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Start planning now for a smooth holiday season

This year has flown by, and while I’m not quite ready to put up my Christmas tree, I am thinking ahead to the holidays. It happens to be one of my favorite times of the year. From the food to the festivities — not to mention the potential for some cooler weather — I love it all! If you’re not one to look that far ahead, here are a few tips to get you ready.


In years past, the holidays have cost more than I anticipated because I didn’t budget properly. This year, I am creating a budget for all holiday-related expenses. This includes charitable giving, décor, entertainment/parties and gifting. By setting a dollar amount for each category, you are less likely to overspend, and there will be no surprises afterward. It’s also a good idea to start early and take advantage of sales.


Create a holiday bucket list for your family. The holidays are the perfect time to create new, fun family traditions. List places you want to visit or activities you want to experience. These can be simple things like baking with the kids or driving around the neighborhood looking at holiday decorations. It doesn’t have to be expensive. If you’re stuck, head to Pinterest for tons of ideas.


I love a good holiday party with plenty of tasty treats! If you’ll be hosting, start planning out your menu. Determine how much you will need and consider organizing your event as a potluck. Guests love to bring things, so let them. It’s less work for you, and you get to try some new recipes.


My love language is gifting, and the holidays are the perfect time to show your love and appreciation for the people in your life. Making a list of all the gifts you need will help you stay on budget and ensure you don’t forget anyone. Plus, having some ideas helps you watch for sales that will keep you on budget.


Planning helps avoid a lot of unnecessary stress. Having a budget lets you know exactly what you need to spend and on what. Create a holiday calendar so you know exactly what you have scheduled. Not every event must be attended; it’s okay to say “no.” Don’t feel obligated to say “yes” to everything and everybody. While you want to spend time with everyone, thinking you can do it all is unrealistic. Be selective with your time, and politely decline when you can’t attend. Don’t forget to schedule some time for relaxation.

The holidays should be joyous and festive, not stressful, so do yourself a favor and start planning now. You will be happy you did.

Written by Ariel Chamberlain

Ariel Chamberlain is mom and lifestyle blogger based on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Connect with her via Instagram (@thelemonsoflife1, her blog ( or by email at

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