I know what you’re thinking.. “Holiday season already?! Make it stop!” Each year it seems like retail is pushing the holidays out sooner and sooner. While the holiday season is a time of celebration and family, it can bring a lot of added stress. We are not saying you have to start blasting Jingle Bells in October or decking the halls just yet, but you should try to get ahead in other ways.

So how can we prepare now?

1. Plan Ahead

If you find yourself bored one weekend, sit down with a journal and do a brain dump of everything that you do during the holiday season. Include everything from family traditions, community events, annual donations, to people you want to give gifts to and food you want to make. Once you have it all down, take a look at it and see how realistic it is. What can you take away from the list? Figure out what list is best for you to have a successful holiday season without stressing yourself out.

2. Develop A Budget

Money is one of, if not the, biggest stressor around the holiday season. By planning a budget early you will know how much you need to save in the next few coming months. Having a set budget will also stop you from overspending (or at least try to). If you realize that your budget has to be lower than past years, it is good to know that beforehand. Talk to family about skipping gifts, drawing names, or setting price limits.

3. Start Shopping Early

Once the steps above have been completed, it will be easier for you to start your shopping early. With a list of who you want to give gifts to, you can start brainstorming ideas and looking out for early sales. Start picking up little things like stocking stuffers while you are running errands so it doesn’t seem like too much at once. Shopping early will save you so much time.

4. Plan Fun Events

There are always so many parties, charity events, or seasonal activities during the holiday season. We always say oh I can’t wait to go ice skating this year, or bake cookies and watch movies, but then we forget and never find the time to do it. Start making a Holiday Bucket List so that when the time comes, you have plenty of fun to choose from.

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