Monday, November 15, 2021

List: Ten things to do for the holidays while it's still Fall.

 One of my biggest faults, is that I always need to be overly prepared.  I'm that person that spends more time making lists than actually performing the necessary tasks.  Shocking, I know.

While this trait normally works against me, it's a characteristic that everyone envies around the holidays!  While the rest of the world is running around like a lunatic trying to get everything ready for the big day, I'm sitting down watching cheesy Christmas movies and sipping a glass of wine.  More importantly, I'm enjoying all the fun holiday activities with my babies instead of spending the whole season preparing for just one day.

Don't be jelly.  I'm about to let you in on my secrets!

things to do for christmas in the fall and autumn season

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Ten things to do for the holidays in the Fall.

1.  Be prepared with all your Holiday gift wrap.
I'm going to let you all in on a R&W holiday secret.  I buy ALL of my Christmas wrapping supplies way in advance.  Once January hits, I'm browsing the clearance aisle for rolls of wrapping paper at a real discounted price.  By the time Fall comes, my wrapping organizer is fully prepped with seasonal wrapping paper, tape, tissue paper, clothes boxes, wine bags, labels, and blank holiday cards.

Idea:  Invest in one of these organizers (link) to make this tip literally the easiest thing ever!  It's a great tool to save stuff from prior years without having to go crazy looking for them later.  It saves me time, money, and some serious stress every single year.

2.  Set a firm budget for all things "holiday".
It's true that gift lists could be pricey, but that's probably not where the bulk of your cash is going.  Think about all the other things you're opening your wallet for that have to do with the holidays.  There's the holiday cards, the Christmas tree, the wrapping paper, the donations, the holiday outfits, the local festivals, the food, and the fun, festive holiday events.  Calculate your budget in the early Fall so that you can get started on #3 as soon as possible.

3.  Put together a calendar for the holiday season.
Ok, so you don't need to get a whole new calendar, but you know what I mean!  Make a bucket list for the holiday season and then compare it to your budget.  Once you're done, begin to put a plan together to make sure you get it all in.  If you want company for some of those holiday events, make sure to invite them now.  Holiday calendars fill real quick, so there is no time to wait!

Idea:  Schedule some down time.  If I don't pencil in some R&R, it never happens.  Be proactive and make sure it's on the calendar, preferably in between sipping a peppermint mocha and browsing festive window displays!

4.  Cook a gigantic pot of sauce.
The holiday season is for slowing down and enjoying the magic.  It's not for slaving over the stove making homemade meals or for eating unhealthy take out every night.  Instead, compromise and fill up that freezer in the Fall!  Make giant pots of soups (like this one - link), sauces, and stews.  Portion them out and then freeze them for easy peasy meals later on.

5.  Do all of your holiday shopping.
Between playing Santa Claus for two kids and having the biggest family EVER, holiday shopping is an all year affair.  Totally not kidding.  Spreading out your holiday shopping before the actual holiday will save you tons of money, time, and STRESS.  For those of you with a small gift list, you should still knock it out before the end of the Fall so that you can focus on festivities instead of things.

6.  Donate lightly used things you don't need.
Every Fall, I ask the kids to go to their room and pick out toys that are in good condition to donate to charity.  Additionally, I'll pull out their holiday clothes from the year prior.  These outfits are typically in mint condition since they're only used for a few hours.  We bundle up all of these items and head on down to the church to donate them for those in need.  While we're there, we act on #7.

7.  Adopt a family for the holidays.
When making our donation to the church, I let the kids pick two "ornaments" from the giving tree.  Each ornament contains an anonymous child and lists what they need.  We make sure to get that child what they need plus the kids pick out something age appropriate and fun.

Idea:  Many times there will be an opportunity to donate food items for a holiday meal as well.  I get  upset whenever the basket is full of cereal, canned soups, and PB&J.  I totally understand that these are practical and inexpensive items to donate, but it's Christmas!  We like to donate cans of olive oil, seasonings, and lentil pastas.  I read an article years ago that these items are greatly appreciated since they're typically overlooked.

8.  Prep the video camera.
On Christmas Eve, we set the video camera up on its stand so that it's all set to capture my babies on Christmas morning.  I'll never forget the year that our video was cut short because of a full memory card!  Every Fall, typically on Black Friday, I make sure that the video camera is all set.  We check the memory and battery life.  It's something so simple yet so important!

9.  Complete your annual photobook (link).
My husband's favorite gift to open on Christmas morning is the photobook that I make him every year.  As much as he loves it, he always asks why I make the book run from December 1st to November 30th instead of the actual calendar year.  Well, it's a simple reason.  I do it because I want to enjoy the holiday season and not worry about creating this massive photo album!  If you're looking for the same sense of relief, order your photobook before the end of the Fall.

Idea:  If you love this gift idea as much as me, click here for the post on how to make an annual photobook.

10.  Order personalized holiday cards (link).
When I order the kiddies their back to school clothes, I always add their Christmas outfits to the cart.  If I didn't have OCD, I totally would have made that #11.  Then we use those outfits to do a Christmas photoshoot and order our personalized holiday cards the second weekend of November.  This may sound early, but it can take up to 15 days to get your cards and then you have to prep them for the mail.  Trust me when I say, it feels good to check this item off the holiday to do list while it's still Fall.

How do you plan for the holidays?


  1. A great list to be prepared! I believe I have enough gift wrap and bags to last for the rest of our lives and I load up on clearance cards every year. We gave up the family photo card the year after our oldest was married, but I’m thinking of making some sort of framed collage from all the years past……25 of them!

    1. That's such a great idea! Do you have a fireplace mantle? I'd make that my holiday centerpiece every year. Do you still send out note cards?

    2. We have a granite fireplace with no mantle, so can’t decorate it. I do send Xmas cards, but mostly to my husband’s business associates and a few old friends I never see anymore due to distance.

  2. I don't celebrate holidays as I don't have a family so I don't have to plan anything LOL but I do finish shopping festive sweets in November already, I don't wait for last minute for anything in my life and I stash everything as you never know when the zombies are coming.

    1. Always be prepared for the zombies. That's how I justified getting LASIK. Zombies aren't going to wait for me to grab my glasses!

    2. I still wear glasses and I'm blind without them. There is a guy in LA BREA series who ends up down in prehistoric times but loses his glasses LOL Nightmare!!!

  3. I can't wrap to save my life

    Thank you dollar tree gift bags

  4. Good for you for taking time to enjoy.


  5. I've always had my girls pick another girl their own age from the Angel Tree to buy for each year. It was a way for them to learn not only how to give back, but to understand that there are girls just like them out there that aren't as fortunate as they are.

    I buy everything on clearance in January too. I probably have enough wrapping and tissue paper to last a lifetime, just like Bijoux, but I can't help myself from buying more when it's dirt cheap after the holidays.


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