Thursday, November 4, 2010

Preparing for the Holidays

Several months back, I wrote about planning for Christmas in July.  Now that it is November, it's time to step the plannng up!  Note that this is not about rushing the season (I was appalled to see a local town center already decorated for Christmas the other day!), but about planning the tasks and budget ahead in order to be able to celebrate the season frugally and well.

Here are the ways I'm preparing for the holiday season right now:

Listing priorities - My extra time is very limited these days, and I know how quickly the days of December flash by.  I love Christmas so much, and it is a holy time for us, so this year I am making a list of priorties.  What do I really want to make sure that we do during Advent and Christmas, and what is not important?  I want to make sure that we make time for what really matters.

Assessing my savings - The time for saving for the holidays is just about over, so now I am collecting and evaluating what I have saved.  I'm cashing in our credit card points for cash and my Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards.  Then I'll count up what I have, in both cash and gift cards, and that is what we have to spend on Christmas.  Which brings me to my next step:

Creating a budget - One of the hardest jobs - dividing up the money we have among all the extra expenses of the holidays.  For us that includes gifts for our family and extended family (fairly numerous!), our tree, Christmas cards, extra food, and our angel tree children. 

Listing gift ideas - My parents and brothers and sisters and I exchange gift idea lists at the beginning of November.  The idea is not to get the "greedies" on, but to get an idea of each other's interests, since we don't necessarily see each other as much as we would like.  My own children are still young enough that I mostly make their wish lists for them, but now is the time that I am assessing their toys and thinking about what they might like.  I'm also going through my "gift stash" to see what items I already have for certain people or that might work as a generic gift for a teacher or coworker.

Watching for early deals - I've already ordered 20 Christmas cards and only paid shipping through a Snapfish promo that ended on Sunday.  I'm hoping to get at least 20 more through a similar promo some time this month.  One advantage to the shopper of stores' getting ready for Christmas so early is that they roll out the deals early.  Especially if you have certains items that you are sure you want, now is the time to start looking.  Set up alerts for Amazon on CamelCamelCamel, so you know when a desired item reaches your target price.

It might seem overwhelming or stressful to start thinking about the holidays now, but trust me, it will be much more overwhelming and stressful later if you don't!  A good plan and budget is the key to getting your holidays off to a great start!

What are you doing to plan for the holidays now?

Check out Frugal Fridays at Life as Mom and Mrs. Moneysaver for more frugal ideas!


  1. I've already baked and frozen a batch of cut-out cookies, LOL! I totally agree the sooner you start, the easier it is.
    When my kids were little, I'd tell them to list anything they want, and I'd pick from that list. That way, they got what they wanted but were surprised, too, because they didn't know what I'd pick.
    I tell you, though, now that they are all in their 20s and working, it's harder to get things for them. My daughter is easy--girls usually are, but the 3 boys are tough. I miss the element of surprise that little things brought.
    BTW, I have a simple tutorial for a little notepad you can carry in your wallet with your lists on it, over on my blog.

  2. Hi Frugally Blonde! First, I love your blog. I write The DC Frugalista and I saw that you were looking for more deals for Christmas cards. Shutterfly is doing a promotion for bloggers that when you write a post about your favorite Shutterfly Christmas card design and submit it, they give you 50 free cards of any style, your choice! It takes only a few days after you submit to get the code. Here's the link if you're interested



Thanks for commenting. I love to hear your feedback!