Take 5 Minutes Today to Think About Next Christmas—Really!

Take 5 Minutes Today to Think About Next Christmas—Really!

Christmas was exactly one month ago, and I’m sure you’re ready to move on.  In fact, you already have.  But you can have a much smoother Christmas next year if you stop and think about 4 little things right now, while there’s plenty of time to do something about it: 

1. Put your Christmas budget on autopilot.  We have a savings account that’s just for our Christmas money. It’s free, it pays interest, and it’s not where we do most of our banking—so we’re not tempted to dip into those funds for other reasons.

If you’re still paying for this past Christmas, make a plan to pay it off as soon as possible and start saving for next year.

2.  Is there anything you need to buy?  I’ve shown you our family’s handmade stockings.  The problem is, we have 6 family members but only 5 stockings!  Our littlest guy has celebrated two Christmases with no stocking of his own, and it’s because I never think to order one for him until we pull out the decorations the day after Thanksgiving, and at that point it’s too late.

The Christmas season is over, but I’m ordering his stocking now—so it will be ready for next year.

3.  Is there anything you’d like to make?   I’d love to sew a tree skirt, but this year I just didn’t think of it until November.  I’m making that my spring sewing project (and as a bonus, I can get my holiday fabric at clearance prices!)

Take the time now to review your holiday boards on Pinterest and see if there’s anything you’d like to take care of now so it will be ready for next year.

4.  Is there anything you want to remember?  I want to remember to schedule our travel more carefully next year.  This past Christmas we scheduled our travel differently than we have in years past, and it was an epic fail. My whole family was exhausted by December 23 and didn’t have enough steam to make it cheerfully through Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

But by next December, I’ll probably have forgotten just how bad it was.  To make sure I don’t make the same mistake again, I’ve written myself a note and dropped it in my tickler file for next November.

Are you doing anything now to get ready for next Christmas?

photo credit: Toni Kaarttinen

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  1. Lots of good reminders up there (especially setting aside money for Christmas – which we do each month, but it goes into our general savings and gets mixed in with everything else). I always hit the after-Christmas sales and get started on next year. The sales this year were average at best (at least where we live), but I managed to get a few items for family members, not just for Christmas, but for a birthday or two as well as Father’s Day.

    However, next year I really want to go more meaningful than just another gift card, so I’m trying to keep it simple in the gift department so that I can give gifts from Samaritan’s Purse if I decide to go that route. A tarp for shelter or clean water, perhaps? 🙂 I’m actually tossing around the idea of doing that for everyone’s birthdays this year and sticking to more traditional gifts for Christmas, but I haven’t decided yet, and the first family birthday has already passed by, so we’ll see.

  2. Jamie says:

    Great ideas! I started a Pinterest board of 2012 gift ideas based on what people got for Christmas that they loved or things they wanted and didn’t get, so next time I need to get them something I have ready reminders.

    I also made notes for myself on the most popular gift-exchange gifts I saw during the season. I always have the hardest time figuring out what to bring for those (and hate to just bring candy, since so many people can’t have it) and will definitely appreciate those tickler ideas next November!

    The other thing I did that I’m most happy about is made a note in my planner about Small Business Saturday – the day after Black Friday when most local small businesses hold open houses, run specials, etc. I like to support local businesses when possible, so I want to make sure I remember to look for their specials next year!

  3. Jennifer Haddow says:

    We use our HSA money to pay for Christmas. It’s automatically deducted from Chris’ pay and then I file all the claims in early November. So basically, if we don’t get sick, then we don’t have Christmas? Wow, I just figured that out – maybe not such a good plan LOL

  4. Christine says:

    Good tips. A few years ago, we started budgeting for Christmas and birthdays beginning in January. Every month we put a little aside, so that we don’t have to go into debt for Christmas. It has been such a blessing to not carry that “Christmas debt guilt” into January!

    This year, I want to plan earlier for a family photo for our Christmas card. The past few years, I’ve only had the kids’ pictures on the card because I didn’t plan enough ahead to get a family photo. Here’s to next Christmas!


  5. Lita M. says:

    I have $50 transfered automatically each month also to my Christmas savings account for the past I don’t know how many years, and do you think I ever use this account to do my actual Christmas shopping? Of course not! Lol! But, it’s a great way to build up your savings! When I see a great buy, no matter what month, I always get 6 pieces for relatives and 5 for my closest girlfriends and glad that half of my Christmas shopping is already done which can be as early as August!

  6. Katie A. says:

    Ha ha, inadvertently, I’m so on top of the coming Christmas… because I didn’t get around to finishing the Christmas napkins I made until after New Year’s Day. But then they got washed, ironed, folded, and put away with the Christmas stuff until this year when they’re needed.

    Now to finish the placemats…

  7. Wonderful post — I shared it on FB and Twitter.

    I use ING and love it — except I have misplaced my password. Sigh. This will be the second time I have to call them and admit that.

    I’m going to try to do a lot of homemade gifts this year. Angie from The Jammie Girl and I have a board on Pinterest with DIY Christmas gifts — things for grownups, kids, etc.

  8. Heatherly says:

    Every year I see these great Advent calendars or activities and I never think of them until Thanksgiving, when everything’s set in motion. This year I’m putting a note at the beginning of October on my Teux Deux to review Advent plans with Hubby. Thank you for the reminder.

  9. Helen says:

    I typically plan all my Christmas cooking/crafting/gifting etc the previous Christmas and file it all away in a OneNote file, makes Christmas prep the following year so easy!

  10. 'Becca says:

    Since 1998 my partner and I have been making a Pittsburgh Photo Calendar that we give to our friends and family around the world–about 25 copies each year. The recipients love it, and each of us enjoys one of our calendars all year long. The problem is that, more years than not, we have failed to get the calendars ready in time for people to open them on Christmas! Either we get a late start, or we get derailed somewhere in the process and finish late, or there’s some kind of delay at the print shop. We have mailed them as late as January 15!!

    This year, I vow to take plenty of landscape/architecture photos each month so we have a good selection to choose from. I vow to launch the photo-choosing and holiday-labeling process on NOVEMBER FIRST. I vow to plan a weekend day when I take charge of the kid and give my partner the opportunity to work uninterrupted on the layout and cover design, instead of just snarling at him about why isn’t it done yet. And I have already counted the big envelopes to make sure we have more than enough left for mailing next year’s calendars!

  11. Eos Mom says:

    I was just thinking about this today, that I’d like to make some notes about how this year went ot make it easier for next time. (Of course I’ve already forgotten what I wanted to write down. Ugh, mommy brain!)

  12. We put cash into an envelope weekly that I carry with me in case I run across a good Christmas present deal during the year. The budgeted amount also includes birthday gifts for immediate and some of our extended family.

    Last year, I didn’t take as many pictures as I normally do which made putting together our family photo calendar for extended family a bit difficult. I also didn’t have much to work with for the photo Christmas card.

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