Not-overhwhelmed-Holiday Warning: This is a Christmas post. I have been reading social media this week and there seems to be a lot of discussion about decorating for Christmas before or after Thanksgiving and what is appropiate. And then today, I got the sweetest possible email from a reader who was genuinely concerned about me not genuinely enjoying the holidays because I started early.

 Today I am here to say that, in my opinion, no one is right and no one is wrong. The fact is, as a blogger, there are lots of reasons, for our business, that we need to start early. But, really that is not what I am here to talk about. We are all influenced, bloggers and non-bloggers by the fact that the stores are filled early. But here is the thing, I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!!

 For me, decorating early is my way to go. Even if I stopped blogging, I would still decorate early. We don't host Thanksgiving dinner and I love getting home and being all ready to settle in. With decorating done early, we can just ease into those last magical weeks of the Christmas season. As I write this, my girls are watching Christmas movies in the office with me while they are planning their shopping lists for our family. They are whispering to me what they are getting for everyone and they are coming up with the most thoughtful and creative gifts. This is exactly how I want it. They may giggle a little at me about early Christmas decorating, but we are making our memories and traditions.

 Whether you are waiting until after Thanksgiving or have already started, it can be overwhelming and stressful. I thought I would share a few tips on how to try and not be so overwhelmed this holiday.

1. Start Early

Now don't hit me for my first tip - start early. This can take all types of forms. It can mean that you are already decorating. It can also mean to start organizing and planning. There is no rule that you can't have a plan for decorating even if you wait till after Thanksgiving. It can also mean, getting the bins down (or up!) and sorting through them. I have a ton of stuff that I no longer use. Why not get sorted through it now? Then, when you are ready to decorate, it is all ready to go. Sorting through it now will also help you as you head into the shops. Do you need another set of lights or not? Do you have a tree skirt or did a mouse get into it in the attic? Make your list now and pick things up as you find it. This will mean less trips to the stores after Thanksgiving when it will be crazy. 

2. Start Shopping and Keep a List

Don't wait until black Friday. Frankly, I have never found those sales to be overly amazing anymore. I do have some black Friday family traditions, but mostly for me is about getting as much done as possible. Whether you shop small and local or online, nothing is better than getting it done early. The one problem with decorating early is finding the presents. I have been known to loose track of what I have set aside and then buy duplicates. Keep a list of what you have, what you still need and where you put it! Also, simplify your list. If you have a great idea, plan it for multiple people (maple syrup is always a good idea, wink wink!). Don't over complicate your gift buying. ChristmasChalkboardTable.jpg

3. Wrap as You Buy!

Okay, this is one I have never done, but I am determined that this is the year! Really, I mean it! I am so tired of bending over wrapping all my presents at once at the last minute. I already have my paper set up, but even better, I bought a bunch of gift bags at the end of last season. Gift bags are my plan this year -cute ones of course and maybe with a little "zhush" of course. I will keep you updated on this one! 

4. Stock up on Groceries and Beverages

I am all about fresh foods and homemade, but I don't want to pass up on an opportunity to be with friends because I don't have fresh in the house. I plan to find a bunch of yummy appetizer options that I can keep in the freezer. When an opportunity arises to head to a friend's house or have them over, I will be ready with a hot and yummy snack. I will have baking ingredients already in the pantry and I have already stocked up on wine and beverages. Whatever is your fancy, have it in the house now so you can easily invite in friends or stop by for a visit. Save yourself having to go to the stores when it is crazy and last minute. That is the easiest way to be overwhelmed this season! 

5. Don't Forget to Stop

This is the one that we all know, but it can be the hardest to do. If the tree isn't perfect (or if it falls down as has happened to us TWICE) or the dinner is a little crispier than you intended, it is okay. Take a minute, enjoy your family and friends. Put off cleaning the bathroom but don't put off snuggling by the fire. And not to beat my point into the ground, this is one of the main reasons I love decorating early. I love being able to put my feet up and enjoy our home with our family as soon as the season begins Not matter what holidays your celebrate, not matter your traditions are - I wish you the very best this holiday season. And, since I really do love Thanksgiving, you can read about a really simple and easy Thanksgiving table and traditions that I shared here. If you are interested in any of the past decorating projects I shared in this post, they can be found here... Bright and Colorful Christmas Office Holiday Decorating Home Tour Outdoor Vintage Decorating Chalkboard Table Runner Galvanized Bin Tree Outdoor Christmas Decorating & Sign Quickpen-Signature_edited-1
November 18, 2014 — Laura Putnam