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I know that some of you will already be sick of the “C” word – Christmas in July has become a major thing, right? I swear it gets earlier every year – we’ll have Christmas in March next! But bear with me. I want to talk about how to get organised now, to save time later.
That’s the real benefit of starting Christmas so early. The more organised you are, the less stressful December is. You know, when everyone else is rushing around, braving the shops (or praying that their online orders will be delivered on time), I plan on watching Christmas films with my kids and drinking hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows..
So how do we do it?
If you take nothing else from this blog post, take this – LISTS! Say it with me – LISTS! This is the mistake I made last year and that’s how I know that lists are key to an organised Christmas. I started buying Christmas gifts in July last year, but didn’t write anything down. So I didn’t know when to stop! I just kept buying – convinced that I hadn’t bought much, until I got it all out of the loft to wrap it. We ended up saving half of it for the twins’ birthday, so it wasn’t a complete disaster, but Mr Becca nearly had a heart attack when he saw how much we’d bought. So, this year – Lists.
Start with a list of who you need to buy for and your budget for each person. Stick to that budget. As you buy the gifts, cross them off the list and make a note of what you’ve bought, in case you forget later.
Speaking of budgets, for more advice on this, check out these posts:
Miss Manypennie’s How to have a debt free Christmas
Skinny Spending’s How I’m planning for Christmas in April
My Debt Diary’s 5 Tips for a Debt Free Christmas
Attachment Mummy’s Christmas Spending Tips: How to Get to January Without Going Broke
Early Retirement Rocks’ 5 Tips for Preparation on a Budget
Avoid the Christmas Eve mad rush to wrap all the gifts as soon as the kids go to bed. Wrap as you go. Every time you buy a gift, wrap it, label it so you know who it’s for and put it away. When Christmas comes, all you have to do is get your lovely organised pile of wrapped gifts out of whatever hiding place you chose to put them in and stick them under the tree. This is where your lists get really important. Make sure you’ve written down what you’ve bought and who it’s for before you wrap it. This will save you from madly unwrapping everything when you realise you can’t remember what toys you’ve bought or whether you need another trip to Argos!
If your house is anything like mine, you already have way more toys than any kid can actually play with. Christmas is the perfect time to declutter, right? Getting rid of the old toys that aren’t played with anymore, ready to be replaced with shiny new ones. Except, who has the time for that in December? It’s impossible to organise toys without the little darlings trying to help and, I don’t know about you, but I can’t be doing with the stress that comes along with that kind of “help” right before Christmas. So, start now. Then you’ve got 5 months before the big day and you can get rid of toys slowly, so the little angels are less likely to notice and try to “help”. This also gives you time to advertise and sell the toys that still have some life in them – then you can use the money to help pay for the new ones.
Write your cards now. Store them in a box, in order of when they need to be posted – starting with the ones that need to be sent by airmail, then the UK post, and then the ones you’ll hand deliver. Write the last post dates on the box and make sure you don’t miss them. Be sure to keep some blank cards, too, just in case you receive a card from someone you’ve forgotten about! And if you’re making your own cards, definitely make a start on them now! Rushing them in December really takes the fun out of it.
OK. Not in July. But if you want a really awesome Christmas cake, you’re best off starting 2-3 months before Christmas, to give the cake plenty of time to mature and for you to feed it plenty of alcohol (if that’s how you like it). So make a list (see why Lists was the first tip in this post?) of everything you need to make the perfect Christmas cake and make a note on your calendar so you don’t forget to bake!
So, good luck! It’ll be Christmas before you know it! And then we can start getting ready for next year’s!