Before or After? And Tips for Not Feeling Overwhelmed This 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.




 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



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Welcome to Finding Home Farms where we share our favorite DIY and decorating ideas and inspiration. We believe your home should be a reflection of you and your family. Our blog is the story of our journey - and what we find along the way. Thanks for joining us!

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18 thoughts on “Before or After? And Tips for Not Feeling Overwhelmed This Holiday”


  1. GReat tips, Laura! I don’t actually fully decorate early, but I DO knock out some DIYs to share and set up a vignette or two. But I ALWAYS plan and shop early… makes the decorating and relaxing part so much more enjoyable. Have a great day!
    xo Heidi

  2. My roommate starts buying gifts early, especially for her great-niece and great-nephew, 6 and soon to be 4 (4 days after Christmas.) Its a good thing she did because she fell on Nov 8 and chipped her pelvis and will probably be out of action until after Thanksgiving at the earliest! I need to go in and start wrapping presents that we have gotten. I try to limit my wrapping paper buys to one roll a year because I have so FREAKING much of the stuff. In the last 7 years I have managed to get my paper supply down from about 20 rolls to 10.

  3. I have worked as a retail merchandiser and what the general public does not understand is that if the stores waited until after Thanksgiving there would be no way to get the trees decorated, displays done and all the merchandise out for them to purchase. Each of those ornaments they see comes wrapped in bubble wrap and boxed 🙁 it’s a lot of work to get a retail store ready for the holiday. The next time you walk by a “merchandiser” tell her it looks great…she needs a hug for all the hard work!

    1. Thanks so much for this info. Now we all know why it is up so early and can quit complaining about it. Makes alot of sense!

  4. Thank you Laura for giving us permission to start enjoying the holidays now, it is such a short season with so much to do! Your tips were right on target, and to quote you, “I love being able to put my feet up and start enjoying my home with my family as soon as the season starts!” You’ve got the right idea, thanks for sharing!

  5. Laura, you could start Christmas in April and you wouldn’t hear any complaints from me lol!! I’m with you about preparing early so the whole Christmas season can be more enjoyable and stress-free. We are decorating this weekend, and I can’t wait to sit back after Thanksgiving dinner and begin to savor the season. Love your tip about wrapping as I buy, my gifts and wrapping paper are all piled on my desk, so I’m going to get after it today! Wishing you an amazing holiday season!! xoxoxo

  6. I agree. There is no right or wrong way to approach this; everyone needs to do what works best for her. Right now, I’m stubbornly hanging on to fall decorations because Thanksgiving dinner will be at my house. My home is full of scarecrows and pumpkins, but holly and red ribbon are in my mind. If it weren’t for dinner at my house, I’d be up to my elbows in those red and green bins. And delaying my decorating for a another 2 weeks gives me the opportunity to see so many good ideas on blogs so that I can be ready for the changes I intend to make this year. Great post, Laura.

  7. Decorating early for Christmas takes nothing away from Thanksgiving! Just as one child getting an A doesn’t take away from another child getting an A. Canadian Thanksgiving takes place the second Monday of October and European countries don’t have a Thanksgiving so they all decorate for Christmas by mid November (many do have some type of harvest festival). I’m with them. If one is Christian then celebrating and preparing for the birth of Christ is something we should do all year long. As we should also be giving thanks all year long. I think the important thing is to respect each without condemning.
    I love seeing the decorations in the stores! Great source of inspiration!

  8. There are some great tips here, Laura. I believe, if you start early, you feel less pressure and stress as it nears the big day. I always like to decorate my front porch in November (once it gets feeling like winter) and that starts the ball rolling. Before I know it, the whole house is decorated, except the tree. I still buy a fresh cut tree. Love the smell. So…go ahead and do what makes you happy.

  9. Nicely said. I’m a December 1st decorator, but then I come from a family that did it all more like mid-December, so it feels “early” to me. I also get overwhelmed with all the Christmas “clutter” and only enjoy ALL of it for a month. ON the other hand, Christy Jordan of Southern Plate (gotta check her recipes out!) makes me smile with her early November Christmas decorating, when she says “I never noticed a Christmas tree in the corner making me less thankful in November.” Good point! Do what makes YOU and YOUR family happy!

    P.S. We have a LOAD of snow already, so I do have some “winter” decorations up already. : )

  10. I am hosting a craft show at my house with 5 friends and thought that by having my decorations done, it would make the open house more inviting. This past weekend the outside was finished thankfully before the 5 inches of snow happened 48 hours later. This is a first for me having everything decorated but now I can enjoy the open house and focus on the food for Thanksgiving w/o trying to do it all at once and the week following Thanksgiving can be used for fun.

  11. I love Chirstmas too. Yes, it can be a hard thing, avoiding being overwhelemed. Thanks for helping to me to think it through a bit before Thanksgiving. I liked the Believe sign and the Joy one tucked in the end table… reminding us of the essence of the season. Linda

  12. I get started early on my decorating and shopping, but then I have a problem….too much time to fill! I’m mostly done right around the time everyone else is starting to get into it (after Thanksgiving.)

    I end up spending too much on gifts and decorations because I don’t want to be sitting back and relaxing while everyone is out and about doing all the fun holiday things! Yet, I don’t know how to *not* start early. I don’t want to put myself into a last-minute panic either.

    I realize this is not a real problem. But I do think about it every year, lol!