Can you believe it? It’s just about time to start thinking about the holidays. Unfortunately, we’re not ones who finish our holiday gift shopping in August. No, we often have a painful time of it as activities pick up and the holiday “extras” demand our time. This year, hubby and I really want to be better organized so we can enjoy the holidays more. Besides, if I’m more organized then this means I’m a much less stressed and/or distracted homeschool Mom!
Here are some things we hope to get done early this year to be ready for the holidays. Knowing I was going to write this post spurred me on to actually check a couple things off my to-do list!!
Holiday Greeting Cards: Get those holiday photos taken and those cards made. I actually took pictures a few days ago. I’m still in shock I got this done so far ahead of time!! This weekend you can save 40% off your holiday cards (or photo books) at Shutterfly. For the first time ever, I think we’ll have a cards set to go! These won’t be the stars of our holiday cards…but here’s Boomer and Crystal…
Clear Out the Pantry: Our pantry was a complete disaster. I had no idea how many cans of pumpkin we had (we make pumpkin muffins and pumpkin soup a lot this time of year!) or what we were low on. Since we really try to avoid eating out, it was really essential to know what we have on hand – especially as the big meals like Thanksgiving come up. Lately, we’ve just been shoving everything into the pantry to deal with later. Boy, what a disaster. In fact, it was too embarrassing to show you without a redeeming after shot so I went ahead and tackled this job too!
Declutter: Kind of along the same lines, it’s good to declutter as much as possible…
Sort Through the Kids’ Toys, Games and Puzzles: I went through and donated a lot (7 huge garbage bags full) of toys in September, but I should probably do another good sort before new gifts come into the house.
Sort through the Kids’ Clothes: We went through the kids’ clothes when the weather got cold and donated all the jackets and clothes that no longer fit. Again, this is a good time to tackle that again if you haven’t already done so!
Go through the Kids’ Books: Donate the ones your kids aren’t interested in any more.
Keep Your Eye Out for Sales on Thanksgiving and for Holiday Ingredients: You can save a lot of money just by keeping an eye on the price of turkey. One website suggested buying an extra turkey to put in the freezer if you plan to have one in December because prices are lowest before Thanksgiving.
Set Up a Budget: Be sure to think through all the holiday expenses and try to be prepared ahead of time so you’re not running out for those forgotten items.
- Food Budget (plan ahead for ‘bring a dish to share’ holiday parties)
- Family gifts
- Stocking Stuffers (plan ahead so you’re not grabbing things at the last minute that are unhealthy — i.e. candy — or more pricey than you intended)
- Gift wrapping materials (be sure to have plenty on hand so you’re not scrambling)
- Holiday Cards and Postage
- Extended family gifts and postage
- Gifts for close friends
- Buddy gifts — sometimes there’s a gift exchange for your kids in certain activities. Plan ahead for these.
- Charitable gifts — There’s often a giving tree around. Make sure you account for this.
Set a Date: For you and your spouse, if you can, but actually I meant for all those things that you want to get done. Schedule it and mark it on your calendar. Here are some things we need/want to do:
- Set up the holiday lights/decorations
- Put up a tree
- Arrange a babysitter for Hubby’s holiday party
- Take holiday pictures
- Send out holiday cards
- Get all those ‘extra’ activities ON your calendar. I can think of a half-dozen activities I know are coming up, but I haven’t jotted down yet. Ugh!! I’d better do that. Now!
Meal Plan: Keep aware of those late evening activities and plan meals accordingly with a crock pot meal or simple meal that is easy to prepare right when you walk in the door. That way you can avoid eating, out which can pack on pounds this busy season.
Plan Your Own Exercise Time: Don’t get too busy to take care of yourself. Exercise and stretching helps keep your stress levels down and keeps you more mindful of the holiday snacks you might be sneaking in.
Check Out the Car: Is your car ready for bad weather? We need to make sure we’re ready for the snow. I know we need new tires on one of our cars. Also, I don’t think our emergency supplies are in the car yet (shovel, extra gloves, sand, ice scraper).
Wrap the Christmas Books: Last year I heard about this lovely idea somewhere on the Internet. We have a whole selection of Christmas and holiday books that we put away with the decorations each year. This year, I’d like to wrap the books in holiday paper before the kids see them. We’ll put them under the tree. Then as the season draws near, the kids will select a book and we’ll read it together. It’s the same idea as an advent calendar, except with books! Here are some of the Christmas books we’ve read and love:
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What else do you suggest we all get done ahead of time? Is there anything I’ve left out?