Christmas is just around the corner! If you haven’t started yet, you have just six weeks to get ready!
While I am not really a fan of the holidays, I like to plan them in advance, to avoid any added stress and unnecessary expenses.
A few years back, I had some family members book a flight at the last minute to come and visit me, and while I was really happy they got to do that, I found myself running around the stores to find presents and buy food for them, and that was HELL.
So now, I come prepared. Christmas comes around every single year, so there are no excuses. The more you wait, the more expensive and complicated it will be.
My mother has a presents box that I have always thought was a brilliant idea. During the year, she would fill that box with items that go on sale, starting in January with Christmas themed stuff at 80% off. Then she would get chocolates in summer, candles, and other small evergreen gifts.
If she gets invited to a Christmas gathering, she would dig through her box and have a small present ready to go! She would also buy wrapping paper and decorations, or carefully keep nice present bags from things she received, to reuse and repurpose. The presents box also serves for birthday gifts and other occasions.
I do something similar, when I am around shopping and find something that would be a great gift for someone, I buy it right away if it’s on sale, then give it to them at Christmas.
If it is not on sale, I make a note of the item, so I don’t have to scratch my head for ideas come Christmas time, and I can also keep an eye for discounts and vouchers during the year.
The same goes for food. A lot of the things you eat at Christmas can be stored months in advance. If you have enough space in your freezer, you can get your turkey as soon as possible! The prices go up right before Christmas because the stores know you are pressed for time and you’ll buy the items anyway. In my family, we eat duck and goose patés and other delicacies that come in cans. You can keep these for years. They are usually at least half off in January, so I do stock up for next Christmas.
I also have a set budget to make Christmas affordable. Yes, you want to have a good time with your family and loved ones. That doesn’t mean you have to overspend. Some of the best memories I have about Christmas are about having a big family meal together, not opening expensive gifts. As a matter of fact, I don’t remember most gifts. You can have an agreement with your family to do Secret Santa or only gifts for kids for example.
Want some more Christmas preparation tips? Check out this cool infographic from Choose Wisely!