Christmas in July: Prepare Now for a More Affordable Holiday

Amy Hannold
247Moms Frugal Living Editor
Here in Washington, we’re having “September Weather”.  It might be easier for me than for somein the midst of a heat wave to begin thinking about Christmas.  No matter what the weather outside,there are things you can do this summer to ease your upcoming holiday spending.
An “Organized Christmas” Makes for a Happier Holiday:
The first place to stop when you’re thinking about Christmasin July is. http://christmas.organizedhome.com/holiday-grand-plan
Though their “Grand Plan” printable calendar does not beginuntil August 28, you can start today with your strategic buying of sale itemsnow and breaking the calendar tasks into smaller projects.  They have other planning sheets andinspiration for a less-stress holiday you can look forward to.
Check out their “Rudolph Club” also, where on the 25thof every month, they devote some time and planning to Christmas.
Back-to-School Sales Mean Great Gifts and Stocking Stuffers:
When sales are aplenty on markers, crayons, paper and thelike, buy a few extras for December. Not only will you have some great stocking stuffers, you’ll also beready if you run out of school supplies. Cute buckets filled with winter weather activities make for great gifts.
Get Your Picture Taken:
Summer is a great time to create a fun holiday photo.  Give those on your Christmas list acheery, summery photo of your family that will be a welcome site comewinter.  If you’re traveling,taking a photo of the family at a special part of your journey, as your holidayphoto.  Once you have your photo,shop for a great deal on prints or photo gifts.  Summertime can be a great opportunity to find a great photogift deals during the time of wedding and vacation season. 
Make Your Holiday Gifts Now:
When you’re in the house, hiding from the heat or waitingfor warmer weather, create some gifts. Making homemade gifts from canning, sewing, scrapbooking and otherhandmade gifts can be fun now, instead of trying to finish them amidst otherholiday activities.
Clearances – Think Christmas!
When you’re perusing the clearance aisles this summer, lookfor inexpensive items that would make great gifts.  Birdfeeders, yard décor, and other items that stores willwant to clearance this summer will brighten someone’s Christmas. 
Begin Saving For Christmas Spending:
Create a festive jar which will remind you of the holidays.  Toss your change and other extra fundsinto the jar.  Practice a littlebit of “delayed gratification” by forgoing a coffee and instead, putting thatmoney into your “Christmas Jar”.
Families:  Beginthe Holiday Conversations:
As summer comes to a close, begin talking to family andextended family about holiday plans. If your holidays include travel, start comparing prices forflights.  Talk about gift-giving options.  Be creative and consider “group gifts”or drawing names to decrease the amount of gifts you have to buy – opening theopportunity to give gifts that are more significant and focused on yourselected recipient.
Research Traditions:
Visit your local library or the internet and do someresearch on fun holiday traditions. One of my favorite books is “The Adventure of Christmas: Helping YourChildren Find Jesus in Our Holiday Traditions”, by Lisa Whelchel.  If you’re like me, implementing newtraditions takes a bit more planning than usual, so summer and early fall isthe time we need.  Select a few newrecipes or activities and add them to your planning calendar. 
Inspire the Holiday Spirit in Others:
When you are getting together with friends, share yourfavorite holiday memories.  Talkabout what traditions you look forward to.  Exchange ideas and delicious recipes.  Host a “Christmas in July” craftingtime, including Christmas cookies and music.  Your friends will thank you for helping them get ready forChristmas too!

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