This is the first post in a year-long series all about taking baby steps to prepare for a stress-free Christmas next year. Here’s what to do in January to prepare for next Christmas!
I’ve decided that I’m going to go on a little mission this year to perfect my Christmas preparations game. It definitely wasn’t bad before and there are quite a few things that I’ve gotten into the habit of getting done early that have really helped when we get deep into the craziness of Christmas season. For instance, I buy all of my gift cards for teachers, bus drivers, mail people, etc. in September every year, then all I need to do is hand them out when the time comes. I also start wrapping whatever gifts I have on hand on October 15th, which really helps me get a jump start on it and helps make the wrapping that I do in November and December feel more fun and less like a chore. But still, there are things that I could do better and things that I’ve been meaning to do for years that I have yet to implement. So I decided to add a little accountability to this whole thing and take you along for the ride with me. 🙂 We’ll start with what things you can do in January to prepare for next Christmas.
For more about my method for preparing for Christmas, read Five Semi-Sneaky Secrets of People Who Are Really Good at Christmas
How This Works
Every month, I’ll share a short list of three to five actionable items. These will be little baby steps that you can take care of to get some of the tasks you might normally find yourself doing in December done well ahead of time. The goal here is to free you up to actually enjoy the holiday season as much as possible and to leave some time for things like spontaneous baking, winter walks with the family, fun decor projects, and things like that without making you feel stressed out about all the stuff you’re putting off doing, because all of the “have to do” stuff will already be done!
Of course, I’ll do doing all of these tasks right along with you and reporting back about how it all goes.
What to do in January to Prepare for Next Christmas
So let’s get to this month’s action items! Some of these things are things that I’ve done in the past, and some are new additions to my Christmas preparation master plan.
Start a Gift Idea List Sheet
I’ve done this for the last five year or so and it has been super helpful to me. Actually starting the list is the simplest thing ever and only takes about thirty seconds. All you need to do is grab a blank piece of paper and make a few sections for you to mark down some different ideas for different gift categories. That way, when a gift idea pops into your head throughout the year, you’ll have a designated spot to write it down and you’ll have all your ideas ready together when you’re all set to shop. Feel free to do a digital version of this if you prefer. I may switch to a list on my phone at some point this year, but I’ve always done a simple paper list in previous years and it works just perfectly.
A few categories that I usually make spaces for are a list of people that I want to buy a gift for this year, stocking stuffer ideas, advent calendar ideas, larger gift ideas for specific people, and gift ideas for me! That last one is helpful to others as well because when someone asks you what you might like for Christmas, you’ll actually have some good useful ideas for them!
Purge Decor You No Longer Use
This is something that I definitely need to do this year. I have quite a few items (ahem, most of my items) that I didn’t use this year and I think that’s a definite sign that it’s time to let some things go. It’s so much nicer to decorate when you don’t have to dig through a bunch of junk that you have no intention of using this year.
Sign Up for a Rewards Program to Save Up Money for Next Christmas
I did this last year and honestly, I still have a few hundred dollars in rewards leftover that I didn’t end up redeeming. It was a very worthwhile thing to do. I use a rewards system from my grocery store (Real Canadian Superstore in Canada) so I earn a little every time I buy groceries. I didn’t touch the rewards dollars all year so I had quite a bit ready to be spent at the end of the year. The rewards dollars for this program can also be spent on the in-store clothing section so I was able to buy Christmas pyjamas for the whole family and it could have been great for all kinds of different stocking stuffers and baking supplies as well if I had thought to spend it on that. Something to improve on this year. 🙂
I would love to hear about what successes you’ve had with different rewards programs and if you found anything useful to spend your rewards on for Christmas in the past!
Buy Cozy Socks and/or Christmas-Themed Socks
Who doesn’t love new cozy socks at Christmas? The stores will be putting winter items like this on sale at this time of year to make room for spring merchandise and this is a great item to have on hand for next year for just about anyone on your list. Buy a few special pairs and you’ll definitely find homes for them. This is something I forgot to do last year, but this year I will be ON it!
That’s it for this month! What other things will you be doing in January to prepare for next Christmas?
MORE IDEAS LIKE THIS
- What to Clean in January
- What to Clean in February
- The Laundry Basket in the Trunk Trick
- The Five Finger Trick for Controlling Clutter
- The Monthly Christmas Countdown Checklist Archives
Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.