Ok, Halloween is behind us. Now, as much as I don’t want to skip over November and rush through Thanksgiving–it’s actually my favorite holiday–every year I try to use this month to accomplish as many Christmas tasks as I can, so that by the time December arrives, I’m in pretty good shape. Here’s how I use November to relax in December.
Take a Christmas Picture
Actually, I get a jump on Christmas cards a whole year before by shopping for cards on major clearance after Christmas. Then I pack them away so I don’t have to pay top-dollar for them in November. Our family hikes a ton in the fall, which affords us lots of photo opportunities. If I make sure to have my camera with me, I can get a shot of the girls to go with our Christmas card. I print out 40 or 50 copies at Wal-Mart, and all that’s left to do is address the envelopes!
Check Wrapping Supplies
I take five minutes to check my wrapping supplies in November, then pick up a roll or two of paper, shirt boxes, and tissue paper at the dollar store.
Shop for Gifts Every Friday
We have to budget for Christmas. I pay bills every Friday, so each week I allot $50 to buying Christmas gifts I’ve saved on my Amazon wish list throughout the year. Since we’re members of Amazon Prime, I never have to pay shipping and can have a box of Christmas gifts delivered each week.
Baking may not be your thing, but it’s a tradition in our family to make tons of different kinds of cookies each year. Not only do we have a cookie tray on the counter throughout the whole season, we use them as gifts for the neighbors and the kids’ teachers and bus drivers. So each week starting in mid-October, I make one kind of cookie and freeze them. If they need decorating, I sometimes save that step for the kids and I to do together when it gets closer to Christmas. My mom gets a headstart, too, so we often swap, making the work load even lighter. I also double my pie crust recipe when I make pumpkin pie so I have an extra pie shell if I need to bring a dessert to something.
Make and Freeze Side Dishes
Our family has about 4 Christmas dinners to attend every year–between in-laws, divorced parents, etc., we end up celebrating for days! I’m usually responsible for providing at least 1 side-dish each time, too, so I try to get a head start on cooking. Since we enjoy a lot of the same side dishes for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, I just double the ingredients when I make something for Thanksgiving, then freeze the chopped and prepped ingredients so all I have to do come Christmas is thaw and bake.
Shop for Christmas Dinner
Sometimes we host one of the Christmas dinners. If it’s our turn, I make a list of what I’m making and shop for the ingredients a little bit each week on my regular trips to the store. That way, I’m not stuck with a huge grocery bill at the worst time of year to spend more money.
Plan Christmas Activities
Finally, I take a look at our December calendar and plan out when our other Christmas activities will happen. We always get our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, so that’s on there. Sometimes we go to the Nutcracker, sometimes we celebrate with friends with a white elephant party, and my husband and I always try to squeeze a dinner/shopping/date night in. I get it all on the calendar in November to save my sanity in December!
What are your tricks for making use of the countdown to Christmas?
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