I know, I know – Christmas has been and gone and the New Year has started – the very last thing on your mind at this time of year is NEXT Christmas – but I really think that giving it a little head space and time now will save you valuable time, effort and money later in the year, so please bear with me on this one!
This post is all about why you should be thinking about next Christmas now – yes – in January. However, it is around now that you will probably be taking the decorations down (REMEMBER THEY NEED TO BE DOWN BY THE 6TH JAN), and the January sales are on, so it is actually the perfect time really…
I promise you it will be worth your while if you do, and here are my top ways to get organised right now that really will make life easier: –
#1 – Make use of the January sales
Sales are everywhere at this time of year, and some of the most popular items that shops put into sales are, of course, their excess Christmas supplies.
The last thing they want are items hanging around for long, and this is where you can pick up real bargains. I always look to buy items like the following at this time of year: –
- Wrapping paper
- Gifts ready for next year (OK, this may be pushing it a bit, but I do like to buy gifts in the sales for birthdays that are coming up as you can get more for your money usually so it’s a win/win!)
Of course, you may be thinking about where to store everything for 12 months – and I usually add things to my present/card areas, or even up in the loft with the Christmas Decorations. I have a Christmas related drawer that houses things like cards, tags and wrapping paper perfectly, and I simply forget about it until November…
#2 – Update your card and present lists
I have a Christmas card list that I always update each year when I take cards down. I look at the cards and check that everyone who sent us a card this year is on the list for next year.
Also in cards you tend to get people writing updated addresses, info that may be important etc… – and so it’s worth transferring those details to your address book, Home File etc…
Not only do I have a Christmas Card list (it’s in my Christmas Planner), but I also have a place where I have written what I bought for everyone and what was bought for me and the family.
I always tend to keep this until next year as it’s great to check what I bought this year and therefore not duplicate anything.
As with the card list, I always add in anyone to the present list who may have bought us a present this year unexpectedly, so they are not forgotten next year.
#3 – What did you eat?
As with your lists for cards and presents, food is up there with being something that can take up time and be quite stressful if you’re not careful.
As such, why not think about what you bought this year, and make a note of it so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel next year.
The Christmas Planner gives places to write everything down, and again I would keep this for next year for reference if you have it, or simply create a list right now.
Write down what you bought, for what event/day (it’s easy to forget what you needed in a year!), and whether it was the right amount of food.
I always seem to over cater when we have more informal lunches over Christmas, and so this was really helpful to do this year and I really paid attention to what we actually ate and needed. Hopefully next year it will save a little money as well which is always good!
#4 – Do a “lessons learned”
Having a think about what worked and what didn’t is a really good idea to do as a family, straight after Christmas so that everything is at the forefront of your mind.
Personally this year we have talked about the fact that there wasn’t a lot of time for us to be just us as a family, and therefore we will try and add in a few days with no socialising next year as this would have been great (and left us less tired!), but you may think of several things to tweak next year, depending on your own circumstances.
- Did you have to travel too much / too little?
- Would a holiday/short break have been welcome, or did you really enjoy spending time at home?
- Did you host enough? Would you prefer more, or less guests next year?
- Did you not do things that you wish you had done?
- Were some traditions not done due to lack of time?
- Do some traditions now feel dated and need to change slightly?
- What parts of the holidays went really well that you would like to try and do again?
Writing all these things down may help you when it comes to planning next year, and save the guesswork a little too!
(Again – the Christmas Planner has a place for this if you prefer to have it all in one place and ready for you to fill in…)
#5 – Start saving!
Christmas is always on the same date every year – no big surprise there – but somehow it can really creep up on us and cause stress with having to find a few extra pennies/pounds for things.
As such, why not make a point of saving a little each month to help spread the costs more?
Here are some great ways that may inspire you: –
- Create a Christmas bank account and use a direct debit each month to transfer whatever you can afford from your salary – that way you don’t even see the money so aren’t tempted to use it (you could do the same for holidays etc… as well).
- Decide to cut down on something this year – if you tend to grab a coffee on the way to work or when out and about, consider getting a flask and taking a coffee from home instead. If you save what your coffee would have cost you each time you do this then it will soon add up.
- Start a spare change jar – when you come into your home then empty your spare change from your pockets/purse into the jar and it will soon build up (I am always amazed at how much you can save this way!).
- Look at ways to make a little extra money each month to put aside. If you have a declutter then you could sell items on eBay, Amazon etc… or what about swapping skills with a friend to save spending as much (I used to babysit regularly for a friend and in return she would babysit for us which saved on babysitters fees which worked well). There are lots of ways to earn a little extra, it’s just about doing what you can with what time you have available.
So, there you have it – my top 5 ways to get ready for next Christmas NOW to make preparing that little bit easier: –
#1 Make use of the January sales for some Christmas shopping
#2 Update your card and Christmas present lists
#3 What did you eat?
#4 Do a “Lessons Learned”
#5 Start saving
I hope they’ve inspired you to really get ahead of your Christmas Planning.