If you're anything like me, you spend the time between Halloween and Christmas dreaming and scouring Pinterest for the perfect Christmas decorations and themes. Then by mid-December, you realise you never actually bought that light up reindeer from Amazon like you planned and you never got around to buying that tree. It's so easy to get lost in the planning phase that before you know it, the time is here and you've got nothing to show for it. No judgement here. I suck at time management. I'm a teacher/guidance counsellor and I suck at time management. I'm what you call a proactive procrastinator. I procrastinate just enough to satisfy my short attention span but somehow magically (#blackgirlmagic) pull things off. It's even harder for me to enjoy the holidays because my budget doesn't want to fix up a home I won't even be in for Christmas since I have to fly to my boyfriend for the holidays.
If time management is one of your problems or staying focused isn't quite your thing, here are a few tips for getting a head start on the holidays?
Considering I just put out a recipe book for the holidays, one of the last things I want to do is bake again. You may not be a fan of the freeze and defrost method, but it can help you cut back on time spent in the kitchen. Make ahead recipes can last for weeks and even up to a month in your fridge or freezer. I'm not much of a cookie maker, but cookies are the best recipes to stock up on during the holiday season because you can munch on them as you go. They store well in a cookie jar and even longer when kept cold.
Also, start shopping now for those holiday ingredients that will last you throughout the holiday season. Flour, sugar, cinnamon, hot cocoa packets, Baileys (my favourite). You'll feel like a champ when everyone is running around the food store at the last minute while you put your feet up and sip on your hot cocoa with Baileys (again, not judging).
WHIP OUT THE HOLIDAY CARDS
I've already designed my holiday cards this year to give to friends and family, and I'm preparing to print them out once December rolls around. Christmas cards is an old tradition that really should be brought back, because it's so much more touching to receive a hand crafted holiday card with a personal message from a loved one that you can have to look back on for years to come. Start working on yours during your next Netflix and chill session. For the one I've included above, I plan on putting a recipe on the top inside half, and a personal message on the bottom inside half.
GET YOUR PRESENTS EARLY
Pre-thanksgiving/Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales are the best times to get holiday presents. I hit up a sale this past weekend at Young's Fine Wine and gifted all of my friends with a bottle of 3 Star Plantation Rum and even threw in a bottle of Pinot Noir for my dad. (It's so good to have friends who accept alcohol as presents). The mall is no place to be the week of Christmas. Unless you're prepared to commit a felony, I suggest doing your shopping early, and hiding the gifts until it's time to swap. Don't be afraid to get creative with your gift wrapping either. Try recycled gift wrap notions if you're trying to go green.
OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW
You're expecting a boatload of gifts right? But where are they going if you're still staring at last year's vacuum cleaner from your mother-in-law, that's clearly a not-so-subtle hint. It's easy to accumulate stuff, or be afraid to buy new stuff like decorations because you can't even see your way through the old stuff. Clear off closet shelves and leave space in drawers and corners for overnight guests. Donate whatever you don't use or wear. Give your fridge a good cleaning.
Once you've gotten rid of that junk, you'll feel inspired to go for that decor theme you have pinned.
And that's it! It sounds so simple and straightforward, but it can be easy to forget once the chaos of the holidays arrives. I'm really hoping to be a less-stressed, you've-got-this-girl this holidays season, because it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.