stephmodo: Planning Ahead: Easy Holiday Prep

Planning Ahead: Easy Holiday Prep

• 11 August 2010

You may be wondering why I'd post such a thing in the hot month of August...allow me to explain. This year, I'm determined to have an enjoyable, stress-free holiday without sacrificing things I love. My kids are already starting to sing Christmas songs and talk about making gingerbread men and I can't help but feel committed to creating a beautiful experience for our family in December. I've vowed to make this year different than years past by making simple, budget-conscious preparations in advance.

For example, I've procured nice holiday cards from the sources listed below; buying letterpress off-season = affordable. Last year we didn't send out cards for the first time in 10 years and although it was the right thing to do, I was still bummed about it. I've also started planning what I'd like to make for my neighbors (I'm leaning towards nicely packaged homemade granola or musical compilations). I've also started making notes regarding gifts for my children and think we'll probably do just one nice gift to keep things simple and less commercial. Plus the one big gift has a lot of "wow" factor with the little ones anyway (I can still remember the Christmas I received the big Barbie house). In my experience, planning and procuring gifts ahead of time makes for more thoughtful gifts and simplifies the holiday season exponentially.

So tell me, what types of things do you like to do in advance to prepare for the holiday season?

Great deals on Holiday Cards can be found at the following sources:

1. Vandalia Street Press - this lovely sponsor moved their Christmas in July sale to August so take advantage! You'll find gorgeous, letterpressed cards from this Minnesota-based shop for just a little over $1 per card. Plus, these are large enough for that 3x5 family photo you'll want to include :)

2. Night Owl Press - the perfect little holiday cards for tucking into a special gift to a friend. And for less than $1. Also letterpressed.

3. Write Image - this local stationer is hosting 75% off all their holiday cards, including Vera Wang, Crane and Kate Spade! At this price, even the most high-end stationery brands are affordable. Needless to say, I picked up a few packages. Plus, the gals who work there are very nice and talented in their own right.


  1. Steph, you are brilliant. This is such a good idea. I too did not get Christmas cards out last year and felt mildy rotten about it (even though it was also the right thing to do). Another tip: buy small cards. Less writing fills up the page! Hope you're feeling well these days and getting lots of R&R!

  2. Thank you for this! I try to make my own cards every year and why am I waiting until November or December to do this? I should do it now.

    I have always most enjoyed the holidays when I have worked ahead. Starting now I could actually make all the little gifts I think of and it would be vastly less stressful. You've inspired me yet again.

  3. ...Thank you for reminding us!.....& I love the cards!

  4. We do one store bought present (the thing they really want or talk about), a homemade gift and a book. Knowing this all year long, I'm on the look out for homemade gift ideas and usually have them thought out and working on months in advance. The books I'm usually on the look out for at thrift stores and book sales, so that I can find a neat vintage one if I can. The store bought one usually happens in Nov/Dec, but by then the list has been refined and we know what to look for. By sticking to traditions like this, I think my holidays are less stressful. Really I think that is the key, pick simple traditions that allow you to focus more on family and loved ones than spending money and time away from them.

  5. i start thinking about next year's christmas as soon as one is over-- about what i liked and what i want to be different next time. it's hard to find the right balance of simple and romantic traditional, and as we're trying to establish our own good traditions we are figuring out what works and what should stick from year to year as we go along.
    thanks for the reminder, to get planning for this year's festivities! though i do think i'll wait a month to do anything about it. . .

  6. our christmas last year suffered - new home, late pregnancy, and thanksgiving travel just shot it all down the drain. This year I'm back on track: presents planned by halloween, purchased by thanksgiving, wrapped in dec while watching elf.
    I also address my cards during the thanksgiving parade so they can go out the first week of dec.

    it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

  7. we do our christmas cards early, plan our shopping lists early (1 or 2 gifts per child, a specific budget for other family members to simplify) and complete the shopping before Thanksgiving. Everything after that is just fun: baking, movies, sleigh rides, visiting friends. We also keep travel to a minimum between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Keeps things simple.

  8. Excellent. I just placed an order and am SO HAPPY with my choices. Even picked up a couple stocking stuffers... Can't beat these prices! Thanks so much for posting.

  9. We try (!) to stick to this buying plan for each child: something to wear, something to read and something to play with. I love it!

  10. Love it. Last year was the first year I didn't send out Christmas cards, and I too felt bummed about it. I will definitely be on top of it this year!

    We start our holiday talk early, especially since my family members are flying in to our home. Plane tickets are bought way in advance, and that starts the planning and thinking.

    I have a wish list going, and the boys get one big gift (from Santa) and a stocking full of fun tiny things. Happy holidays!

  11. tinyprints is having a 65% off sale today on address labels and gift tags! i'm thinking of ordering holiday labels and i'll be set!

  12. This is a great idea! Any ideas for the ever changing addresses?

    That is what keeps me up late at night in December:)


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