Ready to be freaked out? As of yesterday, there are 12 weeks until Christmas. Maybe that sounds far off to you, or maybe that’s sooner than you’d like. Either way, I know that for me, Christmas usually sneaks up on me when I’m not looking. Is it really December 25 every year?
In the past, I’ve done a 12 week countdown to the big day, giving you little tasks to accomplish each week, so that the season is actually enjoyable and not stressful.
Well, this year I’m only doing a six week countdown (which is starting November 4, because one of those weeks will be a holiday giveaway). But I thought today would be a good reminder to do—what I think is—the most important prep task for the holiday season. Your holidays will be miserable without it. And it’s true, no matter what big holiday you do celebrate this year.
I’ll give you one guess as to what it is.
Prepare your holiday budget
Sounds boring and unsexy, I know, but it’s dreadfully important—and if you don’t prepare a budget, you’ll either be unable to afford anything, or worse, put everything on a credit card. Then you might be paying off one measly holiday for who knows how long.
Technically, it’s a great idea to set aside money for Christmas all year long. Just a little each month adds up to plenty for the entire season. But even if you haven’t yet done this, you’ve got time to save—which is why I’m writing this today.
I have a simple little budget sheet you can download here (it’s also on the main downloads page), but there’s no rocket science to it. It’s a matter of calculating your potential Christmas expenses, finding the grand total, then dividing by the amount of months (or paychecks) until December 25.
As of today, there are around three months, 12 weeks, or 84 days until Christmas. Divide your budget as necessary.
The trick is to remember the little things, because those are what always kills the budget. Not saying you have to include all the following things (we certainly don’t in our family), but here is what’s listed on the budget worksheet:
- gift wrap & supplies
- craft supplies
- cookie ingredients
- misc. dessert ingredients
- Christmas day dishes
- cards and/or envelopes
- paper for newsletter
- other relatives
- dining out
Basically, the point is to plan, and to not turn a blind eye to the upcoming holiday season. I know you don’t really want to think about it—I honestly don’t, either. But put it in your monthly budget today, make it automatic, even, and then move on to enjoying the fall. Because didn’t that just start? Who evens wants to panic about Christmas yet? We’ve got pumpkin spice lattes to make.
What’s your usual holiday budget killer?