Updated: Nov 6
It might only be the beginning of November, but it is a good time to start thinking about prepping for Christmas. That doesn't mean you need to get the tree up and decorate the house - that can wait until December, but from a practical point of view, there are a few things to get done to make December - the busiest month of the year for parents, a little easier.
Book your visits to attractions
Some will already be booked up, but other attractions will start selling out fast this month, especially visits to Santa, so if there is somewhere in particular that you really want to take the kids to, get it booked now, to avoid disappointment.
Start thinking about food
The Christmas aisles are back in all the supermarkets, so to help spread the cost, start adding some of yours and your family's favourite Christmas snacks and treats to your weekly shop. It also means that you won't have much to get at Christmas when the stores will be really busy. Only shop online? Just add some extras each week.
If you are hosting Christmas, prepping now what you will be serving up, will mean one less thing to think about in December, and now is the time to book a Christmas delivery slot, if you can't face the shops. You might not be sure that you need one yet, but it is best to get a slot booked and then nearer the time cancel it, if it is obvious you don't. Having your Christmas shop delivered is super helpful though when you have kids, as the stores often have huge queues at the checkouts - no fun with kids in tow, but you will undoubtedly save some money too, by not having your children begging you for everything that you haven't got on your list!
However, if you have someone to take care of the kids, shopping without them can be just as good for the soul as a spa day, so take advantage of the long queues and enjoy some child-free time!
What you put in your child's stocking is up to you, but having a list of what you need to buy is extremely helpful in prepping for Christmas, along with keeping a list of what you already have - too many times parents tell me that they have over-bought or doubled-up on stocking fillers, because they haven't kept tabs on what they are they buying, so making a list is, in my opinion, is a must.
Spreading the cost
Having a budget is all well and good, but you have to stick to it. Spreading the cost, therefore, only really works if it comes out of your overall budget. Work out what you would like to spend, and importantly, what you can afford to spend, and then decide if that needs to be split between this month and next, or if you can get it all done in one hit.
If you haven't already, get your children to help declutter - Out with the old and make room for the new, is essential Christmas prep. Not only will your house feel a bit more roomy, but your child will be less overwhelmed with stuff, meaning that they will be more likely to tidy up after themselves and be able to play better. You can also see what they already have and what they really don't like playing with, making it easier to make a Christmas list to hand out.
You can read more about why decluttering toys is important here.
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