8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: Plan your Holiday Calendar

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: How to Plan Your Holiday Calendar

There are so many fun things to do throughout the Christmas season.  Gingerbread house making, caroling, Christmas plays, cookie exchanges, dinner parties, Christmas light looking, craft making and even holiday movie watching. There is so much to do, there may not be enough time to do it all!

Why won’t you be able to do everything you want to do?  Well, because there’s grocery shopping, laundry, dinner making and everyday life stuff that still has to happen!

This is where planning comes in really handy.  After all, life is busy, and it’ll be hard to get the fun things on the schedule if you don’t plan ahead.

Here are the steps to take if you want to do a lot of fun holiday things this year:

Grab your Calendar

First of all, grab your calendar and mark down all the things you know will be happening regardless of the holidays.  Doctor’s appointments, school activities, office parties…etc.

Talk as a Family

Next, you’ll want to gather the family to discuss all the activities each of you want to do.  Sledding? Cookie decorating party? Christmas play watching?  Brainstorm to your heart’s content.  Make sure to write down all the Christmas movies you want to watch and even the crafts you want to do. (I have a cool Holiday Bucket List included in the Holiday Planner that’s available in the Simply Frugal store that should come in handy!)

Prioritize

Since there are likely more ideas than time, take a look over the calendar again and plan for the activities you can realistically accomplish.  Even with the regular everyday life stuff added in.

Back to the Budget

Before you get carried away with grandiose plans, go back to your budget.  What did you allot for fun?  The case may be that you’ll have to save some activities for future years.

Fill in your Calendar

Now fill in your calendar with all the activities that you can set in stone. Buy those concert tickets and finalize plans with friends, then put them on the calendar.  Make sure to allow for some quiet nights/days at home!

Holiday activities are supposed to be fun so don’t stress about doing everything.  Just make a point of doing the things you want to do instead of wishing they would happen. Planning in advance will make the season more relaxing.

I’d love to know, what’s one thing you’ll be adding to your calendar this year?

Sign up for the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas newsletter to receive a FREE Christmas Dinner Checklist!  This checklist is quite detailed and will help you remember all the details needed for a memory filled dinner with family and friends. You’ll also receive a weekly email with each week’s “task”.

Here are the posts in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series so far:

A Homemade Christmas Gift: No Sew Snowman T-Shirt

It's festive, ridiculously easy to put together and the kids are sure to love this No Sew Snowman T-Shirt!

I have got the cutest DIY project for you today. It’s festive, ridiculously easy to put together and the kids are sure to love it. A No sew snowman t-shirt! Like, look how awesome it is:

How fun would they be to pull out of the Christmas boxes every year? I’ve got the big t-shirt for my oldest, now I’ve got to make a onesie for my youngest!

Here’s how you can put together the No Sew Snowman T-Shirt:

SUPPLIES NEEDED:

  • White t-shirt (try looking for one at your dollar store!)
  • Crafting felt in black and orange
  • Fabric glue
  • Iron (optional)
  • Scissors

snowman-tshirt-supplies

DIRECTIONS:

1. Begin by ironing out your shirt as well as the felt sheets. This step is optional, but it may help you apply your snowman face. If you choose to iron, just use a low heat and no steam.

2. Cut out the shapes you will need to create the snowman face. I cut out a large triangle for a nose using the orange felt. Then, I cut out a few large circles from the black fabric to use as the eyes and buttons. For the mouth, I cut out smaller but uniform black circles.

3. Add a small dab of fabric glue (it will help the felt adhere better than hot glue, plus it will keep the pieces together in the washing machine) to the back of the felt pieces. Assemble the face of your snowman. Press the two large circles for eyes first, then the carrot nose, then the coal mouth. Finish by adding a few large buttons under the mouth.

4. Hold the felt pieces in place until secure. Try hanging your shirt on a hanger so it has plenty of space to dry and not be bothered.

5. Once dry, your shirt can be worn and enjoyed! Wash on a gentle cycle and never machine dry. Turn inside out before washing and your shirt should last for seasons to come!

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: Plan Your Gift List

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: How to Plan Your Gift List

Here we are, week two of the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series!  I hope you had time to do last week’s task: your Holiday Budget!

While I’m fairly certain that many of you are striving to live daily life more simply in terms of less stuff, less waste and less expenses, this series is focusing on simplifying the process of Christmas.  Focusing on the organization aspect so that you don’t give too much of yourself in terms of finances or time.

Christmas can become a nuisance rather than a joyful, meaningful time if we’re constantly feeling stressed. This goes to say, I think the best way to have a more organized, more peaceful Christmas is to do your holiday tasks a little at a time. Tasks on our holiday to-do list can easily morph from fun to miserable when we’re too busy or wandering without a plan.

This week’s task is to plan your gift list.

It’s definitely not too early to plan your gift giving, especially if you plan on making some homemade gifts. Since you’ve hopefully planned your holiday budget already, you should know exactly how much money you have for gifts.

This week you should:

  • Write down all the names of the people you have to purchase gifts for
  • Add gift ideas for each person

Take a look at this year’s Simply Frugal Holiday Gift Guides that are available!  I hope it will help you find a ton of great affordable gift ideas!

But for now, what’s the hardest part about gift giving for your family? What are your solutions?

Sign up for the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas newsletter to receive a FREE Christmas Dinner Checklist!  This checklist is quite detailed and will help you remember all the details needed for a memory filled dinner with family and friends. You’ll also receive a weekly email with each week’s “task”.

Not only do I want a more organized Christmas season of my own, I'm hoping I can help you as well! Introducing... the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series!

A Homemade Christmas Gift: No Sew Dish Towel Apron

Here's how to create a No Sew Dish Towel Apron that any chef would love to receive!

Today’s homemade gift idea can’t get much simpler. So, I happen to think it would make a perfect last-minute gift!  Simply head to your nearest dollar store, pick up a fancy dish towel and some ribbon and get started!

Here’s how to create a No Sew Dish Towel Apron that any chef would love to receive:

DIY No Sew Dish Towel Apron

Supplies needed:

Directions:

  1. Begin by folding your towel into the size of apron you want. You can fold it down to about 8 inches by 8 inches square for a child, or simply fold the towel in half for an adult. If you wish for a longer apron, manipulate the fabric to get the shape you wish. For the sample you see here, I folded the towel once in half, then folded each end in about 2 inches.
  2. Apply a strip of iron on fabric tape OR fabric adhesive to the inside of your folded seams. Press and iron the towel if needed. The idea is to use the tape or adhesive to secure the shape of the towel.
  3. Apply a length of adhesive tape or glue to the top of your towel. Press the length of ribbon into it. Press and iron if needed. The ribbon should now be adhered to the towel, leaving you two lengths on each side for tying.
  4. Once your adhesive is dry or ironed in place, your towel can be used. Simply use the excess ribbon as ties, tying them behind your back to hold the apron in place.no sew dish towel apron 2

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: Create Your Holiday Budget

How to create your Christmas budget. Sit down with a hot drink and create your Christmas budget with these tips! #Christmasbudget #budgettips

Are you excited to work your way to a more organized Christmas?  Today marks the first day and task in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series that I hope will be super helpful to you!

Before we get started, I have a whole bunch of printables and checklists for you to print out to help you along:

Alright, on to the first task, an important one. 🙂 This week, if you haven’t already, sit down with a hot cup of tea, coffee, hot chocolate… and create your holiday budget.  This is what you think your holiday season will cost and will allow you to put limits on your holiday spending to keep you from shopping regrets if a credit card bill comes your way!

Related: How to Have a Merry Christmas Without Spending a Dime

Here is an extensive list of things you should keep in mind when you create your holiday budget:

Gifts:

  • spouse
  • kids
  • parents
  • siblings
  • nieces/nephews
  • grandparents
  • neighbors
  • coworkers
  • friends
  • secret Santa gift exchanges

Activities/Events/Parties:

  • tickets
  • dining out
  • clothing

Food (not including regular groceries):

  • baking ingredients
  • dessert ingredients
  • Christmas eve
  • Christmas dinner/brunch
  • Boxing day
  • parties

Cards:

  • stamps
  • cards/envelopes
  • stationary for family newsletter
  • photos

Clothing:

  • outfits for photos
  • parties
  • Christmas day outfit

Decorations:

  • tree
  • lights
  • ornaments/candles/wreath/etc.
  • craft supplies

Giving:

  • charities
  • volunteering

Now, these suggestions are just a guideline. Every family is different and has different needs. My intent is to bring to mind every possible thing that could incur an expense during the holiday season.  I’m sure many of you won’t even spend money on half of these things this year. Also, in my mind, the more planning you do, the more money you will save and the saner you will feel. 🙂

As for my family, we only buy gifts for immediate family and a couple of close friends. My husband and I only exchange stockings. I make some homemade gifts as well as collect credits throughout the year so I can do some online shopping for “free”. Of course, I search for deals too. I will probably buy a few inexpensive Christmas decorations this year. This year, I’m toying with the idea of having a cookie decorating party with the girls’ friends. I think that would be fun! As for any party that we are invited to, I like to bring some baking along.

But enough about us.  🙂

If after writing down your expenses, you’re scared of the number you see, you have two options: Decrease your expenses or increase your income.

Decrease your expenses

To make a happy holiday season, you really don’t need to spend a lot of money.  In fact, I’m daring to say, that being extravagant in your spending can be overwhelming not only to you, but the recipient as well. When I was a child, one set of grandparents used to be quite extreme in their gift giving.  It was SO exciting, but I remember being quite overwhelmed with all the gifts once Christmas was over.

Gift giving is probably the easiest expense to cut back on.  If you have a large extended family, consider drawing names so each member is only responsible for one gift.  Or do what our family does and only give gifts to the children.  My parents have also started to set a $20 limit on each other in recent years.  Jesse and I exchange stockings.

Setting a price limit on each gift will allow you to shop within that budget.  If your limit on sister Sue is $30, then that $50 purse is off limits.

It’s possible to decrease your food budget too by shopping the sales and limiting the baking and Christmas dishes you prepare.

When it comes to decorations, why not create some memories by making some homemade decorations?  (I’ll be featuring some ideas in a few weeks)  Or read my Fond, Frugal Christmas Memory post for a fun Christmas tree idea.

Increase your Income

If decreasing your holiday expenses is not an option, then consider increasing your income.  Many retailers hire for the holiday season (and may offer an employee discount!).

A couple of other ideas are to:

  • Sell extra baking to those that may not have much time to create their own.
  • Sell unwanted household items for cash (make room for new stuff too!)

What are your tips for staying on budget at Christmas time?

Sign up for the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas newsletter to receive a FREE Christmas Dinner Checklist!  This checklist is quite detailed and will help you remember all the details needed for a memory filled dinner with family and friends. You’ll also receive a weekly email with each week’s “task”.

Not only do I want a more organized Christmas season of my own, I'm hoping I can help you as well! Introducing... the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series!