Your 6 Week Plan for Less Stress and More Joy for the 2023 Holiday Season

So I have always been a last minute person when it comes to my holiday shopping and preparation. In fact, the holidays always stressed me out and and while I wanted to “enjoy” them it just seemed like something more out of a Hallmark movie versus real life. However, a few years ago I noticed that my mother in law never seemed to be very stressed around the holidays. Now, I know a lot of that is because she definitely handles stress better than I do, but I asked her why she never seemed so overwhelmed and she told me that she just starts preparing way in advance (more like the month of July) and takes it in little pieces. I remember thinking that was so early, but then after having my daughter I realized that she was 100% right.

The key to enjoying the holiday season, is to prepare in advance and take it in little pieces.

After getting some of her advice and finding some of my own ways, I have started to create a much more doable and less stressful approach to the holiday season that I really wanted to share with you. Now, I do prepare some things as early as August (ie like booking holiday photos), but today, I thought I’d break down the rest of the upcoming weeks leading up to Christmas so that you too can have a more enjoyable holiday season. Let’s dive in!

Week 1: 11/13 – 11/19

  • First, you are going to create a budget. Now, this alone could be a blog post haha, but I want you to think of what you can financially afford for this holiday season. You need to be honest with yourself because part of what makes the holiday season so stressful is how expensive it can be. We set the budget first, then work backwards. Within this, it is important to think about more than just gifts though because typically we spend money on a lot of other stuff as this time too like holiday cards, gift wrapping, etc.
  • Next, you will create your gift list and assign a budgetary amount to each person. This is why you set your overall budget first, so then you can break everything down realistically.
  • Third, is to begin brainstorming gift ideas for each person
  • Lastly, I want you to think of what your theme will be for the holiday season. Now, some people switch this up every year, other people put the same decor up. It doesn’t matter where you fall. If this doesn’t apply you to you, feel free to skip it on over, but something I like to include within this, is thinking about my wrapping paper.
  • Plan your (and your family’s) Thanksgiving outfit

Week 2: 11/20 – 11/26

  • This week, you will begin your shopping. Now, we are tighter on time, which is why you needed to do some brainstorming last week. However, there will be tons of ideas out there this week whether it be through social media, TV ads, when you are out shopping, etc. My goal is to always have at least 75% of my shopping done by this week.
  • Take your holiday photo. You will do this on Thanksgiving because you will look so cute because you planned our outfit in advance
  • Order your holiday photo –> this week typically has great deals on holiday photo prints the weekend after Thanksgiving

Week 3: 11/27 – 12/3

  • Decorate your home for the holidays
  • Buy your wrapping paper supplies and any additional holiday supplies you might need
  • Continue your shopping

Week 4: 12/4 – 12/10

  • Complete the rest of your holiday shopping in order to ensure everything arrives on time
  • Wrap all gifts you have received up until now
  • Address AND mail your holiday cards

Week 5: 12/11 – 12/17

  • Finish any last minute shopping you might have –> this is a great time for stocking stuffers if you hadn’t bought for that yet
  • Wrap the last of your gifts
  • Plan your holiday meal
  • Plan your (and your family’s) holiday outfit
  • This is a great week to do some holiday baking

Week 6: 12/18 – 12/24

  • Complete any last minute stuff you hadn’t had time for prior
  • Do your grocery shopping for the holiday
  • Listen to Christmas music
  • Walk or drive around to look at lights

Now, I know this isn’t perfect and is very front loaded, but it is meant to be that way so that you can enjoy a little bit more. Taking it in manageable chunks is so much easier and less stressful. Plus, feel free to add your own little to-dos and remove ones that don’t apply for you.

I hope this helps to make your holiday season a little bit brighter, a little more cheery, and FULL of JOY




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