• Mandy Marshall

5 Holiday Planning Ideas

Updated: Dec 13, 2018

When it comes to making plans for the holiday season, it is easy to find yourself buried in an avalanche of garland, tinsel, gold glitter cups, ornaments, fake or real pine tree needles and debris, and other holiday party accessories. But wait, gold glitter cups and party planning aren’t your areas of expertise, you say? Fear not, my friend, for we are here to help you make surviving the holiday season a breeze with some awesome holiday planning ideas that will have you planning like a pro! Fill that glitter tumbler of yours with eggnog or hot cocoa, slap on a Santa hat or reindeer antlers, and grab your favorite notebook and pen, because we have got some holly jolly work to do!

5 Holiday Planning Ideas

1. Do NOT agree to attend every holiday event you are invited to. The spirit of Christmas is in the air, and that means your calendar is likely about to be flooded with invitations to all sorts of holiday events, such as family gatherings, holiday parties with friends, holiday parties at your work or your significant other’s work (or both), religious ceremonies, Christmas light shows, hot chocolate dates, fun winter activities, the list is never ending. However, while there is a good chance that you will receive a plethora of invites to festive events this year, you will want to be hesitant before committing to every single event. While the holidays are loads of fun, they can also be quite stressful, so you will want to keep that in mind before agreeing to go to every event you are invited to. Many people have several family gatherings and holiday parties to go to, some of which may fall on the same day, or even at the same time. Weigh your options and only commit to events you know you don’t want to miss. What’s even worse is telling a host or hostess that you will attend their event, then not show up at all because you ran out of time, thus wasting their time, efforts, and money spent on making sure there were enough drinks and food to include you. A polite decline is far better than a no show. The holiday season is only with us for such a short while, so it makes sense to want to live up every bit of it to the fullest while we can. Be this as it may, there is only so much time in the day and only so many events you can commit to without spreading yourself too thin. Remember, Santa gets to go back to the North Pole and relax until next Christmas, but you don’t. You have to go back to work or school, or tend to the kids, or one of the million other things on your to-do list, so play it smart and only commit to going to events that you know you truly want to attend.

2. Know your budget. Before you get swept up in decking the halls, it would be good to have a rough idea of what you are willing to spend this holiday season. Gifts are bound to take up a big chunk of change, but you also have to take into consideration the money you will spend on holiday décor, travel expenses if you plan to travel for the holidays, hostess gifts or dishes for parties you’re invited to, party supplies and food for parties you’re hosting, any holiday charities you might donate to, gift wrapping supplies, the cost of holiday activities, the list goes on and on. Knowing how much money you can comfortably spend this holiday season before you start spending can save you a lot of money, and a headache, in the long run. Overspending for the holidays is a surefire way to put a “bah humbug” in your bank account. First and foremost, make sure all of your bills and necessities are covered before making any holiday splurges. We all want to give as much as we can to our loved ones during the holidays, but going into debt to do so isn’t wise. Plus, do you really want to spend the rest of December eating whatever soup is left in the pantry because you overspent on holiday gifts and festivities? I think not, so plan your funds accordingly before you shop and you won’t regret it. This way, you will be financially proactive instead of reactive, and you will thank yourself for it later.

3. Have a timeline in mind for holiday events and stick to it. If you are one of the many folks who have a myriad of family and friend gatherings and parties to go to during the holidays, chances are you are going to have some events that are scheduled on the same day. If this happens and you plan to attend both (or more) events, you are going to want to have a game plan, especially if any of the events are occurring closely related in time. Try jotting down a list of all of the places you need to be and what time you need to be there. Once that’s down, you can calculate the driving time of how long it will take you to get from one gathering to the next. Once those things have been outlined for you, you will be able to figure out how much time you can comfortably spend at each event without having to do a mad dash to rush and make it to the next shindig in time. However, when the day of the festivities arrives, you probably don’t want to glance at a clock or check your phone the whole time you are at the party or gathering to be conscious of the time. To avoid this, you could set an alarm on your phone to vibrate (with no sound) and keep it in your pocket so you will feel it go off when it’s time to head out. I would suggest setting the alarm for fifteen or twenty minutes before you need to take off so that way you and your family or friends can say your goodbyes and you will be able to make a swift and timely exit that will keep you on track to being on time for the next scheduled event.

4. Keep a ridiculous amount of tape on hand. Tape is a hot commodity during the holiday season. I kid you not, tape (or the lack thereof) has caused far too many major holiday meltdowns on occasions when I’ve had to wrap a last minute gift on the way out of the door and didn’t have any tape or couldn’t find where I had left it. When you’re out shopping for holiday supplies this season, buy extra tape. Heck, when you’re out shopping for anything this time of year, buy tape. I promise, you cannot have too much tape during the holidays. Between wrapping presents, hanging up holiday decorations, and regular tape usage, you will run out of that adhesive roll of clear magic faster than you think. Be prepared by having extra tape at the ready so you know you won’t run out when you need it the most. I also suggest keeping extra tape in multiple locations of your home, that way if you manage to lose the current roll of tape you’re working off of (as I so often do) you will immediately know where to find more tape.

5. Shop for next year’s holiday supplies after the season ends this year. The best time to shop for holiday supplies is immediately after the end of the holiday season. Many stores mark down holiday items from 50% to 90% off beginning as early as the day after Christmas. If you shop right after the season ends, you can purchase your wrapping paper, holiday party supplies, tape (tons of tape), gift tags, ornaments, indoor holiday décor, outdoor holiday decorations, and even gifts and gift sets at significant discounts. Not only will you save a boat load of money on holiday supplies by shopping for them at the end of the season, but you will also be able to breathe easier when the holidays roll around next year because you will already be prepared by having such items on hand, setting the scene for an even more stress free holiday next year.

While it’s no secret that the holidays can be hectic, they don’t have to be stressful or daunting. The holiday season is a time to be merry and cheerful, a time of year that everyone should enjoy, so the last thing you want is a case of the holiday blues to set in. By implementing some (or all) of these holiday planning ideas, you will set the scene for a fun filled, action packed, and stress free holiday season. We wish you the best of luck with your holiday planning and we hope that you and your family have a wonderful holiday!

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