Yes, it’s a long way off still, but in a cost of living crisis we need to get sorted for Christmas early. Although it was a shock to see Christmas goods in the shops in September, now is the time to start getting those tactics in place to create the festive season you want. But do you know how to plan Christmas this early? Well, we have put together some tips to help.
Rather than leave everything till December and facing the mother of all bills, getting the gears of Christmas prep cranking now will help.
How to plan Christmas early – tips
Grab a Christmas planner
We all love a bit of stationery, right? Well here’s your excuse to get one and plot out how you will attack getting everything sorted for the big day. Obviously, you can use an online alternative instead. There are loads of free planning apps. But, you know…stationery is great, right?
In that planner, you can plot out all of the below.
Sort your budget
There are still a couple of paydays before Christmas, so really think about your budget. With the cost of borrowing shooting through the roof it would be best not to get into debt over the festive period. Of course, there are many pressures out there that often end up with us sticking presents and celebrations on credit cards, but you still have time to minimise how much you might need to borrow.
Look at your incomings and outgoings to see what you can realistically spend on gifts, food and other items for Yuletide. This gives you a little more wriggle room than if you don’t think about it until December.
Look for ways to increase your budget
If your budget isn’t what you would like, you have time to increase it when you consider how to plan Christmas early. Could you take on extra hours at work or maybe get a seasonal side hustle? Hospitality companies, parcel delivery firms and other industries that get busier at this time of year could have openings.
Alternatively, can you sell anything to bring in some cash. Try decluttering some of the kids’ toys that they’re too old for now. This is a double whammy – it frees up some space and provides you with cash. Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Vinted and all manner of other sites are perfect for shifting the items you don’t use in order to boost your Christmas budget.
List all the people you want to buy gifts for
Make a list of everyone you would usually buy gifts for. Now, look at it and think about whether you need to buy them all presents. Obviously, you want to get some for your kids. But do you need to spend precious dough on great aunt Deirdre? Why not talk to some of the people on the list and agree to not get each other anything this year. We’re all strapped for cash and they might have had the same thought anyway. You can plan to meet up in the new year for a meal or night out instead, maybe.
Whittle the list down to the essential gift receivers and you will get a better idea of how much cash you have to play with.
Plan what gifts you’re giving
One of the reasons it is good to know how to plan Christmas early is that it gives you time to shop around. Work out what you are getting people, note it down and then look out for bargains. Look for sales in the shops. Watch online auctions to see if you can nip in with a great deal and think about what you can get using coupons or vouchers that you build up on your shopping reward card, for example.
Review last Christmas
Talk to the family and ask them what their favourite bits of Christmas are. Also, ask what they’re not bothered about. What were their highlights from last year and which bits were disappointing. With this in mind, you can prioritise the bits that make it special – the family meal, the trip to the carol concert or whatever. And you can cut out the expensive stuff that doesn’t add to the experience.
We sometimes feel that we need to throw everything at the Christmas period, but you can cut your costs without any detriment if you work out what’s not worth the expense.
Plot an activity advent calendar
A great way to make the run-up to Christmas feel really special is to create an advent calendar for activities. You can only do this if you plan ahead. Note down 24 festive activities, such as watching a Christmas film together, going to a light switch-on, making homemade decorations and so on, then reveal a new one each day and make sure you carry it out later on. You can make all of the activities free or low cost if you like, but you create a very special Christmassy atmosphere.