10 Things to do NOW to Prep for the Holidays

Deep breaths…. this post is definitely NOT designed to make you go into instant panic mode as you realize the holidays are starting to creep up on us. That’s not our intention at all… actually, this post is designed to do quite the opposite. We are here to encourage ourselves (and you, maybe?) to be proactive about preparing for the holidays so we can all avoid that last-minute panic that somehow robs us of valuable holiday spirit.

We have compiled a list of 10 simple things you can do NOW in order to avoid that overwhelming feeling of “I’m a holiday hot mess” and focus on what the upcoming season is really all about — spending time and making memories with the ones you LOVE.

10 Things to Do Now to Prep for the Holidays

kate spade ornament christmas1. Make a Gift Buying List: On it you should include a list of all of the people you need to buy a gift for. Not only will this list help you keep track of your holiday shopping, you’ll also be able to save this list and reference it next year when you are planning your shopping. This will also prevent you from forgetting all of the fabulous friends in your life who you want to give a little gift. You can simply add names over the next couple weeks, so no one is forgotten!

For those who are uber-organized (and eager), create this list in google spreadsheets or excel so you can track how much you spent on each individual and can even track your overall spending for the season. (on second thought…. maybe that’s not the best idea. #dontshowthehubbies)

stamp2. Buy a return address stamp: We’re big fans of these affordable accessories and think that this purchase is a great way to up your Christmas Card Game with very little effort (or creativity). We have purchased all of our address stamps from here and highly recommend Sydney’s work. We love that these stamps can be personalized to your style, make addressing mail super quick & painless, and also make your envelope look super official. Buy one now and you will have it in time to address those envelopes (in style) next month.

Christmas-Cards3. Order your Christmas Cards: <– are we crazy?! Maybe a little. Yes, we already ordered our Christmas cards and like to have these cards already addressed and ready before Thanksgiving (did we actually just admit that?). The truth is though, we find that having this done before December frees up our time for other holiday stuff.

washi tape4. Buy some washi tape: We’ll explain soon, but get some rolls of this inexpensive removable tape on hand & we promise we will deliver lots of ideas on how you can use this life-changing stuff at the beginning of December. Trust us when we say, this will be the best few bucks you ever spent if you want to step up your holiday game in a simple/super easy way. (You can buy a pack here, here or here OR at any office supply/big box store).

christmas cookie day5. Make a Holiday Bucket List: Maybe over dinner you can get together with your +1, your friends or your family and create a list of holiday events you want to tackle this year. Some items that we know will be on our list include: cookie day, Janimal’s favorite things party, watch It’s a Wonderful Life, make a gingerbread house….

9christmas chalk6. Get the conversation started: Get those family and friends together and start chatting holidays! As we ALL know, the holidays are a busy time and you don’t want to miss that holiday party of gift exchange because you have a previous engagement. Start an email thread, text your siblings, whatever it takes to really figure out who is hosting what and what the date will be. By doing this, you won’t miss those “top priority” holiday traditions.

christmas wint7. Make a wish list or collect the wish lists from those around you: Is it weird/greedy/ruining the surprise for you to communicate what you want to those around you or ask what those around you really want? Maybe… but the way we feel is that everyone works extremely hard for their money and this moola should be spent wisely and not wasted on items that will sit in the closet for the next 5 years and waste space. A “wish list” will not only up the odds that you’ll love what you get, but will also take some of the pressure off the shopper. #winwin Plus, we’ve never met a list we haven’t liked. #listlovers

Christmas Card Display8. Nail down how you will display your x-mas cards this year: We are stuck on the dang cards again. Can you tell this is one of our favorite parts of the season? DIY-ing during the holiday season is not always feasible with the hectic schedule, so take advantage of these upcoming weekends to DIY or figure out how you will display your cards. Plus, some cards start arriving in your mailbox at the beginning of December so having a plan in place will ensure those gorgeous prints won’t get stuck in the junk drawer all season long.

christmas win9. Extra credit: Create a document of addresses for all your loved ones who will receive your Christmas card: We did this last year for our DIY Playbook Christmas cards and it literally was the best holiday thing we’ve ever done! Not only is this an easy way to track who we need to send cards to, but all we have to do is print these addresses on labels (like we did last year) and the envelopes are practically ready to go!

christmas socks coffee

10. Most importantly: Vow to ENJOY these upcoming months before you get wrapped up in the hustle & bustle. Christmas is an extra special time (especially if you have kids!) so it’s important that you treat it as such. We are going to try our best to eat, drink & be merry as much as possible!

Christmas Card CollectionSo can we make Christmas 2015 one for the “books”… together?! Maybe you can’t get all 10 done (heck, we may not even get all 10 done), but think of it this way — every little step you take now will help eliminate stress in December. If you do 2, 7 or even all 10 of these tips, we can guarantee you’ll thank yourself next month.

Fa, la, la, la…


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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