* This article was originally published on Simply Laura Leigh *
I know that talking about planning for Christmas in September sounds absolutely crazy. I mean it’s not even October and most people haven’t even started thinking about their Halloween costumes. But taking the time to start planning for Christmas now really is key if you want to reduce the holiday stress and actually be able to enjoy the Christmas season.
I’ve put together a list of 16 easy things you can start doing now in September and made a handy FREE printable Christmas Planning Checklist that will walk you through step by step how to start planning for Christmas now so come December you can sit back, relax and have an enjoyable holiday season!
If you’ve found this checklist after September don’t worry, you can still use it to help you plan a stress-free Christmas no matter what month it is! (*UPDATE* If you’ve found this after September then head to Christmas Planning Checklist – What To Do In October)
Don’t forget to scroll down to the bottom to get your FREE printable copy of The Christmas Planning Checklist – What to do in September
Give your house a good deep cleaning
If you only do one thing in September to prepare yourself for Christmas this should be it. September is the perfect time to get your house deep cleaned and decluttered before you start decorating for the holidays and before your kids get swamped with new Christmas goodies.
A few things you should really focus on to get ready for Christmas would be to
- Go through kids toys and get rid of anything that’s broken or no longer used
- Get the guest room cleaned, organized and ready for guests
- Clean and organize your kitchen pantry and cupboards
- Put away all summer toys and
Get those Christmas Cards Ready
Schedule Christmas card photos – Schedule your photo session now and get them done early so you have the pictures in time to mail our you cards before the holiday rush.
Make a list of everyone you want to send/ give cards to – Go ahead and write down EVERYONE you think you want to give a card to. Don’t forget teachers, daycare workers, coworkers, your husband’s boss or your boss. You can always cross people off the list later if you decide not to give them a card. But it
Buy cards – If you’re not planning on turning your photos into a card then go ahead and buy some traditional cards now when they first start hitting the self. This way you get to pick the best ones before they’re all gone. I would also suggest
Buy Stamps – The last thing you want to do is have to run to the post office during the holiday season just to buy stamps. Do yourself a favor and buy a book or two of them now and beat the lines.
Start thinking about your budget
Set a budget for Christmas gifts – Sit down with your spouse and determine how much money can you realistically spend on gifts this year. Remember Christmas isn’t all about gifts and if you have to keep your budget small you’ll still have an amazing Christmas!
Set a travel budget if you are going out of town – Are you going to be doing any traveling during the holiday season? Set your budget now and determine if you’re going to be flying or driving and if you’ll need a hotel. The holidays are one of the most expensive travel times of the year so set your budget now and start looking for the best deals.
If your hosting Christmas dinner or any other holiday event start thinking about the costs – Do you host your family’s Christmas dinner or another holiday party? As much fun as those events are they generally end up costing more than you first expected. If this is your first time you can write what you expect to spend and then add about $100 to cover additional unexpected costs. If you’ve hosted the event before then write down what your actual cost was in the years before, don’t forget about all the unexpected costs.
Start saving! – Now that you have a good idea of what your holiday expenses are calculated just how much money you’ll need to save every paycheck to cover everything and start saving! If you find that you won’t be able to save enough between now and Christmas don’t panic. You still have enough time to adjust your plans and figure out some cheaper alternatives.
Start Planning Christmas Gifts
Make a list of who is getting gifts – Get a notebook or make a simple spreadsheet and write down everyone you would like to give a gift to this year. Once you have your list look at your budget and set a rough estimate of how much you want to spend on each person.
Start writing down ideas for each person – Go through your list and begin brainstorming gift ideas for each person. If you can’t come up with specific ideas for someone just go ahead and write down what you think their interest in. Are they book worms, do they like a particular sports team, do they enjoy cooking. You can always go back and get more specific later.
If you have a large list of people start thinking about alternative gift ideas. Can you do a gift exchange with adult relatives where everyone picks one person’s name out of a hat? You can make a DIY gift that can be made in bulk like this 5 Minute Lavender and Coconut Oil Sugar Hand Scrub. Or you could even bake a few batches of cookies to hand out to people like your coworkers or the mailman. It’s also perfectly fine if you decide that this year the only people you’re giving gifts to are your kids!
Make a list of the “random” gifts – Don’t forget to plan for those random on-off gifts such as gifts for teachers, bottles of wine for hostesses, white elephant gifts, gifts for coworkers,
Keep an eye out for those items to start going on sale – Sales seem to happen earlier and earlier every year and Black Friday is no longer the only day you can find amazing deals. Knowing what gifts you’re looking for early on will help make sure that you don’t miss out on sales and that you get everything at the best possible price.
Plan DIY gifts – If you’re thinking about making DIY gifts this year then you’ll need to plan out exactly what you’re making, how far in advance you need to make them and order any special ingredients or containers in advance. Gather all your supplies now so you can get started on making them in the next few weeks.
Start Planning For Holiday Events
Start writing down known holiday events – There’s so much going on during the holiday season that you can easily overbook yourself and feel completely overwhelmed. Keeping a planner is one of the keys to reducing Christmas stress.
If you don’t already have a planner pick up a simple one like this Weekly & Monthly Planner and start writing down your annual events, school breaks, and other holiday events you already know you have. Continue to regularly update your planner and add events, parties, school recitals and plays as soon as you get them. And don’t make plans without looking at your planner first!
Begin planning and booking travel – The holiday season is one of the busiest travel times of the year. Not only can it get expensive but hotel rooms and flights book up fast. If you’re planning on traveling you should be solidifying your plans now and booking your flights and hotels ASAP. If you’re not 100% sure what your plans are then you can still book things like hotels, just check to make sure you check the cancelation policy.
Get your FREE Printable Christmas Planning Checklist now
Are you ready to finally have a run, relaxing, and
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