It’s that time of year - holiday decor is starting to fill store shelves. While it may seem a little early, these festive walks are a great reminder to check out some of the items on your to-do list right now. Starting some vacation planning early can prepare you for a season of joy, rather than spending a lot, worrying a lot, or doing a lot of tasks.
Here are eight ways you can prepare for the upcoming holiday season, so you can have more fun and reduce stress.
1. Ornamental repair and organization.
Were your holiday decorations thrown into last year’s box with the thought: “I’ll take care of them next year”? It’s time to pay the Piper. From tangled ropes, broken lights, or broken ornaments and decorations, your festive decor might need a little love before it’s on display this year.
Spending half a day now fixing, cleaning, organizing, and writing down the items that need replacing will make grooming a much more enjoyable experience.
RELATED: How to: Store Holiday Lights, Decorations, and Accessories
2. Get started on DIY gifts.
A handmade gift is something others cherish, especially when they know how much time (and blood, sweat, and tears) it took to make a special gift just for them. Now is a great time to get started on your DIY gifts, so save yourself the stress of rushing to finish before exchanging gifts.
From homemade candles, soap, art, birdhouses, and more, there are plenty of things a maker can create this holiday season. We love these mini cross stitch kits from The Stranded Stitch on Etsy, which, when complete, make a cute gift for any holiday!
RELATED: Weekend Projects: 10 DIY Gifts to Give and Give
3. Locate your winter clothes.
Maybe your family booked a ski cabin for the holidays, or you have an ugly sweater party every year—there’s always a certain outfit required during the holidays. It’s a good idea to explore these now, so you can make sure your glove has a twin, your pants still fit, and your jacket doesn’t have any holes.
Knowing the location and current condition of these clothing items helps you avoid spending money on replacing clothes that can’t be found at the last minute. Checking the status of your winter clothes now gives you time to save up on buying new clothes at the time you need them.
4. Securing your vacation rentals.
Attending holiday parties is so much fun, but it can be a lot of work to host them. Whether you need a full seat, or additional chairs, tables and dishes, book them now - or make arrangements to borrow them from a friend or family member. Close to festive events, you’ll be hard-pressed to find the rentals you need when you need them, so take care of this to-do item now.
Related: 20 Easy Ways To Be The Best Holiday Host
5. Make lists and check them twice.
Planning ahead for a vacation has its advantages. From shopping lists, to gift ideas, to budgets, preparing in advance saves time and prevents you from shopping or booking last minute and overspending on items you don’t need.
Creating lists and gift lists for your holiday parties and dinners now will prevent you from scrambling later. Making a list of travel needs or stops to take on a family road trip will ease the stress of holiday travel. You can make changes to these lists, of course, but preparing them in advance ensures that you make informed decisions rather than relying on holiday stress.
6. Remove clutter to make room for the new.
No matter what holiday you’re celebrating, there’s always something new coming home. Whether it’s holiday gifts, hostess gifts, an abundance of food and drinks, or all of the above, clearing space now ensures a place for all of those items to go.
Well before the holiday season, you can donate items you no longer use or wear, and you can get rid of things that are outdated and out of date—checked the best dates before that on your spices? From cupboards to shelves to refrigerators and cupboards, there is usually something that can be placed elsewhere.
RELATED: 9 Tips and Tricks to Cut the Christmas Clutter
7. Take your vacation photos.
If you are that awesome person who sends a thoughtful message and family photo every year to your loved ones, start preparing now. Snap and print your photos ahead of time, and set out to write your letters full of memories, updates, and events from the past year. Order your cards and stamps now, and you’ll be ahead of the others who thronged to the post office at the last minute.
RELATED: 22 Unique Ways to Display Holiday Cards
8. Make time for yourself.
Season stress can be caused by many things: overspending, lack of time to enjoy the season, planning, anxiety, and more. Completing vacation assignments in advance can help relieve some of that stress, but be sure to leave some space on your calendar to fill your cup.
This could mean pre-booking a day at the spa, going on vacation, watching movies in bed, meditating, or anything else that brings you relaxation and joy. The important thing is that this time is non-negotiable, which is why it should be booked into your calendar now.