I found this out quite by accident, I didn’t know how much getting ready for Christmas early would change my life. Pregnant with a baby due in November and I knew I wouldn’t want to take time from snuggling and my other children to finish up all the many things to do with Christmas. So my plan was to be done by November 1st. I think it took a little longer but by the time baby was there and then December rolled around and I had nothing extra to do! The presents were wrapped, the baking was done and in the freezer, even the turkey was ready. One of the best things I ever did was to get ready for Christmas early and enjoy December. Let me tell you how to make this happen in your life.
Make a list of people in your life that you’re buying gifts for and what they like and their sizes. I carry this around with me. Now, every time I go shopping I look around, especially the clearance section. You can buy something that fits in with their likes and your budget that way. I don’t think you should buy something just to have something to give. I think it needs to fit that person. Wrap when you get home and put it up. Now I have a basket in my closet for gifts and then I write it down. Who I bought for and what I bought. That way I don’t forget. So, I also keep a few extra in there just in case I need a last minute gift or someone extra shows up. Even a few kid gifts, just in case.
Now is the time to start baking. In October and November, baking supplies are on sale. Start stocking up and start baking favorites. Wrap them well for the freezer and you’ll have less to do in December. Some doughs I just make and freeze so that the children can help cut out sugar cookies or gingerbread men. But then this is a fun planned project and not the last minute have to that you’re falling behind on. I make extra for gifts too.
Srock up on snack food
Now is the time crackers are on sale and cheese and summer sausage. Do you have special foods planned that you only make this time of year? I know we do. And I know I have run to the store at the last minute for something I forgot. Make a list of these special foods and buy early and on sale.
Make ahead for busy days
I try and do this all year long but it seems more important this time of year. We have programs and recitals and places to go. Having dinner ready to put in the oven or crockpot can feel like a lifesaver. It’s definitely a budget saver. So either plan for a cooking day to put some meals in the freezer or double when you cook. This is what I like to do. It doesn’t feel like a huge increase in the food bill to do a couple extra each week and it doesn’t take a lot more time either.
This is a biggie. I make as much of our holiday meal ahead of time as I can. Because I want to spend time with my family, not spend it in the kitchen. I make my turkey ahead of time. For one thing, it doesn’t take up as much room in the freezer. But it tastes good too. Make your turkey as you normally do. THen debone it, cover with broth and melted butter and freeze. When you reheat it, it’s moist and then you use the broth for gravy. You can make and freeze most of your sides. I freeze my green bean casserole and candy carrots. You already have your desserts made and froze. Now it’s easy.
We used to have a tradition of putting the tree up the Friday after Thanksgiving. I’ve been trying to move it up more and more. I love Christmas decorations. The light, the sparkles, the smells. I would put it up as much of the other decorations in November as possible and be all done by Thanksgiving weekend. A lot of neutral decorations that can be put up in November before Thanksgiving.
Now it’s December and the calendar fills up quicker than you think is possible and you have all this done. You’re not stressed. If you have a last minute potluck you have something ready to take. If someone shows up with a gift you don’t need to feel bad, you have extras ready to give. You have time to give your children since you’re not in a big hurry. Plus, I know in my case I was kinder and didn’t yell since I didn’t always feel behind. You have time to spend with your husband or friends and can really enjoy it. I know the best thing I ever did was get ready for Christmas early and enjoy December. How about you? What things do you do early to enjoy December?