Pre-Holiday Checklist 2015

There never seems to be enough time to prepare for the holidays, but if you go into this year's holiday season with an airtight strategy...

There never seems to be enough time to prepare for the holidays, but if you go into this year's holiday season with an airtight strategy, you'll find yourself enjoying the next few months immensely. Christmas is arguably the most stressful holiday to prepare for presents, travel plans, and more which means a hectic few weeks. Starting early will help you enjoy this holiday season without unnecessary stress.

Menu Planning

If you'll be hosting your family and friends this year and are in charge of meals, there's no time like the present to start planning your menus. Prepare a cache of recipes, and organize by day and specific occasion. Once you have your meals planned, peruse your list to determine if there are casseroles or other items you can make in advance and freeze. Trust me, you'll save yourself hours on an actual day. Another great thing to do in the weeks before a holiday is baking. Cookies and bread can easily be frozen and defrosted. Never find yourself empty handed when a friend drops by with an unexpected present, as you'll be able to wrap up some cookies or baked goods to gift in return.

Last-Minute Shopping Is Not A Bargain

Waiting to buy Christmas-related necessities is sure to mean higher prices. If you've got a party coming up and need an occasion-appropriate outfit, order a Tipsy Elves ugly Christmas sweater to make sure you're decked out for the event. Waiting will only translate into a more expensive purchase or sold out items. Decorations for Christmas are often put out by Halloween, and sometimes even before. Once you see them, grab 'em.

Gifts Galore

Finding the right presents for all the special people in your life is a heavy task, but you can make the process more streamlined with just an hour of planning. Start by sitting down and writing down the names of each person you intend on buying a gift, and also write down any Christmas bonuses you'll want to dole out for the babysitter, gardener etc. Next to each name write a maximum budget, and then a few examples of items that would fall under your price limit. This will help you better assess just how much Christmas gifts will cost you this year, and reduce your risk of falling into common Christmas debt.

Travel Plans

Traveling during the busiest season of the year can be extremely stressful and expensive. Always price check your flights. Sites like make it easy to compare different airlines and offerings, and the savings can be immense. Book early and if you haven't booked yet, hop to it. Prices will go up exorbitantly in the next few weeks and months. Avoid peak travel dates if you can — flights and traffic on Christmas Eve are notoriously awful, so if you can, try to fly on Christmas Day proper. You should also start packing your essentials early. Put any small liquids into baggies ahead of time and this little task will save you headaches while dealing with TSA. Learn how to pack light as most airlines now charge a fee for even a single checked bag.

Decoration Station

As the Christmas holiday looms closer, it will soon become time to decorate your home. Pull out your decorations and spend a few hours throwing out any broken ornaments, replacing dead bulbs, and picking out your favorite pieces. If you're like me and have accumulated mass amounts of decorations throughout the years, it's important that you do an annual cleanse. As you pull out your decorations, make a wrapping station with any old rolls of Christmas paper and bows. Know what you have before you go out and buy 10 more rolls that you don't need.

Keep The Kiddos Busy

One of the best parts of the holidays is getting to experience the magic of the season through the eyes of your little ones. Plan out Christmas crafts to do with your kids ahead of time and prepare yourself with all the necessary materials. By making it a priority and having all that you need, you'll have nothing in your way, meaning you can make memories that will last a lifetime. The holidays are also a wonderful time to show your children how to give back, so plan to do several Goodwill missions that will set an amazing example. This quality time is invaluable, so set aside a few days this upcoming season to truly experience all that the holiday season has to offer, including community events and Christmas parties.

With a bit of foresight and a few hours of planning, you can make your 2015 holiday season the best with minimal stress and maximum enjoyment.

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Contributed By: Kimberly


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