Whether you want to accept it or not, Christmas is coming and in just nineteen short days, it will be upon us! What’s your biggest concern for Christmas? Is it the holiday cheer or your shopping budget? Your Christmas party outfits, or getting a plane ticket home? Regardless of your worries, I’ve attempted to round up my favorite shopping tips, planning tricks, and everything in between.
Christmas Prep Step #1: Shop & Save
Purchase flight, train, bus tickets now! It may seem too late but Amtrak and Southwest have deals for travel. I’m sure other deals are out there too! Prices will only rise from here, so bite the bullet and get those tickets ordered!
When it comes to shopping, the main concerns are staying within budget and finding the perfect gift. To combat that, have a game plan for every store you visit and dollar you spend. Of all the names on your list, determine a budget and a few items you believe will fall into that price range. You can also take advantage of this time to sneakily ask them what they’re interested in now and what are things on their wishlist. Just be sure to stay smooth.
Don’t be fooled into thinking you can’t shop for deals, either! During crunch time (Black Friday and on) there are daily, weekly, monthly, and “you name it” deals from almost all retailers. They want your business, and they will promote as many specials as possible to get it. The great part about recent years is the ability to get sneak peeks by signing up for loyalty programs and email newsletters with your favorite retailers.
However, I don’t advise you to rest on the fact of getting your brother a 42” UHD TV from Walmart for $200 without a backup. It just may not happen, but the new Apple watch that has been out for a few months and is eligible for the Best Buy special, maybe a higher probability of landing. Just be sure to do research or your shopping trip will be a headache and a half! My favorite everyday, low price shop is TJ Maxx. They have something for almost everyone.
Christmas Prep Step #2: Organize & Plan
I know it may sound lame, but have a planner and use it! Every year I came home from college for winter break, I would spend so much time planning to catch up with friends, spend time with my boyfriend and family, shop, and work my seasonal part-time job. By the time I got back to school, there was no “break” accomplished.
So many things come up at this time that may overlap, suck away at your free time, and will demand a few days preparation. Especially if you are visiting home from another city, plans stack up fast! Having a visual representation of the varying activities will help you plan accordingly. Whether you’re using a phone calendar or this paper one, be sure to schedule time for friends, family, gift shopping, and relaxation!
I personally like to spend this time of year to relax a bit and take a step back from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. However, since it is a time that is more involved, I will occasionally schedule a time to be with others and relax. Try using a planning app or a Post-It Note Calendar or simply Google Calendar/iCal!
Christmas Prep Step #3: Navigate Essentials Like A Pro
And of course, I had to come up with a few DIY hacks and personal stress relieving tips for the season that drains us all, positively and negatively.
- Create your own Christmas Favorites playlist and listen to it all season long for non-stop hits in the car, at home, and on the job.
- Make DIY Christmas cards and cookies with your kids, godchildren, nieces, and nephews; or get fancy and make it a BYOB event with friends. Money saved on gifts!
- Don’t forget to take a personal day from work around Christmas time for a little R&R and not just to catch a flight to the parent’s house. Staycations are perfectly acceptable!
- Start pinning your favorite comfort food dishes and desserts that you want to try for Christmas potlucks and the family dinner. Don’t be the person who brings an inedible dish!
Christmas Prep Step #4: Enjoy Yourself!
Out of all the advice I’ve shared, the most important is to enjoy yourself. This holiday can easily rush by and slip through your grasp if you’re not careful. Take moments to embrace your time with family & friends, cherish memories being made, and show gratitude for all that you have.