3 Ways I'm Preparing For Christmas Before Thanksgiving



Last year in December I literally broke down crying, wishing Christmas would just be over already.

I don't think I've ever been such a "scrooge" in my life, but I was behind on all things Christmas, and all of our weekends and evenings were booked solid so I had no time to catch up.  On top of that I had a new baby and a touch of postpartum depression, and I just wanted life to feel normal for one day (which is pretty much impossible in December, at least around here).  The whole thing left me trudging through the holiday festivities with little to no Christmas spirit.

Most years aren't quite that bad, but over the last few years I have realized that Christmas can be downright stressful and un-fun for adults - in particular for moms.  At least in our family, almost all Christmas prep falls to me, and if I don't get on top of it the whole holiday feels like a chore to cross off my list instead of the sweet celebration of Christ's birth that it's meant to be.  

That's just sad.

So this year, I have been determined to get ahead of the Christmas to-do's well in advance so that when December rolls around I can hopefully just sit back and enjoy it all - and maybe have enough room to breath and reflect on the why of the celebration in the first place, which is the gift of our Savior!

Some things, like baking, obviously have to wait until December, but I have three things I would like to have accomplished before Thanksgiving this year.

1. Buy and wrap all Christmas gifts.  

There is a part of me that wants to save some wrapping for the actual Christmas season, but I am reminding myself that there are a lot of other Christmas activities that I never seem to have time for.  Things like making a gingerbread house with the kids, making hand-made ornaments to give to grandparents, or sitting down for a bunch of read-aloud Christmas books.  Do I really need to save shopping and wrapping for December to get into the Christmas spirit?  I think not.

2. Get Christmas cards ready to mail.  

I already have our Christmas card picture, and I am just waiting for VistaPrint's 50% Christmas card sale to pull the trigger on printing.  The goal is to get the cards ordered and addressed and stamped before Thanksgiving so I can just drop them in the mailbox on Black Friday and (hopefully) wait for the obligatory reciprocal Christmas card mail to roll in. (Hint: PLEASE SEND ME CHRISTMAS CARDS! They really make my day.)

3. Iron out any kinks in our Christmas budget.  

One of the major stress factors for me at Christmas time is the fear of going over budget, and I am determined not to let that happen this year.  I came up with a preliminary Christmas budget already, and since I have already started shopping I know there are a few little budget kinks to iron out.  As I get the rest of my shopping done I want to adjust the budget as necessary, think through our obligations, and set aside the money I will need for extra Christmas expenses.  My hope is that at the end of all this planning, December will feel like any other month financially.

A perk of all this early Christmas planning is that it is actually giving me a little early dose of the Christmas merriment that I was so desperately missing last year.  It's hard to feel the joy of the season when you are stressed with a load of obligations, and taking some of those away by getting a good head start has made me start to look forward to Christmas earlier than I usually do.  When the season gets here I'll have less stress and really be able to enjoy the goodwill and peace of the Christmas season, celebrating Christ's birth!  

My only question now is why did I not start planning Christmas in October years ago?

Do you start Christmas early, or are you a procrastinator?  What is your Christmas strategy?

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6 comments

  1. Great tips! I try to have all my shopping and wrapping done by the beginning of December. (though it doesn't always work out) : )

    I found sending out Christmas cards got too stressful and costly so I haven't done it in years. :( (Though I love receiving them)

    I also try to stay in a budget. It really helps when January comes around!

    I know how stressful this time of year can be. I have 3 grown children and have done all the Christmas prep myself. I had to learn to just enjoy my children's excitement and not worry about everything else. They see everything and learn from our actions and attitudes.

    Enjoy each minute and have fun with it all. : )

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  2. Great post Callie : ) I get made fun of every year because I always plan way ahead. But it really really helps and it spreads the cost out. I hope this year is simply fun for you!

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  3. I've been trying to get Christmas gifts as the ideas come to me this year. I have 5 people already checked off my list! And I decided to do a combo birth announcement/we moved/Christmas card. I just need to address them and get them in the mail in the next few weeks :) im all about anything that makes December less stressful!

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  4. Yes, I love this! I decided to set come Christmas planning/goals this year and they are almost exactly like yours. I so badly just want to enjoy Christmas and am hoping that by getting some of these things done in advance I'll be able to enjoy the Christmas season more :) Also, I'll send you a Christmas card ;)

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  5. Great tips. I really need to start the Christmas shopping now.

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  6. What a great post! I think I can relate to some of the "CHristmas blues" as a mom. As a kid, you're so starry eyed about the whole season, that you don't really realize how much work someone ELSE had to put in for you to have such a great season... *ahem* mom. I usually start thinking about Christmas in Sept-Oct and pull the trigger on getting started on things around this time. I usually have an idea of what I want to buy for gifts, and some I've bought throughout the year and stored, but some I wait until Black Friday for! Over all, I completely agree with you that it's so important to really just enjoy the season! Every year I say I'm going to get this kind of stuff done earlier, so that I can just enjoy the fun stuff...baking, all the traditions, etc. and not have to worry about the "have to do" things....maybe this year will finally be the year ;)

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