Yes, I am one of those people that starts planning for Christmas super early in the year. In fact, I start my planning in September! It may seem extreme to some, but I really love doing it this way. It seems to make everything a lot easier and it makes the actual Christmas season a whole lot less stressful.
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Here’s what has worked for us!
Make a Plan – In the month of September, I start planning out what we want to purchase for each of our family members/extended family. There may be one or two people that have me stumped until November or so, but for the most part I will have a full list by the time October rolls around.
Start Purchasing – Once I have my list of things to purchase completed, I start buying gifts. I try to purchase one gift at each pay period, so that we are not having to spend a bunch of money all at one time in December. This also allows me to order gifts online, without worrying about paying extra for expedited shipping costs a few weeks before Christmas. One of the BEST ways to cheapen up your Christmas shopping is to use Ebates. This is a service I’ve used for YEARS and it helps you get cashback on purchases you were already going to make. You look at the stores they have available and search by store or by product type. One way that I’ve found I can REALLY maximize my cashback (and get a lot of free stuff) is by using Ebates to shop at Khols. This means I’m getting both Khols cash and Ebates cashback and it is a HUGE game changer. Sign up for Ebates here for free (they never charge you) and you can even get $10 off your first purchase!
Prioritize – I try to keep an eye out for sales on items I want to purchase, and oftentimes I’m able to buy a lot of gifts on clearance a few months before Christmas! While I do like ordering a lot of the online shopping early, there are certain things I wait on, because I know they will be on sale closer to Christmas. For example, I always order custom wall calendars filled with pictures of the kids, for each set of grandparents. I save these gift purchases for November, because Minted usually does special Christmas deals during that month.
Box It Up – I keep a special box in the back of our closet, and store all the christmas gifts there. I do not pre-wrap them, because I don’t want to forget what I’ve already purchased for everyone! I also love wrapping everything up in December, so I save that task for last. It gives us plenty of time to make our own footprint wrapping paper too!
Stay Stress Free! – I think the best part about starting to plan this early, is that it enables me to be less stressed in the holiday season. I don’t have to drag my toddlers out to the mall to pick up last minute gifts, and I don’t have to stress about having enough money for rent and presents in the month of December! I try to have most, if not all of my Christmas shopping done on December 1st, so that we can just focus on fun stuff in December, like doing the Jesse tree, baking Christmas cookies with my kids and looking at lights!
Save for gift cards – Lastly, I work with swagbucks to earn gift cards. A few years ago I tried a lot of online ways to earn gift cards and fell of the wagon with all of them except swagbucks. They are by far the easiest I’ve found to use, and I’ve gotten several “free” Christmas gifts for people simply by racking up points, starting in September and using them on Target or Amazon gift cards! You start with 150 swagbucks if you sign up for free swagbucks! This is my third year using them and they are still just as easy as they were on day one!
The next thing that can really help you save, is getting paid for all of the clothes your kids grew out of this Summer. I found this amazing company called ThredUp that makes it super easy.
You order “clean out kits” which they will send to you. These are huge bags you can stuff all yours and your kid’s outgrown or unused clothing in, then mail it back! The clean out kit comes to you with postage already covered, so all you have to do is drop it off at the post office, you don’t even pay shipping!
Then, they go through your bag and give you credit for everything they will keep to sell on their site. It’s a great way to clear out closets and easily make some of that money back.
If you’re like me, this is way easier than driving around with bags of things to donate in the trunk that you never quite take in.
When you sign up with this link you’ll also be given $10 credit immediately to use in their store (hello, school-clothes shopping) AND you can get a referral link so YOU can offer the same deal to your friends and get rewarded to it. Everybody wins!
When do you start planning for Christmas? How do you keep from getting stressed out during the Christmas season?
While we are talking Christmas I wanted to share an awesome book with you. It’s all about having a simpler Christmas, and that’s really the point of planning early, isn’t it? This is a helpful book with lots of bonus printables to help you find a beautiful and simple Christmas.
It is filled with resources, encouragement and helpful tips to help make this the easiest and most memorable Christmas yet!
Looking for more Christmas posts? Check out these other posts I’ve shared!