I love the holidays and over the years I’ve learned that a little bit of intentionality goes a long way during this busy time of year. Busyness is a choice and if you take time to plan well before Thanksgiving, you will minimize the stress and mom guilt. Here are a few tips on how you can save time, money and your sanity this year.
HAVE A PLAN. Take a few hours to journal out your goals for this holiday season. Life changes and it’s unrealistic to assume that each year will look the same. What new constraints do you need to take into consideration? What special experiences do you want your kids to have this year? Who do you want to see this year?
FOCUS ON THE LONG GAME. There are so many fun things we can do this time of year with our kids but they do not all have to happen this year. Pick 1 or 2 traditions that you want to happen every year for your family and then pick 1 or 2 new things you want to do this year. It will help you think wisely about when is the right time to do the bigger things on your holiday memory wish list and eliminate some of the “mom guilt” of needing to fit so many activities in to your life.
HAVE A LIST. Write out a list of you are buying gifts for this year and a few ideas of what you want to get them. For my kids, I limit myself to 3-4 gifts for each of them. I opt for something to read, something to wear, something they want, and then something they need. Having a list and taking time to brainstorm ideas of what they really want prevents me from buying random things even if they are on sale. I also make better use of my shopping time.
PICK A DEFAULT GIFT. Write out a list of all the neighbors, teachers, co-workers, extended family, etc. that you want to give something to this year. Brainstorm a default gift idea that would be a nice gesture to all of them. A few ideas: a Starbucks gift card in a mug, movie gift cards, a homemade treat, a fuzzy blanket, or a candle. I personally make up a movie night goodie bag with a code for a free Redbox rental.
BUILD ANTICIPATION FOR SOMETHING COMING. As parents, it can sometimes feel like there is so much pressure to over do it with presents at Christmas. I personally want to teach my kids to be thankful and appreciative for all the things I do for them. Last year we had planned a trip to Salt Lake City for Spring Break and told our kids about that for Christmas. On Christmas morning, they got new winter coats and duffle bags for the trip. It was things we already needed but helped them see the future trip as something to be excited about and a privilege. Has your child been wanting to do gymnastics? Sign them up as their gift and wrap up a new leotard.
HAVE A WISH LIST. I have an Amazon Wish List set up for each of my kids. I share that with all of our family members. I put lots of options on there and let them pick what they’d like to give. I also included a few experience ideas (annual passes to the zoo or to someplace like Gymboree). Having the list prevents me from feeling the need to buy all of the items myself. Over the years, I’ve learned that the gifts add up fast. No matter how frugal or disciplined I am, they always end up with way more than I anticipated.
DELEGATE. It’s not all on you! Are you hosting a meal for your family or planning a party? We are all grown ups and know how hard and expensive it can be to host. Plan out the meals where you have the main course but then ask others to contribute specific items. You can also plan an assembly style meal where everyone brings different items for the buffet. I love using website like SignupGenius where guests can sign up to bring specific items.
BUY BIG AND THINK DUAL PURPOSE. We put our Christmas tree up Black Friday and my kids wear their Christmas jammies that night. I know it’s silly but I do feel like Christmas jammies are a necessity. I opt for buying them a size too big and going for a plaid print that they can wear year round. I bought my big boys (8 and 4) jammies from Macy’s last year on sale and will get our 1 year old a matching set this year. I also bought the boys bright red polo shirts from Target last year which still fit. They wore them for Valentine’s day, 4th of July, Apple day at school and they will be their go to “Christmas shirt” this year for parties and events.
I’ve created a FREE E-BOOK to help you stay organized this holiday season. I hope that it helps you enjoy every minute of this special time of year. Check out and reach out to me on social media if I can help in any way.