Christmas will be here before we know it. Have you already started planning? Grab your pen and paper because I am going to share with you my 10 Holiday Planning Life-saving Tips.
SHOP FOR DECOR EARLY
Don’t wait to find mementos that show what the season is all about. Once Christmas ends is the best time to start planning for next Christmas. Last year my husband and I combed through the stores to find discounted timeless treasures that we would want to use to decorate our house. We found books explaining the reason for the season, ornaments, snow globes, ribbons, storage containers etc at amazing discounts: up to 70 or 80% off the original cost.
START GATHERING PHOTOS
The best holiday cards are a keep sake that people will always want to cherish because it shows the beauty of your family. In order to have plenty of pictures to choose from, you should start taking pictures throughout the year. I am a fan of collages because our family doesn’t get to see our kids often, so a collage will help them see our children’s growth and changes throughout the year. You will also have a few photos that really capture each person’s character, likes, and dislikes.
DEVELOP A REASONABLE PLAN
This tip is one of the post important, planning is the key to less stress and living better during the Christmas season. Evaluate want you envision for this holiday. Write out everything, from how many people you would like to have over, to how many decorations and home renovations it will take to bring your goal into fruition. Your plan will also need to be accompanied by a budget.
PRACTICE PREPARING NEW MEALS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
Of course, you will have your traditional meals, but it is always fun to showcase new favorites. I like to introduce my family to foods from other parts of the world that are yummy. You don’t want the first time you make or have tried a dish to be when you cook it and serve it to others, so start practicing early to see which meals and desserts work best. It is also helpful and fun if you take pictures of the meals that you prepare to help you decide which ones you want to share later. Write notes on the back that will explain how you felt about the dish both visual and tangible tasty thoughts. To go a step further you can also make photo menu cards depending on what you budget for.
BE CREATIVE WITH THE MENU
Most people love food. Try to be creative with a variety of colors to give your meals a hearty, happy, and healthy look. The more color the better to help commemorate the season. Create a menu for your Christmas meal to help give it elegance and make your guest feel special and important. For children, create a menu that is functional, add the food choices, but also make it fun. Add a question and answer game or even a scavenger hunt along with it to keep them occupied throughout the day or evening. For younger children you can add a color printout to their menu instead of a game.
WATCH YOUR CREDIT CARD USE
It is rarely a good idea to put thousands of dollars on your credit card in one month. A huge balance all at once can hurt you and your credit score if you are not careful. My advice, is to shop throughout the year so the balance will be more manageable and won’t come all at once. I also believe that we spend more money on our credit cards because we are not actually seeing ourselves hand over our money than if we were using cash. Therefore, if possible try to use cash. Overall, be mindful of your budget and what is needed to make the holiday what you desire it to be.
CLEARANCE SHOP FOR GIFTS
All through the spring and summer many stores have semiannual clearance sales. Toys are often non-seasonal so take advantage of those deals to get the best savings.
In September my family and I took pictures as a family that we will be putting on our holiday cards. Shop around for the best price and subscribe to receive emails from companies that produce the cards you like, chances are they will email you an exclusive deal that is worth taking advantage of. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of stamps and make sure that the size of your card will not require additional postage. If you have budgeted for a cute postage stamp consider the adorable options from Storkie.com.
SHOP BLACK FRIDAY SALES
The Friday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, is a great time to shop for electronics. If you need a new camera, camcorder, blue-ray player etc. this is probably when the stores are having their best deals. Additionally, a great way to optimize your saving is to use coupons on top of the store’s sale price.
If you need more items that you were not able to obtain earlier in the year or on Black Friday, do not forget about Cyber Monday the Monday following Thanksgiving because there will be tons of savings still available. For both Cyber Monday and Black Friday, the best deals are giving to the early birds so this is not the time to catch up on your sleep if you want lots of savings. Don’t forget about cash back programs and price matching when shopping online.
“I wrote this blog post while participating in the Storkie holiday blogging program. I received compensation for my participation. All opinions are 100% mine.”
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