In this article, we’ll be going over how to prepare for Christmas! But first, are you ready for Christmas? Christmas is a wonderful season to spend with loved ones but it can also be very hectic. And it certainly has a way of sneaking up on us!
From running around doing last-minute shopping, to spending hours in the kitchen cooking, to staying up late wrapping presents, the Christmas season can be exhausting.
Here are some tips on how to prepare for Christmas so you can spend less time running around and more time with the ones you love.
Why it makes sense to prepare early for Christmas!
I find it’s always better to plan ahead when it comes to the holidays. Figuring out how to prepare for Christmas is one of the best gifts you can give yourself this holiday season.
It will help you stay focused and give you more time to spend with your friends and family, but also preparing early for Christmas can help you save money.
Plus it can give you some peace of mind. You can enjoy the festivities instead of running around trying to get everything sorted in time.
5 Ideas for how to prepare for Christmas
Some things you can do before the Christmas festivities. From planning the Christmas dinner menu to shopping for presents and getting the house decorated for guests, the season will keep you busy.
Some of these things you can even start preparing for long before the holiday season starts:
1. Plan your Christmas shopping ahead
Do you know what you’re getting your friends and family for Christmas? Are you buying new, or looking for sustainable gifts?
Why not make a list well in advance and buy the items as you find them throughout the year? I actually do this for my nieces and nephews.
Whenever I see a cute toy or book I think they will like, I’ll set it aside, even if it’s as early as May!
That way when December comes along I can spend more time curled up with some hot chocolate and a good book and less time running around in the cold shopping.
2. Budget and plan out your decor ideas
Another way to figure out how to prepare for Christmas ahead of time is to budget and plan out your decor ideas. On average, Americans assume they’ll buy $63 worth of decorations each year, according to Statista.
Whether you have family heirlooms you like to display or this is your first Christmas celebrating in your new house, planning ahead is always a good idea. Think about the theme you want and what items you’ll need.
Christmas decorations can be expensive, so start thinking about them early and work it into your budget. You can even buy items when they go on sale in January!
3. Plan your Christmas dinners
Do you have a lot of people coming over for the holidays? Maybe your in-laws are visiting or maybe you want to host a few get-togethers with your friends. Regardless, there are sure to be lots of meals during the Christmas season.
One of the things to do before Christmas is to plan out your meals. Write down all of the dinners, lunches, and breakfasts you plan to host. Make a list of the type of food you plan to cook and what you’ll need.
If you can, try to buy ingredients ahead of time so you can avoid the rush of shopping at the grocery store the day of.
4. Prepare for Christmas vacation days
If you plan to travel for the holidays, make sure to make your plans well in advance.
Tell your company the days you plan to take off and book tickets at least three months in advance. Or if you are driving, make sure your car is serviced ahead of time so there are no surprise accidents on the road.
And if you have children you can also plan ahead for fun things for them to do while they are on school break.
5. Figure out ways to give back
Something I love about Christmas is the giving spirit of everyone around me. Another way to figure out how to prepare for Christmas is to figure out how you want to give back.
If you plan to make any monetary donations to charity, December is the time to do it. Any donations you make before the end of the year are tax-deductible and can help lower your tax bill in April.
How to organize your finances for Christmas on a budget
It’s pretty well-known that the holiday season can be expensive. One of the things to do before Christmas is to get your holiday finances in check.
Work your Christmas presents into your budget
If your family is big, or you just want to buy things for a few friends, Christmas presents can add up.
Rather than waiting around for the last minute to decide on gifts, put some thought into what you want to buy and most importantly, what your budget is.
Work that amount into your budget each month. For example, if you want to spend $500 on Christmas presents, set aside $41 each month. It’s much easier to handle $41 a month than $500.
Open a dedicated saving or sinking fund account
Another way to learn how to prepare for Christmas is to open a savings or sinking fund account just for the holiday season.
Your sinking fund is a great way to save money for specific events by setting aside some money each month. You might also consider a Christmas Club account.
In fact, the average American spends nearly $1,000 a year on this holiday season, which is a bit of money. Setting aside some money each month makes it easier to plan ahead for Christmas. Try adding bonuses or any extra money to this fund to help you save.
Save money on gifts by making them
One of the things to do before Christmas is to make sure you have gifts for everyone on your list. If you’re on a budget, you can save money by making gifts instead of buying something new.
If you enjoy sewing or doing crafts, you can make something special for your loved ones, like a quilt, photo album, or painting.
And if you have children you can get them involved as well. Have them make gifts for their grandparents.
This can be hand-painting an apron, making a frame with popsicle sticks, or even making cookies for the whole family.
Don’t feel obligated to buy gifts
If you have key financial goals, like saving money for a particular reason or you are paying off debt, it’s ok if you are not quite in the position to purchase Christmas gifts.
Be open and honest with your friends and family about not being able to afford gifts right now. Sometimes, spending time with loved ones far outweighs any gift you could possibly buy them.
And if for some reason they get upset, know that you are staying true to your goals and what you can or cannot afford.
Follow our tips on how to prepare for Christmas!
So, are you ready for Christmas now? With these tips, you can be! A fantastic thing to do for yourself this holiday season is to plan ahead.
From figuring out the Christmas dinner menu, to making gifts, and setting up a sinking fund, there are plenty of things to do before the holidays. Get ready for the holiday this season by learning how to prepare for Christmas!
Whether you’re looking for tips about budgeting or how to save up for an expensive purchase any time of year, Clever Girl Finance has plenty of articles and free courses to help.