Christmas in July: 6 Things to Do Now
It’s Christmas in July, people! OK, it’s hard to get down with that here in Florida where it’s 102 degrees. BUT, July is a great month to start thinking ahead and make a plan. Get started on some projects now so you’re not rushing around in December.
- Pick a color palette. This was one of the hardest things for me to do. I had a collection of tons of Christmas stuff, but none of it really coordinated so it ended up looking like Christmas threw up in my house. It was more cluttered looking than Christmas-y. I finally came to the conclusion I needed to decide on a color palette and commit to it. The hard part here is committing to the colors you’ve chosen. But just do it- commit! Then every time you are shopping for Holiday decorations, pick up things you like that are in the colors you’ve chosen. If you are lucky enough to buy all new stuff every year and change your color palette every year- then please, skip this step and just do whatever your heart desires. For the rest of us, it’s more budget friendly to pick 2-5 colors and stick with it. My original color palette was red, green and gold. Any shade of red and green will do, paired with gold. I’ve recently been adding in more of a lime green, which has made things pop a little more and seem more fun. Maybe your color palette is pink, turquoise, red and white. Maybe it’s black and white. Whatever makes you happy, go for it. Check Pinterest for “Christmas color palettes” and pin a few that stand out to you.
- Schedule your Christmas photo shoot for your cards. This usually occurs to me in October, and by then, my favorite photographer is booked up on all the good days and times and I’m left scrambling to order photos and cards at the last minute. Call your photographer now and get on her calendar! Aim for an early October date, which will leave you plenty of time to review your photos, choose your favorites and order your prints or Christmas photo cards.
- Speaking of cards, get your mailing list in order. Update your list with any address changes, marriages, new family members or any other changes. Tip: I use Excel to organize my list so I can easily print labels using a mail merge in Word. When I’m creating my list in Excel, I add a column where I give each entry a “label”- A, B, C, or D. The “A’s” are the people that are DEFINITELY getting a card. The “B’s” are the probably people, and “C’s” and “D’s” are people that will get a card if you have them left over or if you are sending more than usual because you’ve had a major event in the family (new baby, new house, etc).
- Set some ground rules. Christmas is a very stressful time. If this is your first Christmas as a family, the pressure can be even greater. Set some ground rules now so everyone knows what’s going on. In my house, the one rule is that we don’t leave the house on Christmas day. With all the grandparents and family members around, everyone wants us to come over and celebrate at their house. I don’t think it’s fair to my kids (or my husband) to drag them all over town on this very special day. So we keep everyone at home so my kids can stay in their Christmas pj’s all day, they can play with their new toys, ride their new bikes, take naps in the middle of the floor when they are completely exhausted and we can enjoy our time as a family. Let me be clear on this- anyone is invited to join us on Christmas day! We tell all our family that they can come over in the morning, the afternoon or the evening to spend time with us. But we don’t go anywhere. We make the rounds to other people’s houses on Christmas Eve or the weekend before or after. Let your people know about this rule NOW! Trust me, they will not be happy, they will be resistant and want to find a reason to convince you to come see them on Christmas. Stand strong. Do it for your kids and your sanity. This is also a good time to establish some fun traditions. Plan ahead. Another tip: don’t plan an extravagant meal for Christmas Day. We either do lasagna (make it ahead!) or take out Chinese. If I’m craving a big meal, I make a brunch.
- Get started on a project. Here’s my project list for this Christmas: a stocking holder with 4 hooks for our growing family (we don’t have a fireplace mantle here in Florida), modern Christmas trees made from scrap wood, and a nativity sign using vinyl decals on a painted piece of scrap wood (you can find similar decals on Etsy, here)
- Make a budget. This is so important. Unless you’ve recently won the lottery, Christmas always impacts the budget more than we think it will. Please don’t use your credit cards for Christmas gifts. It will make you sad in January. Start stashing away money now. Make a list of all the gift recipients, a list of ideas for their gifts and a dollar amount to spend on them. Total everything up, divide it by number of paychecks between now and then, and come up with a dollar amount to save each paycheck. OR, do it the other way, come up with a dollar amount that you can afford to set aside each paycheck, come up with the total you will have at the beginning of December, and let that number dictate how much you spend on people. Make a list of other Holiday expenditures, including:
- Cards & photos
That’s about it for now! Thank you so much for stopping by. What are some of the projects on your list? What are some of the ground rules and traditions for your family during the Holidays?