It is so trendy to hate seeing Christmas deco out before Halloween. But it’s not like us early preppers want to celebrate Christmas for months and months, we just don’t want to be chicken with our heads cut off when the time comes.
Finding and decorating a Christmas tree.
Doing an advent calendar.
Meal planning and cooking.
Baking cookies for neighbors.
These are but a few of the things that typically happen between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some families do more. Some families do less. But nary a person escapes that manic “things are so busy right now oh my goodness I need a peppermint cookie” feeling.
Oh, but one thing was obviously missing from the above list. One thing that you are generally expected to do. For your family. And all your friends. And then your neighbors. And probably some co-workers. Oh and your kids’ teachers and the ladies in your home group who wanted to do Secret Santa plus about 27 more people.
And that’s buying presents.
IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!!!!
Okay, excuse the sarcasm because I do think it’s one of the best times of year. I also think that present buying can get out of control fast and besides the fact it can be expensive, it can ad more and more stress to the already full plate you’re trying to empty. Some people truly enjoy shopping naturally as they find things others would love, but some like doing it in a more organized way.
Here’s why I think planning for and buying Christmas presents early is not a matter of being over eager, but about being wise based on your own family. Because, after the presents are bought and wrapped, you can actually relax and spend time with family doing things that feel slow and special.
Planning does not equal celebrating.
“Christmas stuff out before Halloween!”
“Christmas decorations already?”
This is the stuff that annoys people. But here’s the thing: just because you start planning for Christmas doesn’t mean you are celebrating it. I’m not hanging up the stockings mid-October. I’m just trying to avoid the manic busyness that comes after Thanksgiving. And the crazy packed malls and shopping centers.
Those things are exciting to the Fun + Energetic mom, but not so much to the rest of us. Just because we want to be prepared and have the “work” done ahead of time doesn’t mean we’re getting “ahead of ourselves.” It means we’re trying to organize our time so, when December gets here, we can prioritize what’s important.
Stress ruins good times.
You can help manage your own expectations during this holiday season, but it’s also a good idea to know what others expect. Do you need to nail down how you’ll shop? One gift per family member or will you drawn names? Are you hosting Thanksgiving, Christmas or an annual party?
By knowing what needs to be done and doing it ahead of time, it means there is more time to relax, drink eggnog, look at Christmas lights, and watch A Christmas Story without the stress of 2 a.m. wrapping on Christmas Eve. I know some personalities don’t mind waiting until the last minute because they enjoy living in the moment (Fun + Energetic and Calm + Steady moms are more like this), but for some people waiting until the last minute just sucks all the joy out (Confident + Take Charge and Strong + Deliberate moms tend towards this).
Budgets can be met.
My mom recently gave this advice to someone planning a wedding. “It’s easy to stay on budget when you’re doing things in advance. It’s the last two weeks when you just start spending like crazy because time’s running out.” This is what happens if you don’t have any gifts 3 days before Christmas. You pay out the wazoo because there’s no time and you just have to get some things. Some people shop throughout the year and others just shop before the Christmas rush, but if you make a list, check it twice, and get it done before things get too hectic you can actually stay on budget.
You’re not a slave to what “must be done.”
This is the most important part. Some personalities simply cannot smell the roses if the garden is all full of weeds and there’s trash on the path and mulch waiting to be laid down. Some personalities can close their eyes, block everything out, and still smell the roses. The answer is not for everyone to do things one way, but for everyone to do things that best serve them.
I may get dirty looks when I go down the Christmas aisle.
I might be getting ahead of myself shopping this week.
But come Black Friday, I won’t be getting knifed at Best Buy, scrolling the internet looking for the best deal, or circling parking lots for a space the Saturday before Christmas.
Do you love early shopping or enjoy the spontaneity of waiting?
I’ve created a Clutter Free Gift Guide for those that are about to start buying all the gifts and getting it done. It’s ideas for gifts that are either usable in many contexts, don’t create clutter, or are not physical at all! Hopefully these will give you some good ideas as you dive into the shopping.