Christmas in July!
It’s been around for a long time and some people just roll their eyes at it. What if instead of doing all the traditional celebrating you simply started preparing for the fall & winter holidays … in July?
Keep reading to find ways that you can prep through the summer for a stress-free holiday season!
Many of us know the feeling of stress over the holiday season. We may even try to do more preparation throughout the year to offset those overwhelming feelings. But then we either forget, don’t think about it, or push it off, thinking we have plenty of time to get things done.
Planning ahead certainly has its benefits. You probably aren’t thinking about the holidays in the middle of summer. But, it might be smart to build a new habit around the holiday season. Taking a moment to think about the holidays as early as July can help you reduce that holiday stress. It could also make your next holiday season the best yet.
Why not consider making a small shift in how you look at preparing for these wonderful days of joy. Here are a few ways you can get started today, whether it’s July or not.
#1- Mark your calendar
Take a look and mark your calendar for this year’s holiday seasons. It can help you determine what dates need to be set aside for your ideal stress-free holiday season.
Do you need to block off travel time to go visit family?
Take time off work to be able to celebrate with others?
Maybe you want to take a vacation over the holidays this year!
Mark the time off now and begin booking any accommodations or activities well in advance. This can help you save time and money. Tickets for airlines tend to be cheaper the earlier you buy. Not to mention that there is generally more availability for hotels and excursions when you book early.
Speaking of vacations …
Vacations can be an excellent way to celebrate the holidays!
Most people feel pulled to their homes or the homes of loved ones during the holidays. The traditions of setting up a tree or menorah, baking, or other family fun brings back comfort and joy each season. People that have strong traditions like these tend to want their children to build lasting memories about their holiday time at home too.
The thing is, if you ask adults about their favorite holiday memories, they oftentimes speak about the rare time they traveled during the holidays.
Taking a vacation during this time can be fun!
Occasionally breaking tradition and doing something extraordinary can create a new spark during the holiday. There’s something new and exciting about spending your holidays in a new way. Here are a couple ways to use travel as an alternative to a stay-at-home holiday celebration.
Vacation Rentals by Owner are affordable, fully contained homes that offer the benefits of home in a fun location. Consider transferring your holiday magic to a VRBO. You can still have set up your decorations and cook your traditional meal all the while experiencing a new and exciting location.
The Happiest Place on Earth
Did you know that Disney theme parks are open 365 days per year? That means you can celebrate the holidays at a Disney theme park rather than your living room. Instead of buying gifts for everyone, put that money toward a family vacation and spend your special day with Mickey and friends.
Why not experience the holiday through another culture’s eyes. Many cultures celebrate the same holidays we do. It can be an eye-opening and cultural experience to celebrate somewhere new. Take a deep dive into another culture and experience the holidays in ways you may have never dreamed of. The experience will certainly last a lifetime.
There’s no requirement that you stay home during this season of giving. Whether you have an entire family under your roof, or it’s your first year as an empty-nester, there are plenty of opportunities to travel. Consider experiencing the holidays on a vacation. Try something fun and new and see how much everyone enjoys their alternative celebration.
#2 – Shop all year long
Who doesn’t like to shop all year long? If you know there are certain items your family will want this holiday season, take advantage of summer sales. This can only help you when it comes to a stress-free holiday season.
Getting some of your shopping out of the way will create more time for loved ones (or personal time) as the holidays roll around. Plus, by spreading those gifts out through the year it won’t hurt your wallet right around the holidays.
Of course, this means you need to keep a list of the things you’ve purchased already. You don’t want to end up spending more money than usual.
My mom does this all the time!
She’ll buy things for people all year. Then during the holiday season she ends up buying a bunch more stuff because she forgot that she already bought something for them.
I’m sure she’s not alone in this kind of situation. But of course, it doesn’t help when the purpose was to spread out that spending over the year. Instead, she ends up spending more money on gifts. 🙄
Speaking of spending money …
One of the fastest ways people get overwhelmed during the holidays is by overspending. Being financially unprepared for the holiday season leads to bad habits and poor choices. These could have serious repercussions at the beginning of the new year.
Why not spread some of that spending out through the year?
Start making your gift lists now, so you can at least be on the lookout for ways to fill the list.
That way, when it comes time for the holiday season, you don’t have to worry so much about those small expenses. All of your big purchases are taken care of because you used your spreadsheet and planned ahead!
#3 – Prep for Traditions or Make Changes
Now is a good time to start either preparing for your family traditions or figuring out if you are going to make changes.
It’s always better to make changes early, especially if they involve other people. The sooner you make these decisions with your family, the sooner people can be working on the things we mentioned above.
If you are thinking of doing anything radically different, the summer is a good time to decide. It also gives you plenty of time to let anyone know who may be affected.
People can make their travel plans early. They can begin making any crafts they want to give as gifts. Maybe they need to save money for the trip you will all take together. Or start thinking about making other plans because you’ve decided to change things up a little.
Giving plenty of notice can help you ease those ruffled feathers that are sure to come up. Especially, if you have strong traditions in your family. Plus, doing it early will help you get closer to having a stress-free holiday season.
Speaking of traditions …
Traditions can bring comfort and a sense of familiarity and belonging. At other times they can be stifling and keep you from growing or expanding.
Holding onto traditions can exclude other possibilities that might be a better fit for you and your family. While traditions can be a wonderful way to hold onto the past, there may be room for change in your future.
Here are a few indicators you might be ready to break some traditions:
- Your family dynamics change. Someone gets married, kids grow up, schedules change.
- You’re bored or your interests change. What once felt comforting may begin to feel controlling. You might feel like you’ve outgrown a tradition.
- Creating new traditions can bring joy. Growing and expanding with your family can help you hold on to traditions you love while finding new ones that are meaningful.
I know what you’re saying right now,
“But, it’s the summer and I don’t want to have to think about the stress of the holidays.”
Taking some time mid-summer to plan for your holiday season can ease the stress down the line.
Make big decisions now.
Lock down important dates and reservations.
Grab those big-ticket items.
These strategies can take a huge load off your plate come the holiday season.
Alright! Let’s go!
You can do it!
Do you have more ways of preparing during the summer for those wonderful holiday seasons? Share ways that you work on creating a stress-free holiday season for your family in the comments below.