Table of contents[Hide][Show]
Even for one global pandemic, a difficult year, or time flies, sometimes the holidays come upon us and bring a lot of stress! Years ago, I started simplifying my holidays to make me less stressed and I’m so glad I did!
Simplifying the holidays has also made recent years feel less stressful (since there’s no expectation of tons of gifts) and eases to-do lists for moms (who are often responsible for About everything). One way I simplify the holidays is to plan and prepare well in advance. Here’s how I plan my vacation right now (and save my sanity!).
Create a budget
The first thing you need to do to start planning your vacation is budget creation. If you’re like me, the holidays end up being more expensive than expected! That’s why creating a budget is a great idea. So instead of just buying the things you see them, you have a better idea of what you need and what fits your budget, so there won’t be as many surprises (or guilt to come). in January!).
I create my budget first by deciding how much we can reasonably afford for all the holiday related things. Then I create a sub-budget for each category:
- Gifts – for kids, extended family and hostess gifts! Get the full list of ideas here.
- Decorations – If there’s any decorations that need to be replaced or something new that I want, I’ll put it on this list.
- Meal – I try to keep in mind that we have to eat even if it’s a holiday, but creating a budget helps me figure out if we’ll be serving filet mignon or turkey for Christmas dinner.
- Activities – Consider any activities that need a budget. This could include an ugly sweater party, building a gingerbread house, or making crafts for the holidays.
Once you’ve set a budget, you can move on to planning other (more exciting) things on vacation!
Assess your decorating needs
If home decor is an important part of your holiday celebrations, then you should evaluate what you have and what you might need.
If the budget is tight this year, this is an easy place to cut costs. Simply plan to use what you already have in your basement! But if you want to buy new decorations, now is a great time to find out what needs replacing or what decorations you want to update.
I want to keep an inventory of our decorations in concept (formerly on the Notes app in my phone) so I can easily see what we have and flag if something is broken or needs an update.
We’ve kept it pretty simple here (no one ever accused me of being Martha Stewart!), but to keep you inspired even on a budget, here are some day-themed decorating ideas. Simple ceremony:
All of these ideas meet my standards for 1) minimal supplies to make, 2) minimal long-term storage, and 3) ease of reuse for other seasons! Victory!
Plan your Christmas Cards
If you’re a fan of Christmas cards, preparing and sending Christmas cards can be a highlight of the season for you. If this is you, plan now so you don’t become overwhelmed. Here are my suggestions:
- Make an updated list of recipients and mailing addresses
- Deciding Type Christmas cards will you send – do you need a family photo?
- Mark in the calendar the dates you’d like to send your cards (sending cards in the first full week of December is a good option to send them on time, but not too early).
- Get family photos or updates ready and ready to be mailed before Thanksgiving so you don’t have to worry about them during the Thanksgiving holiday or next week.
If holiday cards become a burden for you, you should let them go this year as well. You can redirect that energy and money toward other holiday activities like gift giving or family traditions.
Make a gift list
If you’re like me, when you buy gifts, you’ll stick them in the back of the closet and forget about half of them before you wrap them up. If you’re on a tighter budget this year (or just want to simplify the holidays), making a gift list is a great way to stay organized and not buy too much.
I start by making a list of items that I want to buy for my family members.
Because the pressure to buy lots of gifts often overwhelms and exhausts mom, we’ve started a new tradition! We follow the gift giving philosophy of “want, need, wear, read”. We get the children:
- a material gift (to want)
- a gift of experience (need)
- new pajamas or something else they need for a wardrobe (wear)
- and finally a book (read).
This simple gift-giving has made a huge difference in how stressful the holidays are and how our kids appreciate the things they have and experience.
Tips to prevent burnout for moms: Creating a list and then buying things on it is an easy way to avoid overspending or falling into the trap of wondering if you’ve bought enough!
Collect DIY gift ideas and tutorials
I love making homemade gifts for family members because they always feel more special. But it can double as a fun holiday activity for the family! Homemade gifts are a great way to cut costs if needed without sacrificing the amazing factor.
If you’ve been planning on making homemade gifts this year, now is the perfect time to get organized. Some giveaways take a while to get ready, so they may need to be started early. Here’s what I recommend:
- Choose the gifts you will make. (These DIY gift ideas might get you inspired.)
- Find out how long they take to get ready (not only operating time but also curing/drying/enriching time).
- Mark on the calendar when you need to start the project so it’s ready to pack and ship (if needed). Shooting for the first week of December is a good rule of thumb for gifts you need to mail. You can wait a week or so if you don’t need to mail your gift.
- Create a shopping list for items (remember to check with your budget).
- Mark a day on your calendar when you’ll buy the supplies needed for the gifts… and then get on with it!
Once you’ve got your gifts and decorations in place, it’s time to plan fun holiday activities. I’ve scheduled holiday activities so we can make sure we get to some favorite holiday activity together. It’s fun to sit down with the family and brainstorm ideas together.
Here are a few that are often on the list:
- Making cakes for the holidays
- Attended a friend’s annual holiday party
- Choose a Christmas tree
- Home and tree decoration
I try to do this brainstorming and schedule it about a week or two before Thanksgiving in case there are any Thanksgiving activities I’d like to schedule. I will also try to schedule New Year event as they were planned.
In the years with few community events, we stick to family activities in our homes or backyards. These can turn out great with a little preparation and creativity!
Plan holiday meals
The last thing I plan for the holidays are meals. If I was organizing, I would obviously plan an entire meal. If we are visiting family, I plan a dish or two to bring.
Here’s what I do:
This is the meal planning app I use that helps with both of these activities! It’s called Real Plan and it saves a lot of time.
By making the list early, I can get more butter one week and maple syrup the next. This helps spread out purchases over a few weeks or months instead of a shopping trip (it also reduces my list when I need to buy new things right before the holiday).
Bottom Line: Simple but prepared where!
We all know it’s true… many of us moms look forward to the end of the holiday rather than the beginning because of the stress of it all!
Take the time to plan early (and keep the plan simple) It’s been a great way for me to really enjoy the season with my family and take some of the unfortunate pressure that can come with the season.
When you feel holiday stress, take a deep breath and review the following steps!
What’s your favorite way to plan early so you can enjoy the holidays?