What You Can Do Now to Prevent Holiday Hassles, Written by Guest Contributor Jodi Durham
If you fail to learn anything else as a mom, learn this: it’s never too early to start getting ready for the holidays. Now is really the perfect time to come up with a game plan because Thanksgiving and the other key holidays are sneaking up on you. Who knows, if you do this thing right, you might actually have some time to sit and enjoy this year.
Getting Your Kitchen Stocked
Commit one cabinet in your kitchen to nothing but holiday storage. Now, put a few things in it each week for your assorted cooking projects. Think beyond just big family dinners. What about Christmas cookies for school and the epic gingerbread house you and the kids build each year? Every time you go to the store, pick up one or two items for your holiday cabinet. When the cooking chaos hits, you will have most of your supplies bought.
Get Coupon and Discount Apps Loaded Up
It is a good time to save money on the supplies you have to buy anyway. Target started a program called Cartwheel that will come in handy. Cartwheel evaluates things you normally buy and offers discounts on them via mobile coupons. Just load the app to your phone and scan the bar code to add the savings. This program also alerts you to upcoming sales on items you might need like that doll your daughter must have or new dress socks for your son.
Since you are buying early, might as well load a coupon program to maximize your savings. Grocery Smart Coupon Shopper, for example, tracks the mailers of major retailers and puts them is an easy to read grid. It also cross-references manufacturer coupons with the circulars to figure out where you can double your savings.
Now, put the money you saved away for holiday presents. The sales receipts will show at the bottom how much ching ching you got on discounts and coupons. While you’re at it, put a jar out to collect your spare change. The total will add up fast and give you some extra spending money for the holidays.
Make a List and Check it Twice
Sit down and make a list of everyone who needs a gift from your postal worker to your husband’s second cousin twice removed. Now, go over it again and figure out who can get baked goods and who actually needs a store bought gift. Consider whether you can buy online to save time too. Since you are shopping early, you might consider ordering custom holiday gift cards or sending wrapped gifts right from the store website.
Get the Cards Ready
With a little forethought, you can avoid that last minute crunch and maybe send something a little more impressive too with custom holiday cards. First, line the family up, don’t forget the dog and snap a few digital pictures. Sites like Minted have easy to manage apps that allow you to upload the image and try it out on several different cards. Once you find the one you want, figure out how many you need, but order a few extra. You’ll want at least one for your scrapbook.
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
There is no reason it all has to fall in Mom’s lap either. Each family member should have a chore day each week. This is how you get the family involved in some of those little chores that need to be done before holiday guests arrive.
About Jodi Durham
Jodi is a mom and kindergarten teacher originally from Alabama. She likes to think her Southern charm gives her writing a little edge.