Christmas in JULY - 5 tips to help you start preparing for Christmas now!

I know, I know....It's only July so why am I already talking Christmas?? I use to think people were crazy when they starting talking Christmas this early!  But, this year I'm thinking a little differently.  Our Christmas last year was completely nuts!  We  moved into our new house a week before Christmas, we were a HOT mess but we still tried to make the best of our situation.  Because of the move I didn't get to do all the fun Christmas things we usually do and with a new house I'm on the hunt for some new decor. It's a lot easier to start finding a Santa mug now then to wait and find it in November.   Did I also mention I have 4 kids??  It's never too early to start looking for deals and get a head of the game!! Plus, if your a crafter and like to make homemade gifts...trust me plan ahead and start now!

I've done a little research and found 5 things that you can start planning out now to help you prepare for Christmas to be less stressed in the months you should be enjoying the most. 

1- Make Lists

What kind of lists?  -gift list - gifts to make (handmade crafts or homemade goodies) - gift ideas - parties & other events -menus -recipes - travel plans -Christmas cards to send -Supplies needed for handmade gifts -decorations

I like to just keep an open notebook on my phone and I can add to the list whenever an idea pops into my head...then come November/December I already have a game plan.

2- Choose a Theme or Color

Maybe you don't do a theme at your house....I use to have very minimal Christmas decor so I could just pull everything out and put it all over.  But over the years I've collected more and more Christmas decor (It drives my hubby crazy having to find a place to store it all).  This year instead of pulling it all out, I was thinking of have a color theme. Then I don't have to pull out all my Christmas decor - just the pieces that go with the color theme.  It also helps when I'm out shopping I know what to buy and not to buy when I see all the cute Christmas decor popping up. 

3- Organize

Check out your decorations, wrapping paper and other items from last year.  I like to buy wrapping paper, gift tags and such when they have the after Christmas sales.  I just need to look through it and remind myself what I have then I don't end up buying it again when the stores start putting it out.

Plan your Christmas cards. This is something that if you wait until the last minute it doesn't get done.  Trust me, I've waited too long before and then the cards didn't arrive on time and then it was pointless to send them out....a big waste of money.  I like to have plan in mind and order my cards the beginning of November so I can have them ready to send out after Thanksgiving or first week of December.

Organize your craft room.  If you plan on making handmade gifts this year for neighbors and friends, being organized has really helped me.  Look through all your supplies and know what you have and what you still need to buy.  This year has already been crazy and stores emptied! Start looking for supplies now so you have time to find what you need. 

4- Set a Budget

If you start setting aside a little money from each paycheck now you won't feel the pressure later.  My hubby and I started doing this when our kids were little.  We were living paycheck to paycheck and we knew if we didn't start saving in July then come November/December we wouldn't have money to buy for our kids.  Keep in mind and remember that it isn't all the STUFF that makes Christmas special.  I still try to keep Christmas simple and focus on the true meaning of Christmas.   

5- Start Pinning

I love Pinterest!  I get a majority of my ideas from Pinterest.  It's a great place to find decor, recipes, ideas for gifts to make, Christmas color themes and more.  I encourage you to start a Christmas board if you haven't already.  If you already have one, sort through it.  Remove things you don't like and add in more ideas that you do. 

So, are you excited for Christmas now??  Christmas is my favorite holiday and I love to make it special and fun for my kids.  But it can also be very stressful if you don't take the time to plan ahead.  Its the little things you do that can bring the most meaning and create long last memories for your family - like pulling out old Christmas decor that gets your kids so excited, or  baking Christmas goodies for all your neighbors and friends while you watch Christmas movies.  Remember to keep it simple, plan ahead and only do what makes you and your family happy, life is all about the little things!

Carrie Lynn
-Little Big Things  

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