There isn't a doubt that the holidays are fast approaching — just for reference, there are less than 100 days until Christmas. Trust me, I keep stressing about this too, and it gets worse every passing day.
What better way to prepare for the holidays than pre-preparing? Have yourself ready eons in advance so that when they roll around, you'll have nothing to worry about. I'm a person who waits until the last minute to buy gifts, but no more. It's time to get yourself in line and shop, wrap, and gift now before it's too late.
1. Plan out your gift list early.
I seem to have different people to buy for every year as people come and go (*cough, cough*). My family is people I always buy for though, so if you already know who you want to buy gifts for, write their names down and put some gift ideas underneath. Nothing is better than having everything written out when it's fresh in your mind. If I don't do this, I guarantee what I'm thinking of will leave my mind in .5 seconds and I'll completely forget what I had an idea for. This is an easy way to stay organized and to plan out what you need to buy before just buying.
2. Buy your most expensive gifts in waves.
Don't make the mistake of buying those expensive gifts you have in mind all at once. Spread it out and buy them here and there until you have them all. Once you've gotten all of the most expensive gifts for your loved ones, the smaller and more intimate gifts are much easier to buy and can be bought on a whim when you're walking through the convenience store. Make sure you give yourself enough money to live on until Christmas morning.
3. Go through your decorations before putting them up.
Each year that my family and I are putting up our holiday decorations, we typically find something — at least one thing — that is broken or doesn't work anymore. An easy way to work around this problem, especially if you've depended on certain decorations for years on end, is to replace them before they're gone. It sounds silly, but there are places that sell holiday decorations year-round where you can purchase new trinkets way ahead of time before the holiday rush begins. This way, you won't have to worry about having enough decorations for your family or any company that you have over. A warm and welcoming home is cozier and inviting than one with no holiday decor.
4. Plan any holiday trips right now.
Sometimes my family and I take vacations or go to visit family outside of the state of Florida, and we won't really know until a month or so in advance. An easy way to work around this is to decide as a unit where you'd like to spend your holidays this year. Ideally, when we plan a vacation, we like to plan way ahead of time to save money and to be able to get time away from school and work. With it being earlier in the holiday season, now is a good time to evaluate these decisions and to make any plans now so that they're set in stone. Hotels and roadways during the holidays are nonstop and are busy all times of the day, don't be one of those who are stuck on the roads.
5. If you're preparing food, make up your menu beforehand.
If you're a person who likes to cook for friends or family for the holidays (my family does this every year), then map out your food menu. Appetizers, main courses, and desserts are the most important parts of a holiday dinner, so if you have something for each of those, you're on track. Also, getting your food in plenty of advances in order to properly prepare it for your guests is ideal so that you don't run out for anything at the last minute. Being the person who rushes out on Christmas Eve for last-minute cooking supplies and dishes is no fun, especially when you try to prep everything the night before guests arrive.
Each passing year it seems as if the holidays approach faster and faster. With this in mind, try to be the person who is on top of their game. When I meet people like this, I'm impressed and compare my poor preparation skills to theirs and wonder why I don't just think of all of this in advance.
Holidays are for family and friends, so don't get stressed about them this year.