Planning & Preparing for the Holidays: My 7 Top Tips

My 12 Days of Christmas Series begins on my blog today! I’ll be posting a blog post every day for the next twelve days leading up to Christmas! I am starting off with a few of my tips for planning and preparing for the holidays!

The holidays can be a crazy time of year. With all of the different parties, shopping, and cooking, it can really wear you down before it even begins. Today, I got you covered with some holiday planning tips that will help you stay organized and on track to fully enjoy the season.

1. List your Tasks

There are a lot of tasks to tackle during the holidays. Whether you’re shopping for gifts, or if you’re entertaining for your friends and family, lists are imperative to ensure that you don’t forget to do something.

In total, there are about five lists that you should make (depending on your role this holiday season):  a guest list, a holiday menu list, a grocery list, a gift list, and a chores list. 

I like making lists either in a notebook or in the notepad on my phone but I can  see what I need to do and check things off as I complete them. I really do prefer making list for groceries and gifts on my phone so that I can take it with me and not have to bring a piece of paper and a pen to a grocery store or mall. However, for things like a holiday menu, a guest list, or a chores list I prefer to write these down in a notebook or on Post-It notes.

2. Make a Budget- and Stick to It!

The holiday  season is one of the most expensive times of the year and if you’re not careful you can spend a lot of money really fast. I like to always come up with a budget and even start saving earlier in the year to ensure that I have enough money to spend on my friends and family. 

For my budget, I like to list all the people I want to give gifts to and write down an approximate amount of money that I’d like to spend on each person. I like to be realistic with these numbers so that I don’t end up being over budget (it’s always more satisfying to be under budget!). Once I have an approximate amount I like to put the money aside in a separate account and not touch it until I need to spend it. I find that this way I stay on track and not surprised by how much money is left in my bank account after the holidays.

It may be a little bit more difficult to budget for groceries if you are hosting a holiday dinner at your house as prices of produce and meats can vary depending on availability, seasonality, and any potential issues with production that year.

My tip to saving a little bit of money on your groceries is to watch the flyers and check the sales for items that are non-perishable or items that can be frozen. For instance you can shop for a holiday turkey during post-Thanksgiving sales and freeze it until you need it at Christmas time. You can also stock up on canned items, dried pastas, or anything that won’t go bad as you see sales at your grocery store. Once you have all these basics, all you need to do is buy fresh produce closer to  your event, and in most cases, this is often the least expensive.

3. Set the Mood

If your decorator like me, you will  want to choose a theme or style for your Christmas decor this year. I don’t tend to switch out my theme from year to year since buying Christmas decor can be expensive (and take up a lot of space in storage during the rest of the year) so I like to choose a theme that goes with my existing decor.

This year I chose to do a Winter Wonderland theme in one of the rooms of my house. This room used a lot of rustic natural elements with gold, silver and white as its main colours. In another room, I chose a more traditional theme with red, gold, and green. You can check out how I decorated my house in a few of my YouTube videos linked below!

4. Clean and Organize

I like to do a major clean and declutter once a season to keep everything from getting too dirty  and to clear out some things that may be accumulating in my house. When I’m cleaning I like to focus on my kitchen since I cook a lot and it can get dirty pretty quick. For the holidays, I like to make sure that my fridge and freezer is clean and that there’s room to stock up the fridge with foods that I need for my holiday parties.  There’s nothing worse than going to the grocery store and returning home to find out that you can’t fit everything in the fridge! I also like to go through my cupboards and clear anything that may be expired and then reorganize things so that they look clean. 

I don’t go to crazy cleaning the rest of the house, but I mainly focus on ensuring that the bathrooms are clean and that my guest bedroom is all set up for whoever may be visiting this holiday season. 

5. Make a TON of Freezer Meals

Since we are so busy this time of year our diets can really slip and we may make some poor food choices when we come home tired and hungry after a long day at work,  doing holiday shopping, or if you’re out doing a fun activity with your friends and family.

To prevent any poor food choices, I like to prepare multiple freezer meals so that there is something to eat when I am tired and hungry.  There are a lot of recipes that freeze really well such as soups, chili, and casserloles. You can also prepare slow cooker meals by chopping up all the ingredients and placing them in freezer bags. Once you want to make something, just dump it into a slow cooker, set it, and come home a few hours later to a nice warm meal!

Here are a few of my recipes that freeze really well:

6. Take Care of Yourself

Since this is a very busy time of year, the holidays is when many people get run down and get sick. And that’s the worst when you’ve been preparing for the holidays for a long time!  I like to ensure that I stay healthy by taking my vitamins, eating healthy foods, and washing my hands often to prevent myself from getting sick. If I feel any illness coming on, I like to treat it before it gets bad so that I’m not stuck sick during the holidays.

7. Enjoy the Holiday Season!

Even though the holidays are busy and can be stressful, it’s important to enjoy the holiday season. Take time off work and spend it with your family or friends to have a great time together and make memories.


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