8 Things You Can Start Doing Now So You’re Not Stressed for the Winter Holidays

Summer hasn’t even drawn to a close and some folks are already getting a jump-start on the festive season. Find out how and why you should start holiday planning now.

By Kat Hodgins | Updated Sep 8, 2022 10:46 AM

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It’s that time of year—the holiday decor is starting to fill store shelves. Though it may seem way too soon, these festive aisles serve as a great reminder to check a few items off your to-do list now. Starting some of your holiday planning early can set you up for a season of joy, rather than spending too much, worrying too much, or doing too much.

Here are eight ways you can prepare for the upcoming holiday season, so you can enjoy your time more and stress less.

1. Repair and organize decorations.

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Did your holiday decorations get thrown in a box last year with the thought of: “I’ll take care of it next year”? It’s time to pay the piper. From tangled cords, broken lights, or busted ornaments and decorations, your festive decor may need a little love before being on display this year.

Taking a half day now to repair, clean, organize, and note items that need to be replaced will make putting up your decorations a much more pleasant experience.

RELATED: How To: Store Holiday Lights, Decorations, and Accessories 

2. Get started on DIY gifts.

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A handmade gift is something others cherish, especially when they know how much time (and blood, sweat, and tears) went into creating a special present just for them. Now is a terrific time to get started on your DIY gifts, so you save yourself the stress of rushing to finish before a gift exchange.

From homemade candles, soaps, art, birdhouses, and more, there are plenty of things a maker can create this holiday season. We love these little cross stitch kits from The Stranded Stitch on Etsy, which, when completed, make a cute gift for any holiday!

RELATED: Weekend Projects: 10 DIY Gifts to Make and Give

3. Locate your winter clothes.

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Perhaps your family has booked a ski cabin for the holidays, or you have an ugly sweater party every year—there are always certain clothes that are required during the holidays. It’s a good idea to scout out these items now, so you can make sure your mitten has a twin, your ski pants still fit, and your sweater doesn’t have any holes.

Knowing the location and the current state of these clothing items help you avoid spending money replacing clothes that can’t be found last minute. Checking out the state of your winter clothes now also gives you the time to save up to buy new ones by the time you need them.

4. Secure your holiday rentals.

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Holiday parties are so much fun to attend, but they can be a lot of work to host. Whether you need an entire venue, or extra chairs, tables, and dishes, reserve them now—or make arrangements to borrow them from a friend or family member. Closer to the festive events, you’ll be hard-pressed to find the rentals you need when you need them, so take care of this to-do item now.

RELATED: 20 Easy Ways to Be the Best Holiday Host

5. Make lists and check them twice.

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Holiday planning ahead has its perks. From shopping lists, to gift ideas, to budgets, preparing ahead saves time and prevents you from panic shopping or booking at the last minute and overspending on items you don’t need.

Creating menus and gift lists for your holiday parties and dinners now will prevent you from scrambling later. Making a list of travel needs or the stops you’ll make on the family road trip will ease the tension of holiday travel. You can make changes to these lists, of course, but preparing them well in advance ensures you’re making decisions thoughtfully instead of based on holiday stress.

6. Declutter to make room for the new.

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No matter which holiday you celebrate, there’s always something new coming in the home. Whether it’s holiday gifts, hostess gifts, an abundance of food and drinks, or all of the above, clearing out space now ensures all these items have a place to go.

Well before the holiday season, you can donate items you no longer use or wear, and you can dispose of things that are outdated and expired—have you checked the best-before dates on your condiments? From closets to shelves to fridges and cupboards, there’s usually something that can go elsewhere.

RELATED: 9 Tips and Tricks to Cut the Christmas Clutter

7. Take your holiday photos.

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If you are that wonderful person who sends out a thoughtful letter and family photo every year to your loved ones, start prepping now. Take your photos and have them printed well in advance, and get ahead on writing your letters full of memories, updates, and events from the past year. Order your cards and stamps now, and you’ll be far ahead of others who swarm the post office last minute.

RELATED: 22 Unique Ways to Display Holiday Cards

8. Schedule time for yourself.

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The season’s stress can be caused by many things: overspending, lack of time to enjoy the season, planning, worrying, and more. Accomplishing holiday tasks in advance can help alleviate some of these stresses, but make sure you leave some room in your calendar to fill your cup.

This may mean pre-booking a spa day, taking yourself out for a holiday treat, watching movies in bed, meditation, or anything else that brings you relaxation and joy. The important thing is that this time is non-negotiable, which is why it needs to be booked in your calendar now.