Monday, December 27, 2010

Getting Ready for Next Christmas

I know it seems silly to think about next Christmas when this one is barely over. However, if you're striving to control both the clutter and financial aspect of the holiday season, a little pre-planning can go a long way. You can make next Christmas less stressful and more enjoyable by taking a few steps now and throughout the year. They say you should keep Christmas in your heart all year long. Well, if you want a holiday with minimal stress, you should keep Christmas planning on the back burner all year long! 

To have an impact on next year's Christmas planning, you should cut Christmas clutter, stock up on holiday necessities and begin a Christmas savings plan. These are all things you can do now that will not only save you money next Christmas, but will save you stress and last-minute frustrations.

Cut Christmas Clutter

If you followed the Decluttering Advent Calendar, then you cleaned out some unused holiday decorations at the beginning of December. It's time to revisit this task. Get rid of broken lights, unused ornaments and old, tattered garland. Christmas lights can be recycled by sending them to the Holiday LEDs program. They'll send you a coupon that you can use towards the purchase of new LED holiday lights. Ornaments and other Christmas decorations in good condition can be sold at a garage sale or sent to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Clean out the stuff you don't need now and store what's left in an organized manner. Next Christmas, you'll be happy to find your favorite holiday decorations ready to display! 

Stock Up on Holiday Necessities

While I am not a fan of hitting the post-Christmas sales because I think they promote over-buying and lead to many of us having too much clutter, this is the best time to stock up on holiday necessities.  Buy wrapping paper, Christmas cards, gift bags and lights at rock bottom, clearance prices. The key is to buy only what you need. If you went through two rolls of wrapping paper this year, then only buy two rolls of wrapping paper. Don't buy ten rolls, no matter how cheap it is. Just because something is cheap, doesn't mean it's a good deal, especially when it adds to your clutter and creates stress.

Save for Next Christmas

2010 was the first year that I had set aside a bit of money each month for Christmas shopping. By October, I had just about all I needed for gift purchases. It was a huge stress reliever. There are many ways to save money for Christmas. You can open a Christmas Club account at your bank, you can save cash or you can designate a bit of money in your checking account for holiday purchases (simply deduct the chosen amount from your balance each month and keep a tally in a separate ledger). You can also save money in a Paypal account. Since I get paid through Paypal for a few of my writing jobs, I simply left the money there and used it for on-line Christmas shopping. No matter how you decide to save money for holiday shopping, I highly recommend that you do it. Even if you're putting away just $10 a month, you'll still have $120 dollars to spend on Christmas shopping next December. Ideally, you'd figure out what you spent this year, divide the number by 12 and save that much money every month.

To prepare even more for next Christmas, I also recommend that you sign up for Swagbucks, if you haven't already. Through Swagbucks, you earn points for things like web searches, polls and using the swag toolbar.  The points can then be used to "buy" things from the Swag Store. With points, you can get gift cards for Amazon or other stores. It takes awhile to accumulate enough points to make purchases, so I'm using it as a long-term savings plan for next year's holiday shopping, in addition to my usual savings.

Get a jump now on next year's holiday preparations. You'll save stress and money by cutting down on Christmas clutter, buying holiday necessities and saving for Christmas shopping. Best of all,  you'll thank yourself for creating a more peaceful holiday season!  

7 comments:

  1. I am already planning for next year. I am sorting ornaments and pairing down more than I did last year.
    I have my list of projects that I would like to make for next Christmas and I am planning to work on them a little bit each month.
    For example in January I am going to work on my quilting technique so I can quilt for each of my girls. Then once that is done its on to the next task on the list and so on and so forth.
    Just a thought you mention buying Holiday wrapping paper, but for those of you frugal eco minded out there now is a good time to buy all sorts of Christmas fabric at rock bottom prices. Sew together with a non-christmas print for reuseable wrapping paper.

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  2. I asked my Australian friend what Boxing Day is. A Canadian friend also wrote about it on Facebook. The Aussie friend said is when you box up all your excess from Christmas and give it to someone who needs it.

    We took a bunch of stuff in boxes to the Salvation Army today and I thinking this is such a great tradition. Won't change countries, however.

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  3. Thanks so much for this post, as well as all your other ones but specifically the Holiday themed ones. I've really found this blog to be a voice of calm, reason, logic and encouragement amidst this crazy season!

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  4. I have been clearing clutter like crazy and am loving it! I cleaned out my box of Christmas wrapping paper, bows, etc. and it looks so much better. I've been wanting to try Swagbucks too. Thanks for the info!

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  5. Tree Huggin Momma - I love the idea of using fabric for gift wrap. I've read before about wrapping gifts with a usuable fabric-type gift, like dish towels, etc.

    Carol - I never knew that was the spirit behind boxing day. I like that! I went to college near the Canadian border and worked in retail. To us, boxing day was the day all the Canadians came down and shopped like crazy. I've known lots of Canadians and have never gotten that explanation for boxing day before.:)

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  6. I Should be Sleeping - Thank you! That was a lovely compliment!

    Melissa - It feels great to declutter, doesn't it?

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  7. I didn't decorate for Christmas this year, because of home renovations, and with just me, my husband and my mom, we didn't even wrap the presents. I kind of miss it, but on the other hand, it's easier to go back to normal. What I hit the after-Christmas sales for was gifts for the extended family for next year. With some 30 gifts to buy and not a lot of money to spend, finding decent presents at least a third off regular price (and under $3 each) was a real blessing!

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Thanks!