Well, I won’t argue with anyone who says it seems like the Christmas stuff is showing up in stores earlier and earlier each year. It’s true. Starbucks has even got the memo – starting holiday cups in November.
Now, while I recognize this, I’m not complaining. I love Christmas. There’s a certain energy that comes with the season. Time with family. Memories from jolly holidays before. A happiness. A warmth despite the onset of winter.
Any holiday presents challenges – who are you seeing, and who are you seeing you have no interest in seeing. Who is hosting. Who is eating where. What are you bringing. How are you getting there.
I get that. For the last few years, the hubs and I have hosted and made two other stops on Christmas Day. It’s not easy to balance.
If you’re nervous about balancing schedules or budgets, here are a few tips I hope help you keep the merry in the day.
Plan ahead- regardless of what your day will look like, figure out your timeline and what you’ll need. And communicate if. If you’re hosting or attending, be clear about timing. If you’re heading to someone else’s, always offer to bring something, but don’t hesitate to set expectations. If you’re making three stops, offer to bring wine of cookies not a main dish.
Pack – even if you’re not staying over anywhere. If you’re out visiting for the holiday, pack little bins or bags ahead of time with cards, gifts, and treats for each stop. Be sure to consolidate this before you get in the car or hop on the train. This organization will reduce the likelihood of showing up at your sister-in-laws missing a gift for her son or showing up at your aunt’s without the pie you promised.
Be strategic – along these same lines, if you end up in the position of attending three separate celebrations, consider making your mark on each by your contribution. App for your first, an easy side for your second, and a dessert for your third stop.
Start early – gift buying can easily fly out of budget. Actually, I am known for ignoring Christmas budgets – although I’m trying to take this more seriously. Give it some thought before the Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales. Try to get good deals – your brother doesn’t need to know you got that Kindle for him half off.
Be creative – you don’t have to spend a lot to remind people you love them. Crafts can be charming, and homemade wreaths can always find a home.
Remember the details – especially if you’re hosting. I was raised in a family where figuring out a way for us to all sit at the same “table” for a holiday was the priority. These “tables” were frequently a collection of small folding tables, or outdoor dining tables, disguised by multiple tablecloths extending from room to room – but we always shared the table. Think about how you’ll set your table. One of the easiest details I ever added to my table was a piece of evergreen pieces and a candy cane on each plate. That same ever green can be submerged in water with cranberries dropped in for an inexpensive center piece as well.
And always set the mood with some Christmas classics on the radio.