Christmas Preparations: how to enjoy the season and not let it control you

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I feel comfortable talking about Christmas (Christmas doesn’t start for me until Thanksgiving is over, I refuse to bypass it). Soon the Christmas madness will start. Every year, I feel stressed about everything that I have to get done rather than enjoying the season. For just a brief time of the year, people are cheerful, giving, forgiving, the cool air mixed with the warmth of hot chocolate and Christmas smells. But then there’s always something I forget to do which results in me being upset because I want everything to be perfect. People begin to go crazy for finding presents, making food, decorating, and essentially just stretching themselves so think they just don’t enjoy the season. So this year in order to try and get as much ready for the Christmas holiday, I created a Christmas Prep List to help me keep track of everything I know I would like to get done so the season can be enjoyed and not turned into a checklist…well, other than this.

  1. Fill December calendar with the events for the month so everyone knows what’s going on. I always include deadlines and task that need to be completed.
  2. Take Christmas card pictures, which we plan on taking this weekend.
  3. Pick a picture for the card, get them printed.
  4. Start collecting addresses to send the cards out to, most of these we already have but we have a few we still need.
  5. Make sure to have envelopes and stamps for cards.
  6. Mail out Christmas cards, the goal is to have them all sent out by the second week of December so they aren’t too early or too late.  
  7. Create a budget for presents. I always like to budget first, so I can prioritize who we need to shop for.
  8. List of who I need to buy presents for. In an ideal world we could afford to buy presents for all of our loved ones, but that’s just not possible for us. So we have to prioritize who really want to get something, usually includes each other and our parents.
  9. Brainstorm presents, in order to say with in the budget its helps to go shopping with a plan.
  10. Set deadline for getting presents. Some might need to be mailed out.
  11. Clean apartment and rearrange furniture to make space for decorations. I’ve been working on this all week.
  12. Get a tree, still deciding on real or fake.
  13. Decorations go up! I like to put them up the Sunday after Thanksgiving but since we were out of town and with work, Christmas decorations this year won’t be up until this Sunday.
  14. Make sure to have wrapping paper. Last year I totally forgot to get some and all our gifts were under the tree covered with blankets… It wasn’t pretty!
  15. Plan fun seasonal dates to go on.
  16. Plan Christmas dinner.
  17. Premake cookie dough! I love baking but cookies during the holidays seems more like a stress than a joy. I have found that the best way for me to enjoy it still is to premake all my dough and freeze it. SO EASY!
  18. Go shopping for Christmas dinner.

Over the years, I’ve met people that live for Christmas. I mean, Christmas is literally their life. They start decorating in October and leave it all up through March. Then there are those who dread Christmas because there are family parties, food, Christmas shopping, finding time to give to charities along with other activities. Then there is me, I like to enjoy every season and holiday to its fullest. From Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and so on.

This year, I want to do one thing differently, remember the true meaning of Christmas. I understand many people are an atheist, agnostic or whatever they choose to define themselves as which is fine, but as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Christ is at the center of it all. I want to remember his birth, what he gave to the world, and how to follow his example! I’ve shared some of my favorite Christmas songs below that I think will put you all in the season! What are some of your Christmas preparations and what do you do to enjoy the season? L

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