Every year Christmas comes and goes, and every year we tell ourselves we’re going to start preparing for Christmas earlier next year.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve recently grown very weary of neglecting my inner voice. The one that is crying out for simplicity and asking me to make room for what matters most to me. So this year, I’m ending that cycle and tending to my soul, and that includes planning ahead for Christmas.
If you’re ready to simplify Christmas too, then keep reading for several ways to prepare for Christmas this Summer.
It never fails.
Every Summer as I’m sitting in my beach chair, gazing in awe over the ocean, thoughts of Christmas ebb and flow through my mind with the tide.
We are going to a Christmas tree farm this year.
I want to start sending out Christmas cards again.
Do I want to host Christmas this year?
These thoughts may seem out of place from underneath my beach umbrella, but it’s never too early to prepare for Christmas.
11 Things to Do to Prepare for Christmas Now
This post is sponsored by Basic Invite. I’m sure you’ll be as impressed by their selection and design process as I am.
After thinking through the typical holiday checklist, I selected the to-do items that tend to clutter our holidays with unnecessary burdens and that we can easily start on now.
Simplify your holiday schedule – Take a look at your holiday calendar from years past. What plans and activities align with your priorities and vision for the holidays? Keep those. What plans fall by the wayside? How can you make room for them? In my personal experience, I just need to schedule them. Otherwise, they don’t happen. Maybe you need to skip a party or two to make room.
Decide who’s going to host the family Christmas – Whether you’re hosting a family Christmas or a holiday party for friends, you can go ahead and decide on a Christmas invitation, if you plan to send them.
Schedule house repairs or maintenance – I hosted Christmas last year and as the day drew closer, I suddenly needed to touch up paint, build a firepit in the backyard, buy an extra dining table, have the carpets cleaned, and paint over the terra cotta walls and build built-in bookcases in the study (that does double duty as a dining area when I host).
Inevitably, the countdown creates clarity on what’s necessary and what isn’t, and I start cutting out projects until I’m left with what really matters.
So, if you tend toward a whole home makeover when hosting, go ahead and start planning those projects out over the next several months. Doing this will not only reduce stress, but will keep expenses down during the holidays.
Update and gather addresses for Christmas cards and any gifts you need to mail. Starting now will give everyone plenty of time to respond, especially if they’re away on vacation or busy with Back to School season.
Order Christmas cards – There’s a lot that goes into sending Christmas cards so it makes sense to plan early. I recently discovered Basic Invite whose design selection and process makes choosing a Christmas card easy. To get started:
- pick a photo to use for holiday photo cards or the family Christmas card. A lot of people pick a Summer vacation photo. If you’re not using a photo, just select ‘no photo’ and choose your card design
- choose or change the color of each element of your chosen design to be exactly how you want it. This service is what sets Basic Invite apart from almost any other online stationery company.
- preview the card online. Basic Invite is one of the few places online that allows you almost unlimited color options with instant previews online.
- order a printed custom sample to see your actual invitation before placing your final order. I’m so visual so I love that Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows you to order a printed sample of the actual invitation before you place your final order. With the sample, you’ll be able to see the paper quality, how the card prints, and make sure it’s perfect before sending it.
- choose your envelope. Basic Invite has over 40 different envelope colors to choose from which means you can make your envelope match the invitation. All of the envelopes are peel and seal so they can be closed quickly and securely.
Basic Invite also has foil cards in silver, gold or rose gold. You can choose from flat or raised foil on all the foil designs.
Once your cards or invitations arrive, store them in a box in the family command center, a gift closet, or with other stationery in your home office; wherever makes sense for you and won’t leave you wondering where you put those cards when it’s time to mail them.
Book or hire services – Whether it’s a musician, caterer, Santa, a holiday decorator, a professional organizer, or someone to hang your Christmas lights, book any service you typically use during the holidays as far ahead of time as they allow. That way you’re not left scrambling at the last minute.
Reevaluate family traditions – As family’s grow and reach different ages and stages, it’s only natural for some family traditions to no longer serve you. Give yourself permission to let them go, and have fun creating new ones.
Start a gift list – Base your list on your priorities and give yourself permission to shorten this list. Some suggestions are immediate family, favorite teachers (because gift giving gets expensive fast once your kids start having teachers for every subject) and/or donations to your favorite charities. There’s no need to buy Christmas gifts for bosses, acquaintances, co-workers, neighbors, or coaches unless your relationship warrants it.
Set a budget – There are so many extra expenses this time of year, not just with gifts, but decorations, travel, parties, clothes, cards, photos. So, set realistic spending limits that align with your budget and priorities.
Test recipes – Maybe there’s a holiday dish you’ve always wanted to try. Why not make this the year? Trying new cookie recipes would be a fun rainy Summer day activity. You could also try a new breakfast casserole during a Summer sleepover, or experiment with side dishes one night.
Purchase gift wrap – Having gift wrap ready for the season comes in handy. Often, schools sell gift wrap during their Fall fundraiser. This is a good way to support the school and get ahead on Christmas preparations.
Once the gift wrap is delivered, store it under a bed, on the top shelf of a bedroom closet, in a craft room, or an empty dresser drawer.
Summer Christmas Planning Checklist
I recommend starting with the simpler suggestions on the list to build motivation and momentum for the harder task of reevaluating. You could also try batching them into like categories and focusing on one at at time such as:
- scheduling and booking services
- placing orders
- reevaluating and planning
Then, add everything to your calendar. A suggested timeline might be:
- Make calls to schedule services – That way you can schedule them throughout the Summer
- Start gathering addresses – Basic Invite offers an address capturing service that allows you to share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media to request your friends and family’s addresses. As addresses come in, store them in your Basic Invite account. Then, select them during the design process for recipient address printing at no cost on all card orders. Such a time-saver!
- Order a custom sample of your Christmas card to take advantage of Basic Invite’s Christmas in July sale. Get 15% off with the coupon code: 15FF51
- Download your free Christmas shopping list and fill it out, including your budget per person
- Buy gift wrap
- Think through traditions, hosting, gift giving and budget. You could discuss these topics with your significant other during meal time instead of having to find a separate time to get together. Whatever you decide, be sure to add it to your calendar so time doesn’t get away from you.
- Test new holiday recipes. This could be a fun new holiday tradition you add to the calendar every year!
This timeline allows for plenty of margin time before the holiday rush. That way if something doesn’t go according to plan, there’s no need to stress. Just reschedule it and keep going.
I hope preparing for Christmas this Summer brings you comfort and joy.