How is it November already? Have you started planning for Christmas? I know many people find themselves in a mad-rush during December trying to fit in Christmas parties, concerts and events, buying gifts, and planning a Christmas meal and travel plans, all while trying to stick to a budget. But it doesn’t have to be hectic and you can enjoy the Christmas season just by planning ahead.
I suggest keeping all your organisation for Christmas in the one place, whether that be in your Leanne Baker Daily planner or in a personalised Christmas notebook from Padtastic. The A5 size is perfect to carry in your handbag/backpack! Or choice A4 if you need more room. Both sizes have 100 pages each – plenty to organise all the different parts of Christmas each year!
Events, Parties and Travel Plans
Make sure every event and party you’ve been invited to has been written down, including RSVP dates. Make a list in your notebook of all the dates in November & December, and be sure not to double-book events, or overwhelm yourself with trying to attend too many events. Perhaps make a rule of only one event each weekend, and go to the ones that are really meaningful to you.
Make travel plans early and try to avoid travelling at the busiest times (unless you have to!) as you will find the most traffic on the road, and it will cost the most to fly. Write down your plans in your notebook. Making a plan early means travelling will be much less stressful.
Buying these early can save a rush at the end of the year, but as my kids get older I’ve noticed their tastes changes continually. As you think of or see something you like for your children, family or friends, write down their name and the gift idea and price, and then as it gets closer to Christmas, if they are still interested in the item, keep an eye on specials.
Try and set a budget for each person, and know that it’s impossible to buy for absolutely everyone you know – a great idea for big families, friendship groups or work colleagues is to do ‘Secret Santa’ where each person pulls another person’s name out of a hat, and then they buy for just that person.
To keep it simple for kids, you might like to follow the idea of buying in categories: purchasing something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read (you can extend this to something to do e.g. craft, something to share, something for the pool, something for school etc). Teacher gifts are sorted with Padtastic’s beautiful range of personalised notepads and notebooks!
Keep food and the preparation as simple as you can. If you like a hot roast meal on Christmas day with all the trimmings, ask others to assist you with bringing items, and then in the kitchen both leading up to the day and on the day. Or a variety of salads and cold meats definitely satisfies as well (and is great for a hot summer’s day)! Make as much as you can ahead of time.
Get the kids in the kitchen leading up to Christmas with some easy treats to bake ready for Christmas desserts and snacks – things like truffles, fudge, gingerbread men and Christmas cookies are always winners!
It’s so easy to go over budget at Christmas time, especially with gifts! A great idea is to purchase gift cards from Woolworths or Coles throughout the year so that you have money ready to go for groceries and food at Christmas time. This could also work for kids presents, especially if you like to purchase from particular shops, e.g. Kmart or Big W.
Many banks have Christmas Club accounts where you can transfer money into but can’t access it again until November. The Leanne Baker Daily budget books are perfect for recording your budget for Christmas, and then keeping track as you spend money on Christmas items.
Planning for all the little things
If you want to purchase the kids special outfits for the Christmas season, get a family Santa photo taken, create a list of ‘Advent Activities’ for the month of December (e.g. December 1st: put up the Christmas tree, December 2nd: Bake cookies) or a list of ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ to practice giving, use your notebook to create a page or two for each of these things. Once you have a list of pre-planned events, fit in all the extra things around it, and refer to these lists often. Having it all written down in one place means you are more likely to achieve all the things you’ve planned!
At the end of the day, the most special Christmas seasons are often the most simple too. Make sure to make time for yourself during the busy times, and focus on family and friends and making memories. I’d love to hear how you plan for Christmas, and what traditions you might have in your home?