January 9, 2023
You might be wondering why in the world I am writing about Christmas in January! Well, let me tell you how this past Christmas went for me.
In the midst of trying to grow out my business, some home things went to the wayside, holiday preparations being one of those items. Now Christmas is pretty simple at our house, but even a simple Christmas takes planning. Sad to say, I felt like something was biting me throughout the entire Christmas season of 2022. I had failed to plan well for the season, and every turn felt rushed and stressful to me. To be honest, I did not enjoy Christmas this year and was so relieved when it was over.
Some areas that I failed to plan:
Waited too late to buy gifts
Did not plan outfits for family pictures soon enough and some outfits did not fit well
Did not plan for taking family pictures soon enough
Decided to take a trip to Dollywood the week of Thanksgiving which sounds fun but this set me back seriously in planning and decorating. I will not be doing that again! Not to mention the fact that the crowds at Dollywood were unbelievable, and my husband I did not enjoy the trip. Our sole focus was keeping our children safe and helping them enjoy a few rides.
Did not try some recipes I had been wanting to try soon enough. This meant that I did not get a chance to incorporate any new dishes into our Christmas season.
Started Christmas cards too late. Christmas cards by far are the most stressful element of the holidays to me, but I view Christmas cards as an act of love for my family and friends and a way to keep in touch.
Now that I have presented a gray enough picture of ways I did not prepare well, let’s move to some brighter, more cheerful thoughts about how to improve for the next year.
Christmas is truly a blessed time of the year, and even though a tiny "Grinchy" corner of my heart wishes it didn’t come around, I am grateful for the opportunity to celebrate our Savior’s birth and the joy of family and friends. So instead of dreading Christmas next year, I want to embrace it with a better attitude and a better plan.
Recently, in one of my thrift store trips, I found a sweet book filled with ideas for family Christmas traditions. This book helped to soften my slightly hardened outlook on Christmas, and I hope to gain a few ideas for next year to make this season special for my family.
In order to better prepare for next year, the thought came to me, “Why don’t I create a series of holiday checkpoints throughout the year to help me prepare?” Then another thought came to me, “My lovely readers might enjoy hearing about these ideas and even benefit from them!”
One of my main goals for planning ahead more for the Christmas season is to have the ability and mental space to invite others to my home during the holiday season. This year I felt so stressed that to my shame, I did not invite many guests over. Some of my warmest Christmas memories are those shared in joyful fellowship, and I want to create that same Christmas joy in my home in 2023.
You may think some of the following ideas are extreme, but honestly, even waiting until the fall to prepare for Christmas is just not enough time for me. I need to start thinking a little about Christmas preparations throughout the whole year so that’s it’s not stressful to me.
So here are my Major Christmas Prep Goals for 2023
Have all my (major) shopping done by September 1
Pick outfits out for Christmas cards by October 1
Take Christmas pictures sometime in October, send pictures off to be printed
Write Christmas letter in early November
Have my Christmas letter written, cards addressed before Thanksgiving, then mail the week after Thanksgiving
Finish decorating before the end of November
Have all presents wrapped by early December
In order to make these goals happen, my plan is to think a little about Christmas each month. Following are some strategies to accomplish my major goals.
Make a list of people I would like to buy gifts for and jot down any ideas that come to me.
Keep a running list of gifts ideas that would work for anyone (for example, we received a beautiful box of Florida fruit this Christmas, my parents gave us their usual gift of English muffins from Wolferman’s)
Shop Christmas clearance
Read Christmas tradition book and mark any ideas that would work for us
Keep my eyes open for any sales on outfits that would work for Christmas pictures
Keep working on list of people to buy for and ideas
Work on any crafts for Christmas
Be on the lookout for gifts (thrift stores, too!)
Look through cookbooks for any new recipes and start trying
Keep a record of any recipes that would work for Christmas (You may be wondering why I want to try new recipes. I am on a quest to cook healthy for my family, and so I am having to establish new habits and traditions in that department.)
April through June—
Keep looking for gifts
Try new recipes and keep record of good ones
Finish Christmas crafts
Be on the lookout for gifts
Start planning the desired look I want to achieve in my decorating
Finalize Christmas shopping (I believe my mom’s goal growing up was to have most of the shopping done by August!)
Create my Christmas menu and several party menus
Start shopping for any décor to round out what I have
Finalize Christmas card outfits
Take Christmas pictures and order prints
Brainstorm ideas for Christmas letter (I like to write in a story fashion)
Start wrapping Christmas presents (a little extreme, I know, but wrapping presents is stressful to me if I’m rushed. I want to be able to relax and enjoy the process.)
Finish Christmas letter and address cards
Mail Christmas cards after Thanksgiving
Decorate tree right after Thanksgiving (there’s something in me that cringes to do this, but in order to have a stress-free Christmas, this needs to happen)
Enjoy crafts and baking with my kids
Invite people over
Many YouTubers and bloggers plan well in advance for the Christmas season, but they probably aren’t sharing all the preparation and work that takes place on the back end to produce a successful holiday. So, perhaps in an unusual way, I want to bring you, my wonderful readers, along with me on this journey to prepare better for Christmas.
Perhaps what I will do is at the beginning of each month, I will share my holiday checkpoints which will remind me to keep up with preparations and just maybe you will be helped and encouraged as well! I may look back on this blog post and laugh, but just maybe, these ideas will help disorganized me get a little more organized.
Maybe you think my ideas are as nutty as a bowl of mixed Christmas nuts, or maybe these ideas resonate with you! What are some of your strategies to prepare for Christmas? I'd love to hear any ideas that you have!
Again, thank you for bearing with a rather unusual post, but one of my main goals in writing this blog is truly to help people. Yes, I hope my readers are somewhat entertained, but honestly, if I can help someone live a richer, wiser life, my heart would be blessed.
So let’s start preparing for Christmas (already)!