Sunday, December 27, 2015

10 Tips to Prepare for Next Christmas RIGHT NOW

I have to say it, I'm so glad Christmas is over! I hope yours was somewhat enjoyable.

Before we know it, we will be back around again to the Christmas hustle and bustle of 2016. Yeah, I know. Don't remind me, either! 2015 was enough for me!

Wouldn't it be nice if you knew you had already made preparations the year before? Believe it or not, you can take a whole lot of stress of yourself by preparing now.

Before you start to pack away Christmas, take into consideration the following tips to make your next holiday smoother than a well-groomed skating rink in the winter:

1. Immediately pack away any gifts that just didn't fit the bill. You can use them to "regift" next year. If you're anything like me, you won't have any idea who to give them to at the moment, but it never fails, every year, there are always people the gifts  would be perfect for. (And I usually end up needed too many last minute gifts.)

2. Reduce the clutter that you have to dig through next year by throwing out disheveled decorations. I know it's hard to get rid of anything when you're packing away decorations and cleaning up after Christmas. It's easier to start over with the decorations that are the best looking, plus you'll save time, energy and packing space by getting rid of the raggedy ones. And can't we all use more time, energy and packing space? I know I can!

3. Make notes of "hit list gifts." Did you notice that your niece loved a certain book series? Maybe your sister showed her passion for kitchen gadgets. Write it down. I don't know about you, but I won't remember most of these memories by the next time the crunch of next season rolls around!

4. Choose next year's theme and shop accordingly when you're hitting those after Christmas sales. That way, you're not buying items that aren't going to match your theme, and before next Christmas is even packed away, you'll have most of next year's decor planned out. (I'd love to try the black, white and yellow/gold one year!)

5. Pre-purchase wrapping paper, but stick to two or three patterns. That's plenty of variety! If you happen to find wrapping paper that can double through the year as miscellaneous wrapping paper, you've done doubly good!

6. Keep and store all of the gift boxes you received this year. They will make perfect gift boxes next year for the oddly shaped gifts that are difficult to wrap.

7. Mark and categorize packed decorations and decor. When you start decorating next year, you'll find the tree skirt and stockings and everything else you will need right when you need them. I have wasted hours and hours looking for the Christmas tree skirt, which was tucked in the bottom of a Rubbermaid container. Just a few minutes of labeling saves a whole lot of time!

8. Start buying gifts in advance. Another time and money saving trick is to create a Christmas present storage area and start shopping for gifts now instead of crunching at the end of the year. If you shop online, you don't have to stress shipping times and can save on those last minute shipping costs, as well. Keep a running list of people to shop for and knock them out throughout the year. By the time Halloween comes, you can have most of your Christmas lost done and enjoy the season, rather than stress it.

9. Use real ribbon. Grab reams of ribbon when they are on sale throughout the year and use fabric instead of throw away ribbon. Not only can it be saved and reused when Christmas is over, real ribbon also looks a lot more fabulous than that fake stuff we just throw away.

10. After Christmas debriefing. Take a moment to reflect on the 2015 holiday season with the family. Which aspects and traditions did you love? Which ones do you feel should be tossed aside in 2016? There's only so much time and money to go around once the holidays are upon us, so plan accordingly in advance to ensure 2016 is even less hectic and more enjoyable.

Just a little bit of planning at the end of the 2015 holiday season can make the 2016 holidays so much more enjoyable! Which of these things do you already do at the end of each year? Do you have any tips to add?
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