It’s never too early to start preparing for Christmas! There is no such thing as being too prepared so I’ve been doing lots of little things over the past month that usually drive me crazy if I wait until the last minute.
1) Make a Christmas list. Not of things you want, you’re not 8 years old. Make a list of your family & friends that you usually exchange with, and start jotting down ideas of what you’d like to give them. It doesn’t have to be perfected, lots of ideas are okay!
2) Start collecting wrapping accoutrement. Lots of cute stuff is on the shelves as early at September and you know you’ll need it. Stock up on wine gift bags (reusable ones are an extra little gift), regular gift bags, bows, ribbon, wrapping paper, boxes, tape & gift tags. A great way to ensure that your getting the most for your money is to think neutral colors. Silver & gold can be used all year round for birthday, wedding & house warming gifts. Rolls of butcher paper in white or tan are also a great buy because it’s so versatile (look for them at a craft/art store or at a teaching supply store). If you give a lot of the same gift, check out online shops that sell boxes & wrapping paper in bulk. Usually if you spend over a certain amount, you’ll earn complimentary shipping.
3) Make your own gift bows.
4) Collect addresses & double-check old ones. If you’re planning on mailing cards or gifts, don’t wait to do this! All it takes is a phone call, a text or an e-mail. Or looking someone up using Yahoo! People Search or WhitePages, a/k/a stalking.
5) Practice! If you are making gifts by hand, make a few for yourself first to make sure you have it perfected. Everyone loves a hand-made gift, but not a shoddy one that’s falling apart or tastes terrible.
6) Take advantage of pre-holiday sales. Yes, they exist! Especially online. Look for deals on holiday photo cards and get them out of the way early… even if it means dressing your entire family in matching Santa sweaters in September to stage the shot. Check out Tiny Prints and Shutterfly.
7) Start shoppin’! Buying early gives you time to order things online & exchange them if need be. It also gives you an opportunity to shop without being mobbed by crowds. Designate a room or a part of your closet to store wrapping supplies and gifts. If you have to be sneakier than that, acquire a large (opaque) bin and label it something boring like “Dad’s sci-fi books” or “Pine cone collection”… anything your kids would have no desire to peek at. If you don’t have any specific gift ideas yet, pick up a bottle of wine here & there. They are great for last minute gifts, or for someone hard to shop for. And then hide them from yourself so you don’t drink them!