Earnest Parenting.com logo

Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Preparing for Christmas can be a stressful and overwhelming process, especially if there are multiple parties, family dinners or children involved. Thankfully, the whole preparation process can be much easier if you plan ahead of time. Here are 10 tips to prepare for Christmas in advance.

1. Start Saving in the Summer

Christmas is expensive, so financial expert Alan Schram recommends that, “Start setting aside funds for your holiday plans as soon as your summer vacation has ended.” Decide how much you need for your Christmas celebrations, and then begin saving a little each month to avoid panic in December.

2. Arrange Travel Plans Early

Booking flights or trying to arrange car trips at the last minute can be exhausting, so experts recommend that individuals plan their travel for the Christmas season as early as possible. By booking at least three months in advance, you can save up to 55 percent of the ticket price compared to a last minute booking.

3. Plan Any Work Holidays

Most people will want to take some extra time off from work around the holidays. Speak to your HR department as early as possible to secure your own holiday time.

4. Make a List for Decorations

Decorations can often be cheaper right after Christmas, so purchase anything you need during the sales right after the holiday. Then, simply save them for next year. Make a list of what you already have so you don’t purchase anything twice.

5. Shop for Family Presents Early

Whenever possible, buy the majority of presents as early as possible. Labor Day sales in the beginning of September are often the best time to shop for clothing and toys.

6. Make Adult Gifts in Advance

Many adults, family members and colleagues will be happy with thoughtful or handmade gifts. However, they can be time-consuming to make. Create candy, cakes or dry mixes in jars as much as three months in advance to save precious holiday time.

7. Make and Address Christmas Cards in the Summer

Up to 30 percent of families say that running out of time close to the holidays is why they don’t send out Christmas cards. Have them made in the summer when photographers are less busy, and then address them early on to avoid hassles.

8. Stock up on Supplies

Things like wrapping paper, tape and even champagne can be hard to find in December, so prepared individuals will buy these items in advance. Think of the nonperishables that you absolutely have to have and stock up as early as you can.

9. Avoid Last Minute Schedule Changes

Parents say that the biggest stressor during the holidays is changing family plans at the last minute. By planning everything early, you can avoid those stresses. Simply stick to your schedule and avoid any last-second plans.

10. Create and Follow a List

Ultimately, those who are prepared for the holidays can spend less time worrying and more time enjoying the Christmas season with friends and family. Create a list that begins in September and ends on Christmas Eve, and set aside Christmas itself as a time to celebrate and abstain from worry.

Although Christmas can take a lot of planning and organization, it is still a wonderful time of celebration. Use these tips to plan for your holiday season in advance.

Evelyn Wilson writes for christmanssongs.org where you can find Christmas Songs.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want low-stress holidays.

Image courtesy of The Lamb Family via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.