Once the weather starts to cool, most people's minds start turning towards the rapidly approaching holiday season. With a bit of forethought, though, there's no reason it needs to be quite as nerve-wracking or frustrating as often the days leading up to the holidays are. So, in case you're not entirely convinced of the benefits that early preparedness brings, let's take a look at the 10 reasons to start Christmas planning early.
Eliminate Some of the Stress
Naturally, the biggest reason why many people start to tackle Christmas early in the year is to eliminate stress. It's easy to get overwhelmed by the crowds, noise, and increasing pressure from eager family and friends.
Everyone seems to want something from you suddenly, and there's not always the time. By planning early on, you can begin to peel back tasks on your own time. Imagine having only a fraction of the responsibilities left to plan; you’ll have more time to actually enjoy the holiday season!
Offset the Cost Over the Whole Year
It probably doesn't even need to be said—Christmas is about as expensive as it is cheery. The average American spends a little under $1,000 every year on gifts and other holiday-related expenses.
We're all familiar with the result, though; the coldest and darkest months of the year that follow are also the tightest. There are bills to catch up on and no time for celebration as soon as the faerie lights go dark. However, no one actually said it needed to be this way. Imagine spending $5 or $10 each month to pick up gifts and trinkets rather than getting them all in bulk and being slammed by that all too familiar colossal bill!
Start Saving Well Ahead
It's also possible to set money aside. A Christmas fund is hardly a new idea, but it's not one that many people take seriously. Instead of trying to find a gift to spend on, set money aside. Create a manageable budget and stick to it, such as just $20 a week, or $40 per paycheck. If you start in January, you'll easily set aside $1,000 by December.
Take Advantage of Year-Round Savings
At some point, Black Friday was simply a retail term—an opportunity for businesses to reset their inventory, clear the old, and push sales. It didn't take long for consumers around the nation to realize this sellout point was the best time to jump on early Christmas shopping. However, it's not the only time of the year when businesses offer stellar deals.
By planning well ahead, it's easy to grab amazing discounts on popular items and avoid the immense crowds, competition, and traffic we see every year on Black Friday. Businesses do their best to draw in steady foot traffic throughout the entire year. Shopping throughout the year will offset costs across many paychecks, result in more significant savings, and benefit a wider selection of items not always offered during the Christmas season.
Get the Basics Sorted Before It Gets Hectic
The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to accomplish things. The holidays never fail to have at least a few surprise wrenches to throw in our to-do list. The more details sorted out ahead of time, the more prepared you will be. Since it's impossible to plan for major changes such as the availability of family members or impromptu seasonal fun, avoid making too many commitments too early on.
Instead, plan for flexible yet definite details. For example, sort out Christmas decorations, meal plans, and wish lists as far ahead as possible. That way, all that needs doing is simply putting together the elements you've already done the leg work of gathering. In other words, more time for perfecting and less scrambling and fighting traffic to get everything in order.
Set a Budget and Stick To It
Combining a Christmas fund and the proper planning makes it much easier to reign in the holiday budget. As one of the biggest celebrations of the year, it's easy to get carried away and splurge. Sticking to a budget on Christmas is tough, but it's possible.
Figure out what each loved one is looking for this year, and what sort of food and treats will be involved. Next, try to get an estimate of what everything will cost, and then build in some buffer room for anything extra that happens to fall into your shopping cart. Once you have an estimate on what the celebration will cost, it's much easier to stick to it and start saving in advance.
Beat the Christmas Rush
Of all the 10 reasons to start Christmas planning early, few are quite as compelling as avoiding the crowds. Instead, duck the throngs of eager shoppers by getting the brunt of the shopping done ahead of time. That way, any outings into the fray will be for one or two last-minute choices. What's more, many holiday items are ready to be ordered online any time of the year, like our fantastic selection of Christmas gift baskets. Our Toronto-based business specializes in beautiful hand-wrapped pieces that take the stress out of hunting for special-edition items. Shop the perfect gift ideas without the crowds or limited-time gimmicks.
More Time To Drill for Gift Ideas
If there's anything that always needs more time than the season's offer, it's figuring out what people want as gifts. New toys, games, and products are released throughout the year. So make a note any time a loved one shows interest in an item, even if it's months away from Christmas. Then, you'll have more time to ask if they're interested in similar things, and will have an easier time filling out a solid wish list.
Grab Discounts On Travel Plans
Whether you're planning to get away from the cold weather or are just trying to get the family together, travel plans are always a complicated step in holiday planning. Anyone that's booked a flight near a national holiday knows how high ticket prices can get. So, by booking well ahead of schedule, it's easier to guarantee a seat. What's more, travel companies generally provide much better prices if you book a flight or reservation far enough in advance.
Stock the Larder Up Before the Baking Season
There are always last-minute things to do that no one seems to remember until the last minute. For the most part, though, Christmas has very few surprises when it comes to food items. While there may be a few special treats that won't come out until the holidays, most items you need are stocked. What's more, buying many things and storing them is often a great way to guarantee availability and snag discounts.