How to Plan the Perfect Christmas
Now that Halloween is done, it is time for the holidays! Doesn’t the year just seem to speed up right around now? Sigh, but it is such a fun time of year! A few years ago I decided to spend November preparing for Christmas so that December can be spent enjoying it. So my goal is to have all Christmas gifts bought and wrapped by November 30th. If you are a procrastinator about Christmas, this might sound crazy, but it is SO nice to have it all done so you can go to parties/activities without stress. So here is how I am going to prep:
-Set the budget- When I went on my strict budget, one thing I learned is that “Christmas is not an emergency.” Aka, you know it’s coming so you can prepare all year for it. I used to be broke all November and December so I could buy presents, but there is a better way! Make a list of all of the things you buy, who you buy gifts for, total it, divide it by 12, and than save that amount monthly. You’ll be surprised that most years you buy gifts for the exact same people so it’s pretty easy to plan for. Here is what I budget for:
- Gifts for my husband
- Gifts for myself
- Gifts for baby Don
- Gifts for my husband’s family
- Gifts for my family
- Gifts for friends
- Gifts for coworkers
- Gifts for dogs (I know, I’m crazy but I buy them a gift every year so I budget for it)
- Christmas Cards
- Wrapping paper, ribbon, tags
- Christmas Decor
- Christmas Activities
I put $85 a month in a savings account called “Christmas.” It is so easy! My bank is awesome about letting you open as many savings accounts as you want and then I just use an app on my phone to transfer money. Whenever I buy a gift I just transfer the money over. I keep a list with totals and I am very strict about staying on budget. If you don’t save for Christmas yet, I am challenging you to start next year. It’s actually easiest right after the holidays because then you remember all of the things you spent money on and who you bought gifts for.
-Choose a Christmas theme. This one isn’t for everyone, but I like to choose a theme that will carry from how I wrap my presents, to my Christmas card, to my decor. This year I was flipping through my Pottery Barn catalog and decided on the theme: Let it Glow. I am thinking white with metallics and lots of lights. I might sneak in a little black and white stripes, maybe some mint. I can’t wait!
-Order Christmas cards. I am sometimes the worst at this and wait until December to take pictures and then have to pay a TON of money to rush the cards. This year I am being better and ordering them in November! I like to order from Shutterfly or Tiny Prints. I keep a list of people who I send cards to. Their addresses are saved in my phone, but I like to keep the list so I can know how many to order and easily update. Above are the cards I am choosing between. Here’s the links in case you are interested:
-Plan out my decor. I used to have a bunch of red decor, but have slowly been taking it away and going more neutral. This year I will be using my theme- Let it Glow and creating some fun items. I can’t wait to show you!
-Make a wish list. I create a wish list on Amazon and have my husband, his mom, and my mom buy off of it. I also create a wish list for my baby and have my husband create one for himself too. Throughout the year when I decide I want something, I can easily add it to the list and not forget about it. Here are a few items on my list- you know practical things like pretty books, LPs, and pink camera covers 🙂 (note, affiliate links used):
I buy a good amount of my gifts through Amazon. I LOVE not having to pack my baby up, head to a crowded store, and try to find the perfect thing. Doesn’t pajamas and a laptop sound even better?! Plus, no one can beat their 2 day free shipping. If you would like to try a free 30 day trial of Amazon Prime, here’s a link. You can just cancel in 30 days and enjoy the perks for Christmas shopping!
-Use a Trello Board for all of your organizing. This is not an advertisement, but I have recently started using Trello.com to organize my to do lists for home, the blog, and work. I LOVE it! Plus, its free! You can easily organize your to do list and move items around based on priorities. They are pretty too! At work, it has helped me be so much more productive and organized. I used to lose my to do lists that were written on sticky notes. But with this, you don’t lose the paper, plus there is an app so you can access it anywhere. I’ve heard the best function is when you are working on a project with a group because you can add comments and easily see where you are on the project. So what I am saying is this is great for any area of your life that could use organizing. I created a board for Christmas and will be using it to keep track of my budget (my husband can access it too)- if you click each “card” it has the budget amount so if my hubby buys our baby a gift, he can update the total. I am so excited to test this out this year!
So now I am feeling all prepared for Christmas! I hope some of these ideas inspired you so that you can prep and really enjoy the holidays.
All inspiration photos are from my Holiday board on Pinterest
Follow At Home with Ashley’s board Holiday on Pinterest.