Holiday Sanity Savers (2014 Edition)

Do you know what tomorrow is?

Tomorrow…is Saturday. It’s October 25. It’s TWO MONTHS UNTIL CHRISTMAS.


Wow. How is it this late in the game already?!

I LOVE Christmas. LOVE. IT. It’s a wonderful time of fun and fellowship with folks we don’t get to see very often, and, of course, the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Even so, it tends to be kind of a stressful time for me. Let me explain:

  • I’m wrapping up all things end-of-the-year at my full time job (insurance marketing) and planning for the next year, so there’s a lot going on there. Plus the mailings and special promotions and parties.
  • Oh, the parties. I think people should space out their gatherings so there aren’t 25 people wanting to have their Christmas Open House on the same Saturday in December. But, between our friends, family and coworkers, there are a LOT of PARTIES we jet around to. And I’m normally in charge of bringing something.
  • I’m planning and prepping and baking for all the folks I do baked goods for.
  • I’m planning and shopping and prepping and wrapping all the gifts.
  • We’re rehearsing and perfecting and performing all of our Christmas musical events with the choir and worship team from our church. These normally include color-coordinated clothing mandates, so then I’m shopping and coordinating and making dry cleaners runs galore!
  • Oh, and Christmas is one of the busiest times ever for me and my photography business (when I offer specials and rush turnarounds, etc.) Most nights I’m up into the wee hours of the morning editing and prepping packages. Roughly 4 hours of sleep per night in the Christmas season, yep, that’s about what I get.

It’s pretty sad how excited I got just typing all of that stuff up! No matter HOW crazy it gets, I STILL LOVE IT, and every year I try to perfect my strategy, so that our Christmas is not like our first Christmas together.

It’s funnier now than it was then, actually. It was 11:55 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and I was just getting started in the kitchen on the food for Christmas Day. I was exhausted already, so I wasn’t really enjoying the food prep.

My husband was in the living room, doing his best to set up a set of speakers for the TV that his parents had given to him earlier in the day. He was exhausted, too, and the setup wasn’t going well.

At exactly midnight, I thought, “OH! It’s Christmas now! Our first one together as a married couple! I’m gonna go wish him a Merry Christmas!

I walked into the living room.

Me: Hey baby, guess what?
Hubby: (In an exasperated tone) What?
Me: It’s Christmas!
Hubby: Uh huh.
Me: Exactly right now, it just turned Christmas! Our first one together! Merry Christmas!
Hubby: (Throws down the screwdriver) I can’t get this stupid thing to work with the dadgum TV!!!!!

I went back to the kitchen.

My point is, I LOVE the time of year that is fast-approaching, and I want to be able to enjoy it, even with all the craziness that goes on! I still want to have FUN!

So…I want to share with you all the top three things I do each year that help me out BIG TIME. These are things I have already started doing and they make a huge difference in the long run. Are you ready?


Plan it. Yep, plan it. Sounds simple enough, right? What I mean is, get out a calendar and chart everything that you have to do between now and January 1. Some of these things you know for sure already – put them in ink. Some things you’re not for sure yet – put them in pencil. Once more things are added to your schedule, you can see it all right there in front of you, and then you know when you need to start saying NO to things. And it’s okay to say NO to things…because if YOU run yourself into the ground trying to do everything (voice of experience here) you’ll be no good to anyone else. Oh, and you’ll be miserable. So plan it.

Decide it. If you do baked goods for folks, decide NOW what you will bake. Locate all your recipes and get your shopping lists in order. Then, when it’s time to start the work, you’re totally prepared. If you do gifts, decide NOW what type of wrapping paper you need. Start gathering the supplies that you can (tape, ribbon, tissue paper) and making sure you’re stocked so you’re not running out of things at the last minute. OH, and here’s a FANTASTIC secret! Decide NOW what your gifts to others will be. Well, at least decide by Thanksgiving, and have the money saved for those gifts. Why? On Cyber Monday (which is the Monday after Thanksgiving when TONS of stuff on the internet are on sale at amazing discounts, I sit down with our Christmas list at the computer and order every last gift. EVERY SINGLE ONE. I transfer the money from savings into the checking account, and then sit back for the next few weeks and watch the presents arrive AT MY FRONT DOOR. I have plenty of time to get everything taken care of, I save HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS, and I don’t have to mess with all the crazy Christmas shoppers. All because I decided it ahead of time.

Follow through. Seriously. Don’t look at your calendar and say, “Why on earth did I want to decide what our Christmas cards would be TODAY? I’ve got plenty of time!” Don’t do it. Don’t ask questions, don’t put it off, just follow through. You’ll remember why when suddenly, before anyone else has their Christmas cards completed, you’re good to go. You’ll be so glad you followed through.

Want a glimpse at what I have on my calendar so far? Here ya go!

October 25: 2 Months until Christmas, our Christmas Card photo shoot
November 3: Begin Christmas Card List
November 10: Decide on Christmas gifts
November 17: Decide on Christmas baking and 2 weeks until Cyber Monday, design and order Christmas cards
November 25: 1 Month until Christmas, One Week until Cyber Monday
November 28: Decorate for Christmas
November 29: Decorate for Christmas
November 30: Decorate for Christmas
December 1: Cyber Monday, Start on Christmas Card Labels
December 11: Mail Christmas Cards, deadline for photo shoots
December 12: Program dress rehearsal
December 13: Family Party, program performance #1
December 14: Program performance #2
December 18: Mail out-of-town Gifts

Throw into all of the above that, during the dates listed, I also have to do more than a dozen photo shoots, we celebrate 7 birthdays, we celebrate 2 anniversaries, our choir will be doing several community performances that I don’t have dates for yet, and I also know of at least 6 holiday parties that I don’t have dates for yet.


Oh, but I’ve got one more nugget for you! Check out 100 Days to Christmas. GO THERE. Sign up with your email address, and every day you will receive a reminder or a point of inspiration or a helpful hint, all the way up until Christmas Day! Great, huh? I have a feeling it’s gonna be the best Christmas ever!

How do YOU plan your Christmas so everything runs smoothly? I wanna know!

Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!

48 thoughts on “Holiday Sanity Savers (2014 Edition)

  1. Your story made me laugh. I get exasperated when I am excited about something and my husband is preoccupied and doesn’t join in my joy also. Kind of deflates me, even though its not his fault I chose that exact moment to be thrilled lol! I love your tips!

  2. Fantastic tips! I love “100 Days of Christmas”. I also love “Organized Christmas” for printable planner pages and schedules to help get everything ready for Christmas – including the house, gifts, menus and so forth. It is hard to believe it already 2 months until Christmas. I hope your holiday season is blessed.

  3. I have gotten a good bit of our kids’ Christmas presents through reviewing on my blog, already. I will buy a DS for kids with gift cards i get from blogging too, then the rest for whatever.

  4. I haven’t started Christmas shopping yet. Every year I say I’m going to begin early. :). I do have several holiday posts ready to go next week. Does that count?

  5. Great tips! This is such a rushed time of year, I always make sure I write everything down in my calendars. I havent even started shopping yet but I have my lists already done so when I do its easy.

  6. Girl you got it going on. I wish I was this organize. I can say however Christmas shopping this year will be easy all the nieces and nephew as well as son are teens or tweens and have asked for cash. Yay me.

  7. I usually start shopping at the first of the year and then hide things all year long. This year finances were a bit strapped due to hubs graduating and job hunting. I started shopping the other day and have made a list of what I want to get and who for. I keep track of what I did get. So far, so good.

  8. We had our family photos taken weeks ago, because October/early November are super busy for me at work. We’ve already gotten them back and I’m about to order Christmas cards. I’m hoping to stay on top of things (and enjoy the season) this year!

  9. Goodness! That is a lot of planning and stuff you do, Kristen. I guess when you have a lot of family around, you in business, and you are in charge of a lot of stuff, you have to start early. I like your story about your first Christmas with your hubby! LOL

  10. Once I get all my bookkeeping clients lined up for quarterly and year end stuff I will be able to start thinking about holidays. I know I have to go to a friend’s for Thanksgiving–that is about as far as I am prepared to plan at the moment!

  11. Tell you what, lets be Facebook friends and we can chat during those wee hours and keep each other awake. We are moving in the next 10 – 20 days and I will be busy trying to get settled into a new home in time to make what I am hoping is my first white Christmas perfect!

  12. Wow… I’m exhausted and excited all at once! Hopefully my Christmas will not be a jam=packed as yours, but I am totally in LOVE with Christmas as well. I like to have things planned out, and will definitely be checking out 100 Days to Christmas… sounds so cool. Thanks for sharing all of these amazing tips! 🙂

    Life With Lorelai

  13. My husband and I have been big Black Friday shoppers for most of our 17 years together. The retailers ruined that last year with the so called Black Thursday. We think Thanksgiving family time is sacred so we didn’t get up early and head out to go shopping. We love Christmas shopping together! We don’t like to shop early because it seems like that takes the fun out of the shopping experience for us. I know, right! I’m a bargain shopper, should be putting gifts up all year long then go shopping for ourselves at Christmas. 🙂
    We have a big family dinner planned but not really ‘planned’ yet. Our family likes to make the Christmas plans after Thanksgiving dinner.
    You are way ahead of the game! Good for you!

  14. I plan some of it and let some of it unfold. It is truly my favorite time of the year and I decided to skip presents (unless they are homemade) and to focus on service. I admire what you do because it sounds like a lot and I can tell these tips come from hard earned experience and wisdom!

  15. Wow! You are totally organized. Its just me and my son and he doesn’t do toys so I do very little. I might get him some new clothes or something and then we just hang out.

  16. I’ve already bought about 50% of the presents, and need to sit down in the next few weeks and start writing our Christmas cards.
    I also need to start purchasing food/drink stuffs when I see it during my normal weekly shops!
    I try to be organised – fingers crossed I don’t forget anything last minute x

  17. I’m always the one doing the last minute scramble on absolutely everything a week before Christmas. Thanks for making me want to be prepared this year so i can actually enjoy the season.

  18. I LOVE Christmas and all of the chaos that comes with it. With that said, I will be wrapping ALL presents earlier this year. I often get stuck at wrapping soooo many on christmas eve.

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  20. I am such a planner! I do plan Christmas out way in advance. I’m usually done shopping before November 1. This year, however, my husband wants to do Christmas shopping like most people…run around the mall like a lunatic in December. I’m not looking forward to that at all. I prefer to shop on line so far in advance that I forget what I bought if I don’t keep a list. 🙂 Great advice here!

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