Today marks 100 days until Christmas.
I enjoyed Christmas before I had kids, but when I had an army attacking the Christmas tree in the early hours of Christmas morning, I knew the real joy of the holidays. The key to staying sane through the season is to get organized. I have a friend who once said “All the holidays are a week apart now – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas.” He was joking, but as my kids have grown, I’ve found it to be frighteningly true.
So as much as you may be sweltering in the heat, or if your porch is still decorated for July 4th, you will be a happier, saner person if you at least start doing a little thinking about the holidays now.
Budget. Especially with multiples, we can go overboard on the gift and clothing purchases. Now is the time to put away a little extra or decide to brown-bag lunches.
Set up a calendar. School concerts, trick-or-treating, parties; there are a lot of events coming up for the family. Sketch them out now so you can find the time you need. Want pictures with Santa? Schedule a good weekend – then think about if you want new outfits for that picture. Pencil in that shopping trip too. I find I have to work backwards like this a lot. There are fewer and fewer “free” weekends for us as the years go on.
Buy costumes early. Sure, it seems like there are a million of them in the store now, but when you want that Thomas the Tank engine the week of Halloween, there is no guarantee you’ll find it. I also felt I got my money’s worth if the kids played with their costumes before the big day. Does your child want something unusual? Try eBay. One year my daughter just *had* to be Simba. The costume wasn’t made by Disney any more, but I found it on eBay for $2.
Create traditions. I think this is one of the most important things we can do for our children. They don’t all have to be deep and meaningful, they can be silly as well. Repeating things the same way during the season gives kids a wonderful sense of anticipation and nostalgia for home.
Set up wish lists for your kids. I’ll admit I’m not always good at this, although the kids are old enough to do this themselves now. If you have relatives like mine, some of them shop very early and will ask you what to get for the kids. Have sizes and preferences ready. People appreciate some guidance.
The holidays should be relaxed and joyful, without debt despair in January. You can do it.
We’re getting ready for Fall by testing candy over at Lit and Laundry today.