No, October is not too early to start thinking about the holidays. Every year, the holiday season sneaks up on us, and before we know it, we’re rushing around trying to get everything done at once. It makes it difficult to truly enjoy the season, so make this year the one you get ahead of the holiday madness! Here are things you can start doing now to save yourself the stress later.
Write out your holiday shopping list
Make a list of everyone you’re buying a gift for this year. This is especially useful if you find yourself remembering to pick something up for your child’s teacher, your mailman, or your job’s holiday party at the last minute. While you don’t have to start buying these gifts just yet, many retailers begin their holiday season specials in October, so be sure to keep an eye out for sales and seasonal promotions.
Sort through your decorations
When decorations spend 10 or 11 months in the basement, it’s hard to remember what exactly you have. Maybe the inflatable penguin your child wanted so badly last year isn’t what they like anymore. So, we recommend having a rough idea of what you’ll be putting up this year. Go through your decorations, test the lights, and put every definite “yes” into their own storage bin. Be sure you have all the essential hardware to put them up, too! This will save you that late night, “I hope they’re still open” trip to the store when half the string lights don’t work as you’re trying to put them up.
Take your holiday card photos
If you still send out physical holiday cards, this is an easy one to get out of the way. You can take your time to get the best shot, send them off to be printed, and have one less thing on your holiday to-do list (plus, they’ll actually get out on time this year)!
Contact local bakeries and caterers
If you’re hosting a holiday celebration, there’s no shame in getting some extra help from the professionals! Bakers are currently accepting orders for their seasonal pies and desserts, and caterers in your area will be happy to help with the side dishes you won’t have time for.
BONUS TIP: Send out your invitations sooner rather than later! It will give you more time to prepare for the number of people you’ll be hosting.
Use your unused PTO
Whether you’re using it to relax and recharge before the madness or you’re taking a day to check off a chunk of your to-do list, giving yourself that extra day will certainly help.
Set your budget
Allocate the maximum funds you’re willing to spend this season and divide it up by each cost. Think about decorations, food, gifts, holiday events, etc. Holiday madness shouldn’t break the bank!
Make a Holiday calendar
If you do most of the holiday work yourself, such as cooking, make a calendar with deadlines for when certain things need to be done. For example, treat Thanksgiving dinner like meal prep–prepare certain things ahead of time and freeze them for later so you aren’t trying to cook everything all at once. Put these dates on your calendar so you can stay on track with the holiday madness. Do the same for gift-buying, sending holiday greetings, etc.
Create a self-care ritual for yourself
The holidays, even when you get ahead to the best of your ability, are stressful. However, this time of year is supposed to be full of love and joy. Take the time to create a ritual you can do when you feel yourself starting to get stressed. Maybe find a stellar hot chocolate recipe or take a candlelit bath with some holiday-scented bath salts after a long day of shopping. Whatever you need, make it a priority!