Okay, you might be thinking: “It’s October, and he’s already starting to talk about the holiday season.” In an ideal world, I wouldn’t bring up Christmas until after Thanksgiving. However, if I waited until then, many of the ideas, recipes, and DIYs I want to share would come too late and be rather useless.
With November on our heels, you can expect to start seeing a sprinkling of Christmas-related posts on IBC. If you don’t celebrate the holiday or have any interest in holiday talk until after Thanksgiving, please just keep scrolling. I don’t want to upset anyone by focusing on the holidays, but I do think we should be kind of used to the early start at this point. My holiday philosophy: Do what makes you happy, and be kind to others.
With all that being said, let’s get into this.
If you’re anything like me, come mid-December, holiday panic sets in. There are cookies to be made, gifts to be purchased, Christmas cards to be addressed, and lights to be strung. At one point, it seemed that you had all the time in the world to get ready, but then you blink and become a stressed-out mess because there are a million things to do and only days to do them. Well, that’s how it is for me. Maybe I’m just terrible at time management. (Maybe? Ha! I’m pretty terrible at time management.)
For the past couple years, I’ve haven’t fully enjoyed the holidays because I’ve been crazy busy baking, shopping, and decorating. This year, I want to change that by starting early. My goal is not to do more, but to spread out the tasks so that when the week of Christmas rolls around, I can relax in my pjs and stare at my Christmas lights while scarfing down cookies, watching Christmas movies, and spending lots of time with people I love.
Want to join me? These are my tips for getting a head start on the holidays.
Bake in Advance
Did you know that a lot of Christmas cookies and baked goods can be made ahead, frozen, and then defrosted when the holidays arrive? It’s true! So why not start now? Figure out which of your cookies are a pain to make, knock them out in November, and freeze them for later.
Yes, baking cookies is one of the things I especially enjoy doing during the Christmas season. However, I always reach a point (usually around the fifth recipe) when it’s no longer a joy. Baking a batch each week leading up to the holidays stretches out the pleasure and keeps it from becoming a burden.
Not sure what to bake? Check out all of IBC’s cookie recipes here.
Also, start shopping now for recipe ingredients and entertaining staples that won’t go bad over the next couple months: flour, sugar, alcohol, crackers, chips, etc. Imagine not having to run to the liquor store on Christmas Eve because you’re out of ingredients for White Russians.
Start those Holiday Cards
Sending holiday cards is a must for me and something I truly enjoy. But staying up until 2 AM on December 20 to get them out before Christmas isn’t so much fun. So why not start now while you binge watch your new favorite show on Netflix?
Even if you start by reorganizing your address book, writing out the envelopes, or placing your card order (Yep, most online card companies have their holiday line out already.), you can be two steps ahead and cut down on that last-minute frustration.
Going to a mall (or any store for that matter) during the month of December is probably one of my least favorite things. And that’s coming from someone who loves to shop. Over the past couple years, it seems that more and more people are rude and grumpy during the holidays, so being surrounded by hundreds of them while shopping just isn’t fun for me.
Start your gift buying now before the madness begins. I have a couple folks on my list who get the same thing each year, so I’ve already placed those orders. If you need little things, such as stocking stuffers, gift cards, or a gift for the mail carrier, start picking up those items now to eliminate a bit of the stress later.
This is a big one. During the holidays, excess “stuff” seems to accumulate so now is the time to make room for it. Start by clearing off a couple closet shelves and emptying a drawer for overnight visitors. If you can, look through your seasonal decor and donate items you won’t be using. Go through your closet and get rid of any clothes that are damaged or don’t quite fit anymore. You can even clear the fridge and your cabinets of items that have expired.
Trust me, having all this newly discovered free space will help when lots of holiday “stuff” starts to pile up. Plus, you can prevent those Clark Griswold mishaps.
And that’s it, friends. It seems simple, but when the chaos starts, it’s easy to forget. I’m on a mission to be a happier, less-stressed person this holiday season so I can truly enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. Won’t you join me?
What tips or tricks do you have for getting a jump on holiday preparations? Let us know in the comments below.