Start Prepping for the Holidays Now

Santa hat Are You Ready?

There’s no time like the present to begin preparations for the holidays. With incredibly busy schedules and so many things to make and do before Thanksgiving and Christmas, things can get hectic fast. So, take a cue from the advertisers and start the season now! Not only will you ensure a happy holiday season, you’ll do it with less stress.

Preparation is key. Make lists of the people you plan to buy for, and any ideas you might have for gifts. Unpack those holiday decorations and replace the burnt-out bulbs and dog-eared decorations. If you want to do any DIY decoration projects, bake cookies or make homemade gifts, now’s the time to start.

If money is an issue (and when isn’t it?), make a budget for the holidays to avoid cost overruns and credit-card debt. You don’t want to be paying for holiday 2017 well into the 2020s! Start price-shopping for major gifts, staple food items that keep well in the freezer or pantry, greeting cards and more. If you see a great deal, snap it up — and check that item off your list.

It’s still early enough in the season to get great deals on decorations, candles, sweaters and other festive holiday essentials at the local thrift store — many of which are supplied by generous donations to ClothingDonations.org. When you donate your secondhand goods or shop, the proceeds help fund veterans’ programs nationwide.

Popular Mechanics advises to check appliances that will see heavy use during the holidays, such as the refrigerator, vacuum cleaner and dishwasher. Also be sure to sharpen your knives before carving the turkey, stock up on firewood and take safety precautions to make your home warm and inviting, the story says.

If you plan on hosting a party, get the invitations out early, says The Family Room. Make a list of the things you want to serve and assign tasks to the fellow hosts under your roof. Also, be clear about what kind of party it is and what’s expected of guests: Is it a potluck? Gift exchange? Cocktail or dinner party? Are plus-ones, kids and pets invited?

Most importantly, don’t overschedule, says the HuffPost blog. You’ll only wear yourself out and risk getting sick in the critical pre-holiday moments, or look back to discover that the holidays brought you more hassles than happiness.

“Schedule ‘You’ days to relax and regain energy,” the blog says. “Make appointments with yourself for personal time, workouts or going for a walk; napping, reading, [a] bubble bath or a pedicure. Because you, too, want to be at your best during the holidays and enjoy the festivities, instead of sitting exhausted and grumpy at the dinner table.”

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