It's October, and My Holiday Preparations Are Done — Because I Started Last December

You know those people who start playing Christmas music in September and hound you with questions about Christmas menus, parties, and presents at back-to-school night? And you want to smack them because, OMG, it's September, and can I please have a second to adjust to Summer's departure? Confession: that's me, and no, I'm not the tiniest bit sorry about it.

There are few things I love more than Christmas. In our house, the most wonderful time of the year doesn't officially kick off until Nov. 1, but by that time, I've long since finished all of my holiday preparations. Case in point: it's currently mid-October, but I've been prepped for over a month. I know, people like me probably drive you crazy. But while scores of people are in full-on Grinch mode because the hustle and bustle is just too damn much in December, I'll be curled up in front of the fire, watching my favorite holiday movies, and basking in the magic of the season.

Because by now, tickets to all of our favorite holiday events have been purchased, coordinating family pajamas have been ordered, holiday menus have been planned, and my shopping is DONE! So when Nov. 1 rolls around, all I have to do is crank some Christmas music, deck my halls, and spread some Christmas cheer. This season, my friends, is it — this is my time to shine.

I start getting ready for Christmas on or about Dec. 31. I make the rounds at my favorite stores and stock up on decorations, wrapping paper, gift tags, ribbons, and bows at 75 to 90 percent off and stash them in my attic. When it's time to break everything out the following year, I have no recollection of what I purchased on clearance the year before, but I can tell you that finding 100 feet of brand-new, prelit garland I didn't even know I had is a great way to kick off the season, because it means my kitchen cabinets will be super festive this year!

As the new year goes on, I keep my eyes open for deals on clothes and toys that I can put away for Christmas. When I come across really good buys, I take it all! Because besides shopping for my own friends and family, I also stock up on items to donate. My oldest daughter helps me wrap gifts from my donation pile, which we then deliver to various organizations. Christmas is the season of giving, after all, and teaching my children that not everyone is as fortunate as they are is very important to me.

When September rolls around, there's little left to do. I start reminding my parents that my children don't need an obscene amount of stuff on Christmas morning and finalize plans with family and friends for various holiday excursions. By October, I'm just counting the days until it's safe to put my tree up.

Every year, my family complains that I'm as bad as the big box stores in terms of rushing the holidays, but I beg to differ. I don't prep for Christmas all year long so that it will be over. I prep so that I can truly enjoy it. From Nov. 1 through Dec. 25, I enjoy a stress-free holiday season. The only thing better than that is seeing my children awed by the magic of it all.

So say what you will, or keep sending those memes about people like me, but I can assure you that until you've gone through a holiday season with no to-do list, you have no idea what you're missing.