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After writing the post 11 Ways to Prepare for Christmas in October over a month ago, I figured I better do a follow up this month on ways that you can prepare for Christmas in November. And next month you will find the next and final post on how to prepare for Christmas.
In my previous Preparing for Christmas post, I mentioned how we woke up to a winter wonderland that morning but it would soon melt away. Now we have been waking up to a winter wonderland for several days and I don’t think it’s going anywhere this time until spring comes around.
The days are cold, the nights are colder, everything is covered in a soft white layer and the skies are ever so blue when it’s not snowing. This time of year is beautiful and I love it, although I could do without the air being cold enough to hurt my face, or any skin that is exposed. But since just a few weeks ago I was absolutely thrilled at the thought of winter, I’ll try to hold off on the complaining about it for a while longer.
Now that we are 4 days into November I should be able to post this Christmas post without getting any eye-rolls, I hope. I realize that you folks in the US haven’t had your Thanksgiving yet, but we had ours long ago so I’m in a full-on Christmas mood now.
Oftentimes the holiday season can become overwhelming. When you’re trying to think of presents you can buy for your loved ones, which appetizers and cookies to make, to use general Christmas cards or family photos, and finding time for all the above. Hopefully, if we start planning for Christmas in October that will enable us to have a more relaxing Christmas season.
18 ways to prepare for Christmas in November
Buy ingredients you will need for your Christmas baking. You won’t be able to buy all the ingredients this far ahead of time, but you can buy nonperishable ingredients, and ingredients to use in dishes you will be baking this month and freezing for a later date (more on that below).
If you haven’t ordered your Christmas cards yet, now is the time to do so. The sooner you order them the less stressful your holiday season will be, even if the cards sit on your desk for a few weeks not being touched, at least they are there and ready for whenever you are.
Premake and freeze cookies. Clear room in your freezer and pack it full with Christmas baking. The beauty of cookies is they will last around 3 months in your freezer and still taste great. Make sure you pull them out early enough to allow enough time for them to thaw. If you’re unsure about making and freezing the cookies with fear that they won’t be the same, you can also just make the cookie dough and freeze it. You can freeze the whole ball of dough in one solid piece, but this will need a much longer defrosting time than the alternative, which is freezing the raw cookie dough in already-shaped cookies, for this you will want to drop the cookie dough onto a cookie sheet and put in the freezer for a few hours or overnight. Then move them to an airtight container or freezer bags. When you are ready to bake the cookies pull the already shaped raw cookie dough out of the freezer, plop onto a cookie sheet, and place in a preheated oven. When freezing the cookie dough in a large ball it will need plenty of defrosting time before you are able to shape the dough into cookies.
Bonus tip: Write the temperature and time that the cookies will need in the oven on the freezer bag or container that they are in to save you time having to rummage through your cookbook to find the recipe.
Purchase Christmas gifts. Unless you already have all your gifts purchased. (If you do, I applaud you! Those are some great organization skills you have.)
Don’t forget to purchase any secret santa gifts you need.
Bonus tip: If you’re buying gifts online be sure to purchase them with plenty of time for them to be shipped to you. Keep in mind that post offices are especially busy at this time of year and your item might take a few extra days to get to you.
Buy stamps for your holiday cards.
Address holiday card envelopes. If your holiday cards didn’t come with envelopes you will want to be sure to purchase enough envelopes. Getting them addressed and putting the stamps on now will save you time later on.
Fill out holiday cards. Starting now will allow you a few weeks to get all the cards filled out and in the mail on time. You might be someone who prefers to have lots of time and fill the cards out over a few days or weeks, or you might like to designate one afternoon to filling out all the cards.
Break out the Christmas decorations. Go searching through your boxes and find the ones with all those beautiful decorations. What better time than now to start bringing a Christmassy feel to your home. If you have an artificial tree you could even set that up and decorate it!
Bonus tip: Live Christmas trees will live nicely in your house for approximately 4 weeks, so you might want to hold off on putting up a live Christmas tree until end of November/early December.
Wrap any gifts you have already purchased.
Bonus tip: When wrapping your gifts in advance it is a good idea to label them so you remember which gifts are for whom.
Cook and freeze appetizers. To save time closer to Christmas you can cook and freeze some of your appetizers in advance. Be sure to read over the recipe beforehand to make sure it won’t spoil in the freezer.
Buy any non-perishable ingredients you will need for Christmas dinner and any baking that you need to wait until it’s closer to Christmas to get done.
Watch some good ol’ Christmas movies. Grab some friends or family, pop some popcorn, cuddle up on the couch and take an evening to enjoy the Christmas classics.
Make or buy an advent calendar. Feeling crafty? There are some great ideas for homemade advent calendars here.
Keep your eyes open for sales on stocking stuffers.
Don’t forget to stick to your budget. Remember that gift budget you made here? Don’t forget to stick to it.
Do one last top-to-bottom house scrub before Christmas. I’d do this one at the end of November, or if you want to wait a few weeks you can do it closer to Christmas, but it’s a good idea to do a roof to floor scrub of your house before all of the Christmas festivities start.
Keep working on those handmade gifts. Remember how you had this great plan to be frugal this Christmas and make some handmade gifts? It’s time to grab those projects out of the place they have been shoved to be forgotten about and start working on them again. Time’s a-ticking and Christmas is coming!
And in the midst of it all, don’t forget the reason for the season!