Planning for Christmas, in July

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If you had asked me as a young adult if I considered myself a Type A or B personality, I definitely would have stated I was a Type B. I was a theatre kid. I did dance and choir and those are things Type B people do. But that would be a lie. I just didn’t realize how Type A I was until I had tiny people I had to keep alive and a household I had to keep functioning.

Fast forward to summer and, yes, I’m planning for Christmas! Things I frequently hear from my husband include, “Do we need to talk about this now?” “Do you really need to make a list?” “Are you buying Christmas presents?” “STOP BUYING CHRISTMAS PRESENTS!”

I will not. Here are some things I am doing to keep myself sane before the first snowflake even hits the ground:

Make a list

Making a list helps to keep me from compulsive buying and helps to see a layout of all Christmas giving plans (St. Nicholas Day, Christmas eve and Christmas day). In our family culture, everyone is limited to three gifts so writing it out in advance means I can be extra intentional with my kids’ gifts. I keep an ongoing list on my phone and whenever I hear someone say something that hints at a good Christmas gift, I write it down! Not only that but I do it for myself! When I’m asked what I want for Christmas I just open up my Out of Milk app!

Start asking

Recently while writing out my list I casually asked my three year old what he wanted for Christmas, and I was completely surprised when he gave me a real answer! Lightning McQueen roller skates. Not only would I have never thought of that on my own, a quick search showed me this was a real item I could buy. Check, check, check.

Delegate

Has unseen labor been a topic in your household lately because it sure has been in mine! How often are you the one doing all the work and completely hating the Christmas season before it’s even here because you’re so exhausted from everything you have to do? So don’t. Last week, I tried this: “I remember last year you mentioned that you want us to get a new board game on Christmas eve that we could all play together. Why don’t you be in charge of that?” Is it an Earth shaking balance in our household? No, but it’s a step in the right direction, and I still have four months to add to the expectation.

Budget

Planning for Christmas for sure requires a budget of some kind. Once you have your list written out you can get an easy idea of how much money you’ll need to have on hand. Rather than saving up a lump sum, I prefer to buy as I’m able with money written into our monthly budget.

Homemade or second hand gifts

If you make gifts rather than buy, then starting early is an easy way to eliminate additional stress. If what you’re making could potentially go bad, at least having an idea of what you’ll make can be a plan you don’t have to make later. If second hand items are important to you like they are in my household, planning early helps to accomplish this!

Enjoy the season!

A few years ago, my husband and I challenged ourselves to be done with all Christmas shopping by Advent so we could focus on the religious importance of the season rather than the capitalist importance. This won’t be important to everyone, but I think setting a clear deadline is good for mental health. There’s nothing fun about last minute shopping for an item that’s no where to be found!

Are you planning for Christmas in July? What other benefits do you enjoy from getting an early start on the holiday?

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