Simplify, Organize, and Plan Ahead. Today I’m talking about Stree-Free Holiday Tips. My favorite holiday memories have absolutely nothing to do with holiday shopping, crazy crowds or scenes that remind me of “Jingle All the Way”. My memories center around family, cutting down our own Christmas tree, decorating gingerbread cookies and looking at Christmas light displays. They are Temple Square lights during the holidays, beautiful nativity scenes, and Christmas Eve at my grandma and grandpa’s house.
A few years both sides of our families decided to simplify things when it came to gife giving. Instead of buying a family gift for each sibling and their family we now buy for one sibling. With always living out of state we were spending hundreds of dollars in shipping to Alaska and other states each year. In order to have the presents get there in time for a reasonable price I had to ship them in November. It was so very stressful and we all realized that it wasn’t worth it. Now, just buying for one makes it simple. I have so much fun putting together the family gift that we send out. One of my favorites was this Science Kit that I made for my sister and her family. The kids loved it!
I’ve said this before, but I am THE biggest list maker ever. It is the only way I can keep on top of things. I have lists of blog posts that I’d like to write, grocery lists, gift lists, to-do lists, etc. I made a Holiday Planner insert to add to my Printable Day Planner. Filling out these printables is very calming to me. Once I can see it all out in front of me I feel so much more relaxed!
You can download any of the pages below for free. I even added address pages to simplify sending out Christmas cards. Next year I will just add new shopping lists, but my addresses will already be there ready to go.
3. Plan Ahead
Money is one of the biggest holiday stressors. Especially if you are hosting a holiday party or dinner on top of buying gifts for your loved ones. We start saving for the holidays in January. We put aside a little money every month so that when fall rolls around I have money to start picking up items for Christmas. Planning ahead eliminates last minute shopping and trips into crowds. My goal is to have everything done before the kids start Christmas break. We’ll see!
Last week when I was at Sam’s Club I noticed that they already had many holiday items out so I picked up some of the basics to get a head start. Christmas breakfast? check. Gift Wrapping? check. Treats for goodie bags? check.
Here are some of the things that I buy EVERY holiday season. My Christmas hacks, if you will:
1. Ghirardelli Melting Chocolates. I go through probably 6 bags of these every year with my holiday baking so I stock up a little at a time. Sam’s is the only place that I’ve seen bags like this of them wafers and they are a great price.
2. Danish Shortbread Cookies. Would you like the know the easiest semi-homemade Christmas gift idea ever? Chocolate Dipped Danish cookies. They literally take 10 minutes to make an entire cookie sheet and are absolutely delicious! Package in a cute tin or treat bag and give to co-workers, teachers or bring to a cookie exchange!
Grab a tin of cookies and a bag of melting chocolates right now. You’ll be glad you did for any last-minute treat bags that you are preparing!
3. Favorite Holiday Treats
Sam’s had a great selection of my holiday favorite candies and snacks. They also have 3 packs of Martinelli’s sparkling cider which is my absolute favorite drink. I picked up a 3-pack, but will probably go back for more at least two more times this season.
4. Easy Christmas Breakfast Items
Frozen cinnamon rolls, milk, tangerines. This is what we are going to have on Christmas morning. Easy, delicious, and zero prep work. We’re all about pajamas and games on Christmas day. Not cooking! I grabbed a box of Cinnabon cinnamon rolls to put in the freezer and Christmas breakfast is done!
5. Gift Cards, Gift Boxes, and fun Family Gifts.
I love the selection of gift ideas at Sam’s. Their gift card bundles are fantastic and this year I fell in love with this cute cookie jar filled with Mrs. Field’s cookies. For $15 it makes a great family gift (and reusable too!)
6. Holiday Traditions
We add a Christmas movie and Christmas book to our ever growing collection every year. This year Garfield will be playing on the big screen after the tree is set up and decorated!
7. Gift wrapping and bows.
I love the reversible Hallmark rolls of paper that Sam’s sells. It is fantastic quality and very sturdy. For under $10 these rolls are a great deal and last forever! We bought two when we were first married and had them for 4 years!
With my holiday planner and a head start on my holiday prep, I hope I’m on my way to a stress-free Christmas season. How about you? What tips do you have for simplifying the holidays and remembering the true meaning of Christmas?