5 Ways to Be Better Prepared Next Christmas

Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and fun, but too frequently the best parts are eclipsed by the bad.

One of the worst parts of Christmas is preparation – or rather, the lack thereof. Between a cash crunch and a mall crush, Christmas can quickly become stressful if you’re not ready. The good news here is that with some care and planning, anyone can remove shopping and planning stress from their holiday season. The following suggestions can help you pull it off properly, leaving time and energy for fun, family and relaxing.

Shop Online

Sit, surf, click – the three major steps involved in online shopping make it the most convenient way to Christmas shop.

It’s best for things you don’t need to see in order to evaluate, like books, DVDs, household goods, etc., but still pretty good for things you do, like clothes. After all, if it doesn’t fit you (or even better, the person you gave it to) can always send it back.

Start Putting Money Aside in January

Although this part is easier said than done, if you can pull it off you’ll never have to worry about a stressful lack of funds come Christmastime.

One idea is to join a Christmas savings club. Many of them start early in the year, around January or February.

Heck, even if you start putting money aside in June you’re doing a good job of it!

Check Out the Post-Christmas Sales

In the same vein as putting money aside in January, you can get a head-start on a stress-free Christmas by taking advantage of post-Christmas sales and bargains. Granted, your bank account may be wiped out after the current Christmas gift frenzy, but if you see bargains and opportunities that are too good to pass up then they probably shouldn’t be.

Additionally, many people have multiple Christmas celebrations because of today’s blended families, or because the whole family can’t be together until a week or so later. If you’re going to have a second Christmas after the first, why not wait to buy gifts for that occasion at an after-Christmas sale?

Create a Buddy System

If youve got a friend or relative who laments chaotic Christmas planning, whether it’s shopping for presents or putting up Christmas decorations, join forces

“Misery loves company,” as the saying goes, and the two of you can support each other as you tackle your holiday season plans.

Don’t Take on Too Much

The urge to add on all kinds of holiday season extras can really swamp a person. Trips to different relatives or hosting a Christmas party may seem like good ideas at the time, but become sources of stress when tackled in conjunction with everything else.

You can also go with your plans, but scale them back: invite relatives to come see you, for example, or have a potluck Christmas party.

No matter what, try to relax about the season. It’s a time to be happy with your loved ones, not relish in material goods. Remember that and maybe next year will be a¬†smidgen¬†easier.