1) Make a list of family/friends you are buying for and plan your budget. Nothing fancy. Just grab a notepad and write each person down and how much you are able to spend on them. Include everybody you might want to get a gift for: family/friends/neighbors/teachers/kids’ friends/etc. This is brain dumping at it’s best.
2) Start brainstorming gift ideas. This is especially helpful if you have little ones and are *helping* Santa. :) I like to have a place to jot down gift ideas whenever they pop in my head. This also helps me come up with ideas for my husband because he is so hard for me to buy for! I like to come up with something fun and different each year for friend/neighbor/teacher gifts so it’s helpful to have a few different ideas jotted down for them as well. (*quick tip – I always buy a few extra gifts to have on hand! Something simple everyone would love like a candle and a few extra gifts for my kids’ friends. It really helps when someone drops a gift off and you don’t have one for them.. or when your child says “I want to give something to so and so tomorrow” or “what about my teacher’s aid?”)
Wondering what to get loved ones this year? I’ve been sharing my favorite gift ideas for YEARS. Years people! So many fun gift ideas for kids and adults and I’ve rounded up all of my past gift idea’s into one post. Just click the link below for the mother load of all gift idea posts! Hope it helps and you’re welcome. ;)
3) Start shopping early! I love to shop but I have to say that I DREAD shopping in December. The mall is madness. Way too busy. Not worth it if it takes 20 minutes just to park your car! On-line shopping helps a lot with this, but the best solution is to start your shopping early. Even if it isn’t completely done, having most of it figured out before Thanksgiving makes for a much better December!
4) Set up a Christmas wrap station and organize your wrap supplies. Now is the time to set up a specific place to wrap your holiday gifts!
I have a wrapping cupboard in my office craft room (you can see the full post on how I organize everything here) and it comes in so handy this time of year! If you don’t have a cupboard like this there are so many things that you can do to set up a wrapping station. Any empty cupboard/drawer/counter can be used. Just round up your most used supplies and get them all corralled in one spot. In our previous house I set up a Christmas wrap station in my son’s nursery (it was the only space I had!). It doesn’t need to be fancy.. just functional.
5) Wrap as you go. In past Decembers when we’ve been particularly busy (and because I didn’t plan ahead..) I’ve spent Christmas Eve wrapping everything for my family. I always underestimate what a time consuming activity it really is to wrap every one of those gifts! This year I’m using my wrap station and I’m going to wrap as I go. As soon as I buy a gift I’m coming home to wrap it! When I’ve done this in the past, I wait to put bows/ribbons on the gifts. I just write in small print on the back of the gift who it’s to and what it is to remind me and I pile the gifts on top of each other to store. Then a few days before Christmas I can stick a bow/ribbon/tag on it, put it under the tree and call it done! This year on Christmas Eve after the kids are in bed instead of being buried in gift wrap, I’ll be curled up on the couch with my husband watching It’s a Wonderful Life. :)
6) Start working on your Christmas cards. If you haven’t had family pictures yet and plan to send out cards this year, schedule them now. It’s the best feeling ever to have your cards addressed and ready to mail out before December 1st! It’s also a good idea to update your Christmas address list. Set aside a time this month to go through and make sure you have recent addresses and add any new friends/co-workers, etc. you want to send a card to.
I absolutely love sending out and receiving Christmas cards! One of my favorite things this time of year. Here are a few ways I’ve displayed our Christmas cards over the years..
7) Start planning for holiday parties if you entertain. If you are planning to have any type of get together during December now is the time to prepare! Make your guest list, plan your menu, decide how you want to decorate and what you’ll need to buy for the party. Lists help with this! Lots of lists. :)
8) Start making any homemade gifts you want to give this season. Every year I give my husband a calendar for his office full of current pictures of our kids. And every year I wait until December 20th to start working on it! Why oh why do I do this!? This year I am choosing the pictures I plan to use for his calendar this month. Then I can toss in a December picture in December and get that thing made and wrapped and under the tree early avoiding my annual mad dash to Kinkos praying that they can print my calendar overnight. :) If you plan to make any other homemade gifts for loved ones this year, now is the time to start making them!
9) Plan ahead for Christmas Decorating. This is my favorite part of early Christmas prep! Now is a good time to assess what you have and what you might want to add this year to spruce up your house for the holidays. Shop for decor early before the best things get picked over (I just shared a few recent fun Christmas decor purchases I made here!). If you’re planning on making something to use in your decor get going on that now too! Most of the time DIY projects take longer than you think they will. Getting a jump start now on anything you want to make to decorate with (a wreath, tree ornaments, etc.) will allow plenty of time for any errors in your process that have you running to the craft store at 9:00 pm. :)
10) Spend some time thinking about Christmas traditions for your family and ways to make the season special. I like to plan activities to do with my kids that teach them the true reason for the season. We try to serve others often throughout the year with our kids, but this time of year it is especially important to find ways to serve and help others. Recently the kids and I have been brainstorming some fun, simple things we can do this season to serve others.
This 4 Gifts of Christmas is a fun activity we did with our kids last year to make sure we were all focusing on the true reason we celebrate Christmas.
I also love setting up simple family traditions to do each year with my kids that make December feel extra special.
And I am definitely all about that as well.