With the challenging economy and the hustle bustle of the season, an organized family Christmas may seem impossible. I don't know too many people who think about the upcoming holidays without getting a little stressed. How are you going to do it all? Much less afford everything? It doesn't have to be this way. It really is possible to have a low-stress family Christmas and still stay organized.
Your plan doesn't have to be anything formal but if you really want to have an organized family Christmas you have to have a plan! Include a list of activities you want to do, gifts you need to buy, decorations to get, party supplies and anything else you think of that would normally stress you out. Making a plan will help keep the stress level down.
Start by writing down "must do's". Then "would like to do's" and finally "if possibles". Prioritize them and decide on dates.
Make a list of who you need to purchase gifts for, gift ideas and how much you want to spend on each person.
Once you have your list of gifts to buy and how much you want to spend on each person, it's time to add it all up. If it's too much on paper, it's going to be WAY too much when the shopping is all done. Look for ways you can trim it down to bring your list into "budget". Some things you can consider doing in order to trim how much you'll spend are...
- Decide to make gifts for some of the people on your list. Home made cookies, hot chocolate mix in a decorated jar, a hand-made crafted item are all much appreciated gifts.
- If you enjoy photography, frame a meaningful photo.
- If you like to a cook or bake, make some delicious salsa or bread to give as presents.
Or you could give a joint gift or a family gift rather than individual gifts to your family members. For example, purchasing a $300 gift for your family of four instead of spending $100 per person and you'll save $100!
Great ideas for family gifts might include a new computer, TV, music system, a trip to an indoor water park or even a new pet.
Short On Holiday Cash? Consider trading or bartering. If you have a particular skill or service you can offer, that makes it easier. For example, if you have a friend with little ones who sews, trade her sewing services with some babysitting time. There are many creative ways to have an organized family Christmas and make the most of it without spending a fortune. Use your imagination. All you have to do is think creatively and plan ahead. :-)
If you can, start shopping for holiday gifts before the season is in full swing. Use the Internet for as much shopping as possible too. It's a huge time saver. No long lines or crowds or looking for a parking spot. Try auction sites like eBay and Amazon. I've had great luck finding new and gently used items for gifts over the years. It's a very budget friendly way to shop.
Need to add to your current decoration supply? If so, make a list. I'm referring to decorations like holiday ornaments, table cloths, place settings, wreaths, etc. And don't forget the tree if you're going to purchase a fresh one!
If you're planning to have a Christmas party, you definitely need a list. It should include the number of guests invited, what you plan to serve, what you'll do and a timeframe. Also make a separate shopping list of ingredients you'll need to shop for.
Tip: Ask everyone to bring a dish to share. You can provide the main course and leave the rest to your guests. This is a really good time and money saver! Plus most folks don't mind bringing something and may have planned to do so anyway.
Follow these tips for an organized family Christmas and you'll have a low-stress, memorable time!