We have had a rough couple years, however, I do feel it was a great awakening on who and what is important. It shook up people to rethink what really matters and maybe to adopt new holiday traditions for themselves. During the pandemic a lot of things were impossible to do which welcomed a shift in new traditions. What are some Christmas hacks that will save you time and money?…..
1. Use online shopping as much as you can….
Amazon and other sites can be a great resource to use. You can order presents, send them to yourself, then wrap them. Another option is to order food packages for long-distance family. (Our family loves to send speciality jams, desserts, charcuterie items). Skip the long lines and getting slammed with shopping carts and just push a button instead. If you have the budget, then consider shopping local or on Etsy. Support a small business as much as you can.
2. Go to the Dollar Tree…..
For any sort of wrapping material or snacks for the Christmas stockings, head to the Dollar Tree. They have a great selection of seasonal candy, like peppermint bark and peanut brittle. You can stock up on cards, gift tissue, Christmas gift bags, wrapping paper, etc.
3. Don’t be ashamed of using Christmas gift bags….
Look, I wouldn’t say I am perfect at wrapping presents. I feel it comes out pretty wonky more times than not. There is no shame in buying just bags and tissue. Remember that wrapped packages may look pretty under the tree, but they will be ripped opened and thrown away. So, it’s best long-term to use a bag that you can reuse instead of wrapping paper that can only be used once. You can also use the newspaper comic section to wrap presents. It gives a retro feel to it and you can throw on a ribbon to make it more festive.
4. Make an edible gift…..
No one would be mad at receiving a fresh batch of cookies. If you love baking, then make that your gift to people. There are so many Christmas cookie recipes out there. They sell Christmas cookie bags and containers at the Dollar Tree as well.
5. Do a service gift…..
Think of your expertise that can actually help someone. You might be extremely organized and can make up a handy planner for someone. Or you can help someone clean out a closet or kitchen. Another idea is to take their car to the car wash for them and get it really cleaned and buffed inside and out. Think about giving back to the community with a coat drive or food drive. It is the season of giving back, so it will feel good to help another person in need.
6. Think about an easy DIY tree….
For those who have no room for a real tree, I have seen people on Instagram shape a wall tree out of garlands or even Christmas tree lights. (Great option for mischievous cats who tend to attack trees). You can also buy miniature trees that can be in fun colors. I love a theme tree that has cute ornaments, like a cocktail theme tree or food. There are so many ornaments at Target and online. If you are crafty, you can make your own ornaments.
7. Create your own traditions…..
Bend the rules of the holiday and do things you truly enjoy. You don’t have to have the same food every year or watch the same movie. In fact, there are a lot of unofficial Christmas movies that are a lot of fun. Encourage your family to switch it up and to try new things. Drive around looking at Christmas lights, or walk around a neighborhood with a thermos.
8. Send out your Christmas cards early…..
Get them done sooner than later. Get yourself prepared and get all the address and stamps in order. Allow yourself time to leave a personal note to each person and wish them a happy new year.
9. Decorate before December if you want…..
I noticed in the pandemic people could spend more time at home and used that time to decorate. I have no gripes about decorating early. If you are the type to throw up the Christmas tree before December then go for it. Make your home cozy and festive for you!
10. Be selective about what parties you attend….
You will probably be invited to a lot of holiday parties. Do not stretch yourself thin and walk around with a constant champagne hangover. Really narrow down parties that you are more than happy to go to and allow yourself to rest. You can be run ragged and asked to do so many favors for people. Only do things if you have the time and energy and truly want to do it. You will resent people for overstepping and be annoyed you got guilted into doing things. Be polite, but decline if you are not up for it.
Yes, the pandemic was challenging, however it is good to shake up the system and form new holiday traditions and standards. Stress and guilt can override the joyous season when you are constantly doing favors and spending all your hard-earned money. Do try to give back and donate to people in need. When you see a coat drive or food drive, then participate in it. Do not let the anti-Christmas people make you feel bad for decorating early or feeling joyful. There are going to be people who show their discontent around this time because they are unhappy in general. Your mindset needs to be in the right place because it is easy to be overwhelmed and taken advantage of. Go with the easy and cheaper option first and stay within your budget. Lastly, stay in the moment, look at the lights, and soak it in.