Getting Ready For Christmas: 7 Things To Do Today

Christmas budget

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

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  1. Glad I’m not the only one thinking about Christmas already. Appreciated the article and will do a link. The travel arrangements is a great idea to save on fares. Christian Common Cents recently featured a guest post by me that the readers might also enjoy.

  2. Briana @ GBR

    Travel arrangements: Christmas is in town, so no need to do that 🙂

    Christmas shopping: I need to determine who’s getting what this year.

    Budget: I don’t want to be cheap, especially since I’m working this year, but I also don’t want to spend too much. I have a pretty big family but I’m going to set the bar around $200.

    Family Tradition: I didn’t get to do this last year because I was unemployed but I’m hoping this year I can adopt a family and give THEM a Christmas that they may not have had otherwise.

    Christmas list: I don’t really want anything this year. Just spending time with my family 🙂

    Important Discussion: We had it last year. Everyone was pretty pressed for gifts so we switched it up a bit. Made it more about food and getting together, especially since most of the little ones are much bigger now

    Homemade gifts: Didn’t get to do this last year but I think I’m going to make everyone homemade stew 🙂

  3. Emma

    Invaluable information. Thank you

  4. Olivia

    Don’t throw rocks, but I’m pretty much done except for the baking. All the stuff you said is great. One thing to add for next year, hit the after Christmas sales for all your wrapping, small gift, seasonless stuff (art supplies,etc.). That saves a bundle. Then look throughout the year for big bargains and special recipes. The rough part for us is postage, as most everyone is out of state. This year I purchased stamps from Henry Gitner and will use them on the packages. (The P.O. people may groan, but that’ll save about 10%.)

  5. Rob Ward

    We start saving for Christmas in January – about $75 per month so we don’t have to think about it. That is our budget and that’s what we keep it at. Usually we come under what we have saved – that is an extra bonus!

  6. DreamChaser57

    Believe it or not, I started my Christmas shopping in March. Every month or so we just buy a gift at our leisure. My in-laws live out of town, so Christmas b.rings the added expense of shipping. Planning early has really taken a load off. I already have Christmas cards that I brought heavily discounted at the end of last year’s season. For last two years, our budget was really strained resulting in unnecessary stress. This is the type of stress that’s easily avoided with planning – some stress in life is unavoidable, it’s now my life’s mission to address the stress that I can do something about, LOL

  7. Ruschel Ernacio

    I am not planning to go to other places this summer, I only want a vacation so that I could celebrate Christmas with my family and I am really a fan of the envelope saving system, it is the one that I will use for me to save money and of course I will start saving now.