It's September! Time for back to school, Oktoberfest, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas?! Hell yes. You might be dreading the end of summer and consoling yourself with endless Starbucks PSLs, but fret not! Prepping for Christmas early will save you so much stress come December.
The month of December is exciting, fun, and hectic. I don't know about you, but I absolutely adore the Christmas season and with that, I want to enjoy every single day of December! Drinking eggnog, baking cookies, dressing up for Christmas parties, and watching holiday movies is what I live for. So, the less time I can spend in a mall, Costco, or craft store, the better!
Here are some the best ways to start preparing yourself for Christmas months earlier, saving yourself an abundance of time!
1. Start making a list of all the people you need to buy for this year
Family? Friends? Partners? Coworkers? Making a list of all the people you need to buy for is one of my favourite strategies to prepare early for Christmas. It means zero surprises or the "omg I completely forgot to buy a present for..." on December 24th at 4:47pm, just as I've knocked back my first of many eggnogs. It also helps me create a budget and stick to it.
Lists also help me stay organized by keeping them right through to Christmas. Below each person's name, I write down gift ideas for them and gifts that I've already gotten them. This helps me keep track of how much I've spent and reminds me that I bought my boyfriend's sister a pair of cat socks that are hiding in my closet.
2. Sign up for email updates from the stores that you know you'll be Christmas shopping at
Besides Black Friday and Cyber Monday, stores have popup sales that can save you tons of money. Signing up for email newsletters can help ensure you're the first to know about upcoming sales or deals. What's more is that many online stores will give you a discount code or special perk for signing up!
3. Visit your nearest liquidation store
This is one of my favourites! The closest liquidation store to me in Waterloo, Ontario is K&K Liquidation in Wellesley. This place is amazing! K&K has tons of great products that are mostly Costco returns. Some of the items have been opened, but most are brand new! Since liquidation stores' goals are to sell their products quickly, prices are a fraction of the original retail price.
Photo by K&K Liquidation
Liquidation stores can also have Christmas decor and supplies all year round! Last week, I got Costco-sized wrapping paper, bows, lights, cards, and ornaments all for under $40!
4. Think outside the box!
Another great way to prep for Christmas is taking advantage of summer clearances. Whether it's gifts or crafts, buying marked-down items is a great way to save some cash! I also keep my eyes peeled for stocking stuffers throughout the year. My boyfriend's family also does a super fun $10 gift game every year. Buying small things here and there can make for a fun and creative gift that everyone will want to steal! (We usually play the dice version of a gift swap).
5. Start menu planning
Whether you're the host or a guest, chances are you'll be cooking up some tasty snacks and treats for your friends and family this year. If you know you'll be cooking or baking a dish with fresh fruits or vegetables, I suggest buying as much as you can while they're still in season! That's right, buy fresh produce months before you'll need it and freezing it. Why? Because the price of produce skyrockets in the winter. *Insert meme about knowing you've hit prime adulthood when you're outraged by the price of a red bell pepper*.
Not sure what you're going to cook up? Check out Pinterest for Christmas ideas all year round! Typing in "make ahead" into your search can also help you find which recipes you can start prepping now and will likely let you know which steps can be done weeks or months in advance. Save your recipe pins to a specific holiday menu board to make sure you're following the right steps you prepped for come December. I have definitely been guilty of finding an amazing idea and forgetting where or even if I saved it! I will say that I have learned my lesson the hard way and make a point of saving every recipe that catches my eye. If you need some extra holiday menu inspo, check out our Christmas Menu board!
Photo by Ina Garten, Food Network
Once you've found the recipe you know you'll be using at Christmas time, read the instructions and even the reviews to see what you can make or prepare ahead of time. Personally, I this method because I know I'll have everything I need right in my freezer. If you're going to be freezing things for more than a few weeks, I would suggest using vacuum sealed bags like these ones on Amazon.
Have more ideas for how to prep for Christmas? Comment below! 💖