Christmas Planning – The Unexpected Costs

One day of the year, or in some cases a series of days if you have a large family or circle of friends this, transpires in a few hours of celebration.  But, oh the work to get there and we certainly can’t forget the anxiety, fear, happiness, sadness and the financial hit to the pocketbook.

Are you a last minute planner?

Well, this year I’d like you to take the opportunity to get your thoughts together ahead of time.  There are a number of ways in which to gather all our thoughts and plans in one place:

  • A Christmas Planner Book
  • A Journal
  • A Series of To-do Lists
  • A Calendar Book
  • Or Just Wing It and Hope for the Best

The simple part is to choose which method to keep your sanity.   Start planning now when you have the time to sit back and think about it and your transition into the holiday season:

  • You will be more relaxed
  • You will have limited stress
  • No surprises and within your budget
  • Be sure to produce an enjoyable time

So what can you do over the next few months to save time later?

Getting your thoughts into motion now and writing down your plans means you can start to put together your action plan for the final prep which will be required closer to the anticipated date of the celebration.  Here are some things to consider.

$ Start saving of course

  • We took care of that with the Christmas Saving Chart in a previous post.

Decide who is having the celebration this year. 

  • Ask now so you are not disappointed later

What date will it be held?

  • Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, or another.

$ Will you need to make travel plans?  Will your guests? 

  • Purchasing flights are easier and at a time when they could be less expensive when booked well in advance of the anticipated travel date.
  • Will weather or distance impact your decision to travel?

Will you provide accommodations to your guests?  Where will everyone sleep?

  • Know how many and where they will sleep and making sure you have enough bedding and pillows.

$ Are you buying a gift for each guest that arrives?  Would a gift exchange be more economical?

  • Create a realistic budget for what you can afford, not what you feel is expected.
  • Purchasing what they need may be an option over what they want.
  • Don’t be afraid to admit that their gift idea is beyond your limit, but that you will contribute to the cause.

$ Will you be purchasing all the food for the event?  Will, you order in or eat out?

  • Tired of being the prep, cook, and bottle washer - Is it time for some help or a change.

$ Are you having a full meal?  Do you need appetizers?  Will guests contribute to the cost or items required?

  • When you purchase all the fixings for a meal it can become costly quickly.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for a contribution in prepared food or a little cash.
  • Know what foods you will need and the ingredients then make your potential list now.

$ Do you bake for the holidays?

  • What will you be making this year and how much time will you require to bake?
  • Baked goods can be a great gift for someone on your list – will you have to make extra?
  • Do you have enough reusable containers or will you need to buy some for this years?
  • Will it be more beneficial to purchase the baked goods you need?

$ Will you be decorating your home?  Do you have to rearrange the furniture?  Do you need help to do this?

  • Sometimes it can be fun to decorate together, other times it is better to do it yourself
  • Do you get a real tree – you don’t want to get it too early but you will need to plan for its purchase, transportation, and set up.
  • Dependent on the weather you might be taking down the Halloween decoration to replace them with Christmas, so who will you get to help you with that and what date might they be available.

$ Will visiting extended family or friends be a part of your holiday season?

  • Dates fill up quickly the month of December
  • Additional travel may require a little more added to your gas budget
  • A small gift or bottle of wine may increase your gift budget

If you have planned your Christmas Savings for gift giving and not taken into consideration the additional cost you may incur than you might need to adjust your saving budget or create a second one for incidentals.  Each point above that could result in an additional cost is marked with a dollar sign for easier reference when you are putting your plan together.

So many questions just waiting for your answers, but alas there could be a few people you need to check with before you can set your plans into motion.  Don’t wait till December to start planning.  Reduce your future stress and start your inquiries now.

Christmas Planning can be fun when you find all the working bulbs to make the string of lights glow like never before.  Don’t you agree or perhaps you disagree.  Let me know your thoughts.

Would you like a PDF document with this series of questions to get your planning started?