So…June is almost upon us. Almost halfway through another year. Gosh its gone quickly. But you know what’s coming up even quicker? Christmas. I feel as though I write about the festive season in advance most years, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who needs a friendly reminder.
I know to a lot of people it seems far away, but in terms of Christmas planning and Christmas shopping, now is the time to start for a stress free (or being more realistic, a low stress Christmas).
My suggestions for a stress-less Christmas? Well…start now.
- Make a list. Even if you aren’t ready to start buying, now is a great time to start putting together a draft list, even if it’s just in the ‘notes’ section on your mobile phone. I’ve made my draft list of who I definitely need to buy for, along with a few who I think it might be a possibility at this stage. Knowing who is on your list can be helpful for the following steps.
- We all know the end of financial year sales will be coming up shortly, it never hurts to keep an eye out during these sale times for extreme discounts on items that might be suitable for people on your list. To be honest, once you’ve got that list in writing it makes things a lot clearer and sometimes you just spot what might be the perfect gift. There’s nothing like having a low cost, frugal Christmas where you can give great gifts but on a budget.
- Even if you aren’t ready to spend, now is the perfect time to start figuring out how much you are budgeting for Christmas gifts, food, decorations etc. This way, you still have months to set aside money from each pay so things don’t get overwhelming financially. Or, at least you will be able to figure out what you can afford to spend without breaking the bank in December.
- If you are planning on baking, now is the time to test the recipe. Don’t leave it till the last minute to figure out that it’s not something you like or it didn’t work out. More to the point, if you need to make something as close to Christmas as possible, mark it in your calendar now so you don’t make other plans and realise you are too busy in the lead up to bake.
- Shopping online. Ahh yes, there’s nothing like that last minute stress of hoping day after day, constantly checking the tracking and hoping that your parcel will be delivered prior to Christmas Eve. If you know you need to order something online, start planning for that over the next couple of months and beat the rush. Last Christmas I ordered something a few months in advance, it took three weeks to ship, it arrived faulty and had to be replaced by the manufacturer. It then took another two weeks for the replacement to arrive. These things happen, so allow for that now. I wasn’t stressed because I’d ordered with plenty of time for a replacement to arrive. But if I’d left it a bit longer? I might have been rather nervous in the days leading up to Christmas.
- Sending gifts overseas. Last Christmas (2020) in November, my family and I sent a Christmas card (like we do every year) from Australia to a friend in Austria. Upon arriving at the post office, we were informed that the Christmas card we were sending via Air Mail would take THREE MONTHS to arrive. I was completely stunned. I know shipping and mailing times were extended due to fewer flights and lockdowns but WOW. Think about this now, if you are wanting to send Christmas cards or gifts to friends and family across oceans who you know you sadly won’t be able to see again this Christmas, start planning now. It will avoid a whole lot of stress and disappointment when you are told your gifts won’t arrive until well into the New Year.
For those of you who are wondering, yes I’ve started planning for Christmas. I’ve got my gift list going (I’ve bought a few bits and pieces – not that I’ve made a huge dent or anything like that though). But I’ve made a start and as a result I feel less edgy about the festive season. Particularly as I often note down ideas for gifts throughout the year as well, it’s a lot easier to start thinking now than to wait until December to realise you have no idea what to give your loved ones.
Don’t leave everything to the last minute. COVID-19 has created uncertainty like we’ve never experienced before. You never know when there might be an outbreak, a snap lockdown, or heaven forbid falling ill yourself. Planning and shopping in advance will take away some of this uncertainty and will hopefully mean that you won’t be caught short if, for whatever reason.
Have you started planning for Christmas? Have you actually purchased any gifts yet?