How to plan a vacation now
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Even for one global pandemic, a difficult year, or time flies, sometimes the holidays come upon us and bring a lot of stress! Years ago, I started simplifying and planning vacations ahead of time so I was less stressed, and I’m so glad I did!
Simplifying the holidays has also made recent years feel less stressful (since there’s no expectation of tons of gifts) and eases to-do lists for moms (who are often responsible for About everything). One way I simplify the holidays is to plan and prepare well in advance. Here’s how I plan my vacation right now (and save my sanity!).
Create a budget
The first thing you need to do to start planning your holidays is to create a budget. If you’re like me, the holidays end up being more expensive than expected! That’s why creating a budget is a great idea. So instead of just buying the things you see them, you have a better idea of what you need and what fits your budget, so there won’t be as many surprises (or guilt to come). in January!).
I create my budget first by deciding how much we can reasonably afford for all the holiday related things. Then I create a sub-budget for each category:
- Gifts – for children, extended family and hostess gifts.
- Decorations – If there’s a decoration that needs replacing or something new that I want, I’ll put it on this list.
- Meal – I try to keep in mind that we have to eat even if it’s a holiday, but creating a budget helps me figure out if we’ll be serving filet mignon or turkey for Christmas dinner.
- Activities – Consider any activities that need a budget. This could include an ugly sweater party, building a gingerbread house, or making crafts for the holidays.
Once you’ve established a budget, you can move on to planning other things during the holiday.
Assess your decorating needs
If home decoration As an important part of your holiday celebration, you should evaluate what you have and what you might need. If the budget is tight this year, this is an easy place to cut costs. Simply plan to use what you already have in your basement.
But if you want to buy new decorations, now is a great time to find out what needs replacing or what decorations you want to update this year. I like to keep an inventory of our decorations so I can easily see what we have and flag if something is broken or needs to be updated.
Plan your Christmas Cards
If you’re a fan of Christmas cards, preparing and sending Christmas cards can be a highlight of the season for you. If this is you, plan now so you don’t become overwhelmed. Here are my suggestions:
- Make an up-to-date list of recipients and mailing addresses.
- Decide what kind of Christmas cards you’ll send – do you need a family photo?
- Mark on the calendar the date you want to send the card. Sending them the first week of December is a good option for on-time delivery but not too early.
- Get a family photo or update complete and ready to mail before Thanksgiving so you won’t have to worry about them during the Thanksgiving holiday or the following week.
If holiday cards become a burden for you, you should let them go this year as well. You can redirect that energy and money toward other holiday activities like gift giving or family traditions.
Make a gift list
If you’re like me, when you buy gifts, you’ll stick them in the back of the closet and forget about half of them before you wrap them up. If you’re on a tighter budget this year (or just want to simplify the holidays), making a gift list is a great way to stay organized and not over-buy. I start by making a list of items that I want to buy for my family members.
Because the pressure to buy a lot of gifts often overwhelmed and exhausted her, we started a new tradition. We follow the gift giving philosophy of “want, need, wear, read”. We get the kids a physical gift (want) and then we also gift the experience (need), new pajamas or something else they need for their (wear) wardrobe, and Finally a book to read.
This simplified gift-giving has made a huge difference in holiday stress levels and how our kids appreciate the things they have and experience.
So I started by making a list of gift ideas for each child as well as what I would like to receive for other family members. Creating a list and then buying what’s on it is an easy way to avoid overspending or falling into the trap of wondering if you’ve bought enough.
Collect DIY gift ideas and tutorials
I love making homemade gifts to give to family members because homemade gifts always feel more special. But it can also become a fun holiday activity for the whole family. Homemade gifts are a great way to cut costs if needed without sacrificing the amazing factor.
If you’re planning on making homemade gifts this year, now is the perfect time to get organized. Some giveaways take a while to get ready, so they may need to be started early. Here’s what I recommend:
- Choose the gifts you will make.
- Find out how long they take to get ready (not only operating time but also curing/drying/enriching time).
- Mark on the calendar when you need to start the project so it’s ready to pack and ship (if needed). Shooting for the first week of December is a good rule of thumb for gifts you need to mail. You can wait a week or so if you don’t need to mail your gift.
- Create a shopping list for items (remember to check with your budget).
- Mark a day on your calendar when you will buy the supplies needed for the gift and then continue it!
We always have a good time putting together some of our favorite DIY recipes (like Luxurious sugar scrub formula or Homemade lotion bar) that family and friends love to receive.
Once you’ve got your gifts and decorations in place, it’s time to plan fun holiday activities. I’ve scheduled holiday activities so we can be sure we’re going to do some of our favorite vacation activities together. It’s fun to sit down with the family and brainstorm ideas together. Here are a few that are often on the list:
- Making cakes for the holidays
- Attended a friend’s annual holiday party
- Choose a Christmas tree
- Home and tree decoration
I try to do this brainstorm and schedule it about a week or two before Thanksgiving in case there are any Thanksgiving activities that I want to schedule. I will also try to schedule New Year’s events as planned. In the years with few community events, we stick to family activities in our homes or backyards.
Plan holiday meals
The last thing I plan for the holidays are meals. If I’m organizing, I’ll obviously plan an entire meal. If we are visiting family, I plan a dish or two to bring. Here’s what I do:
- Choose recipes
- Make a shopping list based on recipes
By making the list early, I can get more butter one week and maple syrup the next. This helps spread out purchases over a few weeks or months instead of a shopping trip (it also reduces my list when I need to buy new things right before the holiday).
Plan early for simple vacations!
So many moms (especially) end up looking forward to the holidays coming to an end because of all the stress of it. Taking the time to plan early is a great way for me to really enjoy the season with my family and not get overwhelmed and stressed.
What’s your favorite way to plan early so you can enjoy the holidays?