Although the holiday season is still months away, there are many things you can do now to ensure you have an easier time of things when it is here. Summer is the perfect season to get a jumpstart on your hectic holiday schedule so that maybe this year you can feel blessed instead of stressed.
Make a List
This year, Santa’s not the only one who’s making a list and checking it twice. Use the summer season to start a list of your own. Include friends, family members, coworkers, neighbors, and the organizations you expect to give donations. Be mindful to make note of conversations where people mention things they want; by the time it rolls around for them to receive the gift they will be surprised and awed by your forethought. Keeping an updated list will also help you find gifts for tricky in-laws or picky co-workers and will prepare you for friends you might have otherwise forgotten.
Ready, Set, Save
The holiday receipts always have a way of ringing up higher than we would expect or appreciate. Along with setting a detailed budget for spending on gifts, begin putting aside money every month for the other unexpected holiday expenses. Do it the old-fashioned way by setting aside cash every month so that you aren’t tempted to spend it prematurely. By the time Christmas rolls around you will appreciate the extra funds you have to spend on traveling costs, family dinners, and finishing touches.
Say Cheese in a Summer Breeze
Take advantage of laid back summer schedules to take a family photo. Trying to organize everyone in the busy times preceding the holiday can be difficult, so take the picture early instead. The warmer weather will make for more willing participants while your inner photo director has its Christmas card dreams realized. Watch for printing sites to post deals or coupons before buying your prints. Starting this early in the game, you’ll have time to reach out and gather addresses you would have struggled to find during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. As an added bonus, the extra shots from your summer shoot will make a great gift once framed.
Rainy Day DIYs
Use those rainy summer afternoons to craft and create some wonderful homemade gifts. Come Christmas time, your schedule will be too packed for crafting, but there are many things you can make in advance that anyone would love to receive.
— One great idea is a no-sew blanket. Using fleece fabric bought by the yard at your local craft store, you can easily make a warm and fuzzy blanket. The best part about these is that fabrics can be bought in a variety of prints, making it possible to make superhero blanket for your four-year-old nephew, as well as a University throw for your graduating niece.
— Another great homemade present is a thrifty throw pillow. Using throw pillows that you’ve outgrown or that you find off season on super sale, make a soft and cuddly statement piece with Christmas sweater throw covers. Thrift stores are always crawling with big, bulky knit sweaters which can be easily transformed into stylish winter pillowcases.
Season End Sales
Many big department stores hold off on putting their winter accessories on full clearance until spring is almost over. Now that summer is here, take advantage of these winter goods that no one wants and score some major deals that your friends and family will appreciate come colder weather. People will be cleaning out their closets and stores will be clearing out their racks. Don’t miss this golden shopping opportunity to get the best price and the best presents.
Declutter the Décor
Shopping isn’t the only thing that keeps us busy during the holiday season. Decorating your home for the holiday can be a hassle if you don’t stay on top of the decorations. It seems like every year more ornaments break and there are more broken lights than working ones. Take the time to go up in your attic and toss the tinsel that has seen better years. Carefully organize the decorations that you were rushed to pack away last time. When it comes time to pull them down again in December, you’ll be thankful for the gift of organization you gave yourself. Also, a few deep cleaning tasks can make your decorated home even more cozy and presentable. Home furniture is frequently moved to make room for decorations. Consider getting your carpet cleaning done by professionals and washing your baseboards and walls to ensure wherever you’re decorations go they’ll look great and not expose a stain that has been hiding all year.
Perfect a Recipe
The best kind of gifts are given from your kitchen. Not all of us are blessed with baking skills though, so take some time this summer to perfect a cookie recipe. Your family will love taste testing your creations. You can also gift a healthier option by taking advantage of summer produce and make some canned goods. You can can everything from salsas and pepper jellies to peaches and pickles.
Article by Nancie Jacobs
Photos by DramaqueenSeams