Some of the ways that I try to make this time of year less stressful (or perhaps that should say - ways that I try not to add to the stress already living inside me) are easy things to do, if you just commit. And start planning a little early.
- Create a budget. By October, we had money set aside that we would use for Christmas shopping. I also created an Excel spreadsheet that helps me keep track of the budget. Working with cash is also useful because I can see what's left. There were a couple of things that needed to be ordered on-line, but other than that, I used cash. (And coupons!)
- Make lists. Early! I have to say that I start holiday planning in November. I have a list of what I am getting the children, where I can buy it, and how much it costs. The toy catalogs come early these days, so I am able to do my pricing from home, which means I am not driving from store to store comparing prices. One of the other lists I have in my planner is an idea list. Anytime someone mentions something that they like, or things they want to do, I make a note and refer back to it at Christmas time.
- Plan ahead. A few days before Thanksgiving, I made a calendar of all the things I wanted to get done during Christmas. This list included the gingerbread house Connor wants to make, when I'd make the cookies, Holiday Lights, Polar Express, etc. This way, I know ahead of time what's going on and Keith can plan his schedule around me. *wink, wink*