered them from Mpix.com today and they should be here by the end of the week. I love Mpix print quality and super fast shipping.
- Shopping Early. I started shopping and will wrap as the presents are delivered. Some items I know won’t have any better deals and some will, so I am getting what I can ahead of time. I purchased ribbon and wrapping from Costco and Hobby Lobby and have a special wrapping bin ready to go.
- Teacher gifts. We always get teachers a small gift but I usually scramble at the last minute. This year I have already started gathering their items to wrap and I’ll have my kids make cards to go along with the gift.
- Planning our Family Advent Calendar. This has become a tradition in our family beginning on the 1st for December. We have a Santa advent calendar I fill with slips of paper that have an activity, reading, craft or experience we do together as a family. I like to print out our December Calendar and plan these things based on our schedule. This helps keep me accountable to do the things we love doing, like watching certain Christmas movies, baking cookies, building gingerbread houses, visiting Santa, looking at Christmas lights, etc. Planning it out helps me to not get overwhelmed and my kids look foward to seeing what we do each day. Pinterest is a great resource for quick and easy ideas if you want to start this tradition!
- Pick an Advent Reading Plan. It seems like each year I see people posting and sharing about their Advent Reading plan and every year I start one half way through December. This year, I am picking one out ahead of time and have a goal to journal at least once a week on what I have read. You can find quite a few great plans (for free!!) right here! This helps me bring my focus back to the true meaning of Christmas amidst the to do lists and shopping.
I hope this list is helpful to you and if you have things that help you prepare for the busy holiday season, leave them in the comments, I would love to hear about them too!