10 Things I'm Doing Right Now to Get Ready For the Upcoming Holiday Season
I'm a planner by nature, so I'm always thinking ahead when it comes to vacations, events, and holidays. This year, however, is a bit unique, as I am expecting my first child in a little less than a month. This means my typical Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's traditions are all going to be altered, and I find myself already thinking ahead as to how I can best prepare for the coming months. A big part of the planning process for me is budgeting, as I am self-employed and plan to take three months off without pay once the little one arrives.
Another tradition my husband and I want to keep is throwing our annual "Festivus" holiday party in early December. Although this could change depending on how the first few weeks/months go with the baby, it's important to both of us to continue with this event, as it's an opportunity to see friends and family members all at once and have a big celebration! I also see it as way to introduce our new baby to anyone in our circle who we have not had the opportunity to catch up with in September, October, or November. Overall, I feel pretty good about my "plan ahead" nature, and I've listed some of the ways I am setting myself up for success this holiday season with a newborn.
Making a To-Do List
Well in advance of each holiday, I sit down and write out exactly what I need to do and when I need to do it. Thanksgiving and Christmas usually fill up multiple pages with big and small chores I need to accomplish, while New Year's is a little less time-consuming. Writing it all down and checking off boxes as I go ensures I stay on track, and therefore less likely to get overwhelmed as each event sneaks closer.
Setting a Budget For Holiday Gift Purchases
With a baby due soon, I'll be on maternity leave this Winter with very limited income coming my way. This means I need to be extra careful about my holiday purchases so I don't overextend my wallet and credit cards. Once I determine my realistic budget and the amount of gifts I need to buy, it's a lot easier to map out all of the shopping that needs to take place and how much I can allot towards each family member for Christmas.
Daily Meditation For Stress Relief
Let's face it, holidays can be stressful. I'm a huge believer in meditation and mindfulness, and I always feel refreshed after I spend a few quiet minutes reflecting and deep breathing on my own. As I get ready for my new baby and the craziness of the holiday season, I'm making sure to meditate or listen to encouraging mantras in my car on a daily basis.
Securing Party Essentials From Friends
One of my favorite things to do for our Festivus party is make a sangria recipe with cinnamon whiskey, apples, pears, club soda, and white wine. Since we almost always run out, this year I'll be borrowing extra drink dispensers from friends to store and serve multiple gallons to last us all night long. I typically borrow serving dishes and plates from my parents as well, and getting those items reserved in advance makes planning our buffet table display much easier.
Purchasing Small Stocking Stuffers in Advance
My family has always been big on stocking stuffers, and I admit it's also one of my favorite parts of the gift opening process. Whenever I see small, cute gifts on sale I think my family will enjoy, I make sure to pick them up and set aside for the future. Sometimes this starts as early as January or February, as stores are looking to mark down merchandise that didn't sell the year before!
Scheduling Exercise Classes Way In Advance
Not only will I be battling some extra baby weight this Winter, but I also have a big Italian family who celebrates the holidays with extreme amounts of delicious and caloric food. Workouts are usually easy for me to accomplish, but adding a child to the mix means I need to plan ahead. I've already spoken to my husband about his work schedule and mapped out a pilates and yoga class each week he'll make sure to be home for. I've also made plans with a friend to meet up for walks an additional couple days a week this Fall and Winter.
Bookmarking Special Recipes For Holiday Meals
I enjoy cooking, but often find myself sticking to the same five to 10 recipes over and over again. I see the holiday season as an opportunity to break out of the cooking rut I've fallen into lately, and have already begun setting aside new and fun recipes to try this year. I especially look forward to unique sides and desserts to add on to the traditional main dishes my family sticks to each year.
Sorting Through Last Year's Christmas Decorations
Every year as we begin to decorate our house, I find there's always something we need to go out and purchase, inevitably spending three times the price since it's last minute. This year I've started going through our ornaments, gift bags, lights, and decorations early, and jotting down what we have and might need more of. The goal is to make sure we're ready to go long before the Christmas markup starts to take place.
Stocking Up on Thank You Cards and Stamps
I find if I write thank you cards as soon as I receive a gift, it makes the whole process a lot easier. This year I'm making sure to have plenty of cards and stamps ready to go, so as gifts come in for myself or the baby, I'm easily able to write and send my cards out right away.
Getting as Much Sleep as Possible
Have an infant during holiday season ensures I'll be getting little to no sleep. This is why I'm making a point to get to bed early most nights now, and practicing sound sleep habits so I'm well rested and have high energy heading into this next phase of life.