Do you get stressed out over Christmas preparation? Do you feel like there are just too many things to do? Christmas time is truly magical but preparation time can make you feel overwhelmed really quickly. This is why it’s so important to simplify your Christmas preparations and truly get into the spirit of the Holiday.
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Can Preparing for Christmas be really simplified?
The short answer is absolutely yes! When you think about it, it is very likely that you are the one who is making it complicated and stressful for yourself.
Your Christmas preparation to-do list is never ending and it likely often led you to the feeling of being overwhelmed. I myself remember times when I spent so much time on cleaning, cooking and everything in between that by the time Christmas arrived, I was too tired to fully enjoy it.
Does that sound like you?
If it does, it is time to make Christmas preparation less stressful. Here are the three simple rules:
- Plan Ahead and Prioritize
- Remember the true spirit of Christmas
- Create a Simple Checklist
Remember two things. One, you are in charge of deciding how simple or how elaborate you want your Christmas to be! And two, you have the power to delegate 😊
3 Decision You Have to Make to Start Planning for Christmas
The first step is to make a few decisions about the upcoming Christmas season. Those are high level decisions, but they will set you up for success from the very beginning. They truly set the tone for the preparation.
Decision One: Your Christmas Priorities and Must Haves
One of the main reasons why Christmas preparation can be stressful is because we are trying to do too much! We look up to movies or social media influencers and try to emulate the Christmas atmosphere that you see in their pictures or videos.
But you forget that you do not see behind the scenes! You don’t know how ‘real’ that picture really is.
Instead, start thinking about what is most important for you and your family. Which traditions you want to keep and which ones you don’t care for? Which Christmas treats do you enjoy cooking or baking and which ones are you fine to buy prepared?
Pick a few priorities for your Christmas season and concentrate on those. That in itself will make planning and preparation so much simpler.
RELATED: How to Plan and Track Goals
Decision Two: Where will you celebrate Christmas
The last decision you have to make is about where you will celebrate Christmas. Will you be the one hosting guests in your house or will you be going to your family or friends.
It makes a huge difference in a lot of preparation aspects. If you are hosting the party, you will have a lot more house cleaning and food preparation to do. If you are going to see your family out of town or state, you might make some travel arrangements.
Making this decision ahead of time will help you get into the right mindset of planning.
Decision Three: Budget
This is definitely the most stressful area for a lot of families. Without planning ahead the Christmas budget, you will find yourself struggling really quickly. You will likely overspend, put things on a credit card, and start a new year with some (or a lot) debt.
Set up your budget in advance. The best practice is to set up in January so you can incorporate setting aside some money to the Christmas fund each paycheck.
But regardless what time of year you are planning your Christmas, make sure you set a budget!
Your budget should include two main things: gifts, decorations, and food.
Making the budget decision at the very beginning will help you simplify a lot of Christmas preparation decisions down the line – like which gifts to get and what kinds of meals you will be preparing.
Remember About Spiritual Preparation for Christmas
When we think about Christmas preparation and planning we too often forget what Christmas is all about. And simply put it’s about Jesus, family, and love. You need to keep that in a forefront during that season to help us feel more at peace and less stress about things that in reality have nothing to do with the spirit of Christmas.
Use Advent Season for Spiritual Reflection
If you are Catholic like me, we prepare for Christmas through an advent season. You can have an advent calendar that your kids will enjoy as they count down to the Christmas Day. Each day can be dedicated to talking about a specific topic, Bible verse, or an act of kindness. There are a lot of different possibilities. The idea is to include spiritual preparation and not just the physical one.
Create Memories with Family Traditions
Our lives get very busy, especially around Holidays. It is so easy to get pulled into the constant cleaning, gift buying, and food prepping. But I think it’s very important to make time to create little traditions that your families will enjoy. Because in the end, what really matters is looking back at this time a few years down the line and remembering the fun and meaningful things you go to do with you loved ones. Everything else will come second – or not really remembered at all.
You can bond with your loved ones over the smallest Christmas traditions. One of my favorite things to do with my kids is decorating the ginger bread house. It costs about $10 and it provides a couple of hours of fun. My kids are still small: 6 and 3, so our end product is not necessarily pretty, but it provides so much entertainment! We laugh and giggle as we get the icing all over our hands and have to constantly chase our dogs away as they are trying to eat all the candy.
Activities like that create stronger bonds, simply because you get to spend quality time with loved ones. It is something that is special for you and you family. It can be a cookie baking day, or going to pick a Christmas tree as a family, or maybe it’s spending the Christmas day in your pajamas.
Don’t think that your Christmas traditions need to be big. They can be very small – the important thing is that they come from a place of love. That is what your kids and loved ones will remember. That special bond that was created when you made them feel special by spending some quality time with them.
Simple Christmas Preparation Checklist
Let’s get into the details of how to prepare for Christmas. The easiest way for me to remember everything is to create a checklist. The checklist should serve as a tracking tool. When we have things written down it cuts down our mental clutter. It helps to keep us organized and on track.
Christmas preparation checklists should be simple and organized in a way that is easy to follow. Grab a FREE Christmas Preparation Checklist and add any additional tasks to the list.
First items or your checklist should be Christmas cards. Most of you probably do it in some form or fashion. Whether that mailing a card or sending an electronic one.
If you decide to go all out and have a personalized family Christmas card, you need to plan taking a picture, designing the cards, ordering them, and sending them out.
Next on the list is Christmas gifts. Step number one is to create a list of people you should be buying the gifts for, The second thing is to assign an individual dollar amount for each person. This will be based on the budget you have created. Create a gift tracker list for yourself or grab one from the Christmas Planner Kit.
It will also make it really simple to write down some gift ideas and track your spending for gifts. As an added bonus, you can refer to this list next year to make sure you don’t buy the same gift and to help you adjust your budget.
Decorations can take you a few hours or a few days depending on how you want to decorate. Will your decorations be indoor, outdoor or both? Do you have to buy anything new or do you already have everything?
Christmas decorations can definitely be done ahead of Christmas to help you get into the spirit of this magical holiday.
You can go as fancy as you want! But since you are trying to simplify, pick a focal area in your house. Most likely that will be your living room or a family room. The space where you will actually be spending a lot of time during Christmas should be the one where you should put some Christmas touches.
Keep one thing in mind – whatever you put up, will have to come done in a few weeks 🙂 Therefore, if you don’t like the clean up part, consider simplifying this year.
When you do your Christmas preparation, you should think about what you will wear. What will you wear to Church and what will you wear for a family gathering.
Do you already have an outfit in your closet? That would definitely make things easier 🙂
If you like the idea of matching Pj’s for your family, put that on the list and get them early.
The next item on the Christmas preparation checklist is a big one. And that is the Christmas menu. You want to plan ahead what food you will be making. If you are going to someone else’s house to celebrate – make sure that you ask what you should bring.
If you are hosting Christmas dinner or gathering, this will be much more time consuming.
Start with creating a menu. Think of appetizers, main course, desserts, and drinks. This is also the time when you can start thinkin what menu items you can ask other people to bring.
This is the simplifying part! You don’t have to cook and bake everything that you will be serving. People are usually more than happy to bring something with them to a family gathering.
Cleaning the House Before Christmas
Another part of Christmas Preparation is definitely house cleaning. Especially if you are hosting Christmas at your house. This is an area where I tend to go overboard and clean too much. One of the things that you want to avoid is to spend so much time on cleanin that by the time Christmas comes around you are too tired to truly enjoy it.
I have a system on how I clean my house. It includes a weekly cleaning routine and deep cleaning routine. This system really helps me to stay on track with all the house cleaning tasks. What I like to do before Christmas, or before any big family gatherings in my house, is to plan ahead what and when I will clean.
Take out your calendar and start planning your cleaning tasks. If you spread them out over a couple of weeks, it will not fell as overwhelming.
And remember! People are coming to your house to spend time with you and not to look in every nook and cranny to see if it’s clean.
And now to the most important part of Christmas preparation and that is celebrating it. Christmas is a magical time – and we need to do everything we can to preserve that feeling. Make sure you celebrate little moments not only on Christmas Day but during the preparation itself.
Make Christmas preparation a family tradition. Have some treats or dishes that family favorites. Have a tradition of watching a Christamas movie or going around the neighborhood enjoying the Christmas decorations.
Merry Christmas to You and Your Family!