As summer draws to a close and the warmer weather starts to subside, you wouldn’t be alone if you were looking upon the change of seasons with a bit of reluctance. But with the new season comes its own set of pleasures. You know, spending nights cuddled up by the fire, watching your favorite movies with your family, indulging in delicious seasonal treats (there’s a pumpkin spice version of everything)! The holiday season is what you make of it, and some proper preparations can help make sure it’s stress-free. By following these tips, you’ll be facing this holiday season like a pro!
Preparing Your Home
So you’ve decided to host a family gathering at your house. Good on you! But even the cleanest of us will feel like we have to go over-the-top to prepare the house for you and your partner’s extended family. When you hardly have a free moment between your kids, your spouse, and your job, finding enough time to go above and beyond on your house can seem impossible. But there are options!
Hiring a cleaning service for even a day can make a dramatic difference in your house. Although the service may be expensive right off the bat, a cleaning crew can breathe new life into your house and is sure to make a great impression on your guests (even your mother-in-law)! This will also free up some time for you to set up festive decorations around the house.
If you’re expecting a large number of guests, don’t feel pressured to accommodate them all! Most houses aren’t built to host multiple families, after all. Instead, suggest an affordable hotel within close proximity to your home. As an added bonus, you’ll have a lot less to pick up after once festivities are over!
Providing food for a large number of guests is a big responsibility! You’ll want to make sure your kitchen is orderly by decluttering and organizing before anyone arrives. You’ll also want to stock up on the necessities, like clean plates, cups, and napkins to avoid that awkward situation where you forgot how many nephews you had.
When you’ve gone out and spent a fortune on snacks and food for your party, the last thing you want to do is throw it all out. However, this is all too common when guests feel intrusive about diving into your pantry for bags of chips or snacks. Instead, lay them out in glass canisters around the house, so your guests have a clear view of the contents inside and don’t feel as awkward about helping themselves to.
When it comes time to prepare the big meal, you might want to float around a few ideas with your family and see if there’s anything, in particular, they were looking to have. Turkey, ham, mashed and sweet potatoes, casseroles, squash, pies (the list goes on!) are common holiday favorites. But if watching football is on your party’s agenda, you might find out your family is just as happy getting pizza and wings- saving you serious amounts of time and unnecessary preparation stress! Similarly, if you and your family have a favorite restaurant, having your meal catered may be another option to make your party a success!
Preparing Your Wallet
The holidays are an expensive time of the year. According to the National Retail Federation, American retailers make 20% to 40% of their annual sales during the Christmas holiday season. Great for them, but what about us? According to a similar study, the average American spent $935.58 on holiday gifts. That’s some serious cash! But with so many advertisements and doorbuster deals out there, it’s no surprise why our pockets are left hurting.
So how do you brace yourself for this costly time of year? By being prepared of course! As the holiday season approaches, you’ll need to start thinking about setting aside some savings if you weren’t already. The sooner you start, the less December will sting your wallet! Start to think about how much you can comfortably afford to save each month leading up to November and December. Need help? Turn to mobile banking apps that will set aside gift-giving money each time you get paid. You’ll find it easier to keep to a budget and prevent excessive spending when more of your money goes into a savings account that you only retrieve from on special occasions (like holidays)!
It will also be easier to factor the holidays into your budget when you and your spouse come up with a set amount you’re willing to spend on gifts for each family member. This way, you’ll even be able to shop strategically for gifts within that price point (who said $100 worth of socks and underwear was a bad thing?). Once you know a dollar amount, you might want to spread out your shopping between multiple paychecks. This will help make sure you have adequate resources to buy each gift and live comfortably throughout the months leading up to the big day!
What are your thoughts? Please share in the comments below. I really would love to know.
Until next time, shine amongst the stars!
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