Sorry, I’ve got young kids in my house, and it seems like Christmas is already becoming a popular topic. While I keep telling my kids it’s too soon to talk about Christmas, I think there is some value in getting ready for Christmas now.
Remember when Christmas ended last year and you told yourself – next Christmas I’m going to…. I’m not exactly sure what’s at the top of your list from Christmases past, but I’m going to introduce some of the most common Christmas regrets and how you can deal with those problems by starting now.
Make Travel Arrangements Soon
Christmas travel is expensive because everyone has places to be during the Christmas holidays. When it comes to supply and demand, there is a lot of demand over Christmas holidays. While you probably won’t find rock bottom prices around the holidays, but by shopping for plane tickets now, you are more likely to find a better deal. One of my favorite airlines, Southwest, rewards those who book tickets soonest. Be one of those early bookers. Don’t forget to rent a car if you will need that too.
Start Your Christmas Shopping
Yes, I know it’s early, but the sooner you start, the better deals you’ll find along the way. For those of you who do most of your shopping in the last week before Christmas, you’ll face two obstacles – the crowds and the cost. You save money on Christmas by starting to shop sooner because you have more time to wait for deals or promotions. You don’t need to buy everything by the end of the week, but if they have a toy for Johnny that is 50% off next week, then go ahead and buy it next week.
If you plan to send a missionary care package, many countries have extremely slow shipping, so this might be the time to ship your package.
Create a Christmas Budget
Since many people struggle to have a debt-free Christmas, it is important to make make a Christmas budget. Unfortunately, the popular approach to Christmas is buy now and then figure out the payments later. Instead, why not get the cash now and buy gifts according to the budget you created?
Consider Adding a Family Tradition That Involves a Service.
Personally, I think Christmas focuses too much on getting and not enough on giving. To instill the importance of service in our children, we’ve decided to add a ministry/service to part of our family Christmas tradition. For the last few years, it has been caroling with the church at the hospital and distributing Christmas gifts.
Make a Christmas list.
I have an email in my inbox from my sister-in-law asking for my Christmas list. If your family does lists, go ahead and finish it up so that it won’t be lingering any more.
Have the Important Discussion You’ve Been Delaying
As families change, so does Christmas. There is always an awkwardness when approaching traditions, but if you are finding Christmas to be financially burdensome, please tell your family. Last summer, our family decided that we would draw names for each other, but continue to buy gifts for all the nieces and nephews. It was a good decision, and most of our family was glad we had the discussion.
Start Making Homemade Gifts
My wife makes some of the best homemade Christmas gifts. As I look around my office, the most valuable items I see are the homemade gifts my wife and kids made. Most people complain that there is not enough time to make homemade gifts, but consider yourself forewarned! Get started now.
Don’t let this Christmas sneak up on you. If you wanted to change something about Christmas this year, now is the time to start making those changes.
What are you doing to get ready for Christmas?
Photo by allerleirau