|image from http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/thanksgiving-day|
- Plan on where you want to eat for Thanksgiving, and who you want invited. Go ahead and send invitations so your (hopeful) guests can make their Thanksgiving plans.
- Make your menu and start looking for deals in the grocery store. Websites such as Money Saving Mom and Faithful Provisions have great posts that both give recipie ideas as well as where to get those deals.
- Decide: do you want to decorate? If you do, do you already have everything you need, or will you have to run out to the store to buy decorations or craft supplies? Go ahead and set up what you want displayed for Thanksgiving. That way it's already done, and if you realize you're missing something you have time to go the store without a huge headache. Enjoy a few weeks of fall colors and reminders to be thankful, that certainly never hurt anyone. :-)
It is not the day I start looking for presents. I received an email today "I know it's a little early to be thinking about Christmas presents..." it began. Too early? I'm just under 3/4ths of the way finished! My personal goal is to be finished by Thanksgiving. I don't always succeed, but I usually come close. That is a totally unrealistic goal for some people, but it doesn't hurt to go ahead and start Christmas shopping.
Here are some ideas for you to go ahead and start:
- Make a list of who you need/want to buy presents for. When possible, right down specific items you want to buy for them.Write down your budget for each person, and stick to it (if you love giving gifts, like I do, this is the hardest part).
- Compare prices online. Often you can see both online and in store prices. Don't just check the stores and their websites, check to see if Amazon or Ebay (or similar store) has what you are looking for. There is quite a lot you can find at deep discounts on those sites ... and all without the hassle of shopping in an over crowded store and being overwhelmed by the noise, commercialism, and attention-grabbing signs and displays designed to make you spend more. Note: Don't forget to add in shipping to the cost of the gift. Some websites are offering free shipping on all orders during this season, just check and make sure you'll still be getting a better deal/that you're staying in budget before you buy!
- Leave room on your list to fill in what you've bought each person and how much left you have in your budget. Those sites I mentioned above for Thanksgiving help? They're useful in finding good deals on gifts too, especially making good use of those coupons (which they'll often link to :-) ).
- Buy (or make!) some inexpensive, more generic gifts that you can use in case of emergency (you forgot about someone and realize it last minute, like your child's teacher or your work's Secret Santa) or for people you want to remember but but can't drop a ton of money on.
Those are some of my tips to help you have a less stressful Thanksgiving and Christmas. So what do you do to prepare for the holidays? What traditions are you looking forward to? And what do you do to figure out how to buy for those difficult people on your list (in my case, the men in my life)?