Brisk mornings, fall colors, pumpkin pie, and apple cider. Autumn is just the best time of year, right? And our minds are leaning toward Halloween and Thanksgiving. Consider this a strong nudge to put a DIY Christmas high on the list. Start planning now, and you’ll benefit in so many ways come December.

Hand holding money for buying Christmas gifts. Empty gift list on decorated office table. Top view of Christmas composition .

Before I find myself dealing with angry responses from readers who find “Christmas creep” to be offensive (a merchandising phenomenon in which merchants and retailers exploit the commercialized status of Christmas by introducing Christmas-themed merchandise or decorations earlier and earlier each year), that’s not what I’m talking about. In fact, I find that quite objectionable myself. I don’t want the Christmas season to start until we’ve cleaned up the last of the Thanksgiving turkey.

Plan and organize

I’m talking about planning and getting organized now without the overwhelming pressure and panic I know will come once I’ve waited too long and believe my only option is to rack up a pile of debt to get through the season. I despise that feeling of being under the gun, driven by guilt and remorse to mark names off a list, compelled to buy something—anything!—to get through the holiday.

So, why get started now?

To give yourself the gift of time:

  1. Time to make it an all-cash Christmas
  2. Time to establish or rekindle family traditions
  3. Time to separate the chores from the celebrations
  4. Time to embrace the idea of a DIY Christmas.

Even if you are not crafty or have no desire to be, there are many ways you get things planned, some things done, and even DIY gifts this year.

DIY Christmas

If getting started means simply making gift lists, studying the calendar, renegotiating the ways you’ve exchanged gifts in the past, or exploring new ideas for workplace celebrations—starting holiday preparations now will relieve so much stress and pressure in the days and weeks ahead. And should you want to make this a homemade Christmas, you’ll have plenty of time to start (and finish!) those holiday gifts and crafts.

Endless ideas instructions

You’ll find endless ideas on sites like Pinterest, and Etsy. Search “homemade gifts,” and prepare for thousands of responses. My book, The Affordable Christmas, (Kindle and Paperback) is filled with inspiration, specific ideas for family traditions, gifts of experience, and more. While the titles are slightly different from kindle to paperback, they are the same book.

Christmas may be the most beautiful time of the year, but it’s also one of the most stressful and expensive. Expectations run high, and it’s tempting to whip out the credit cards to create the perfect Christmas for your family, with lavish meals, new decorations, and the latest, greatest gadgets and fashions for everyone on your Christmas gift list. But you don’t have to overspend or go into debt to have a fabulous holiday.

Christmas for many is a beautiful time of the year but not when it hits us with guilt-induced stress, financial pressure, and no time to counter its attack.

A long lead-in to the holiday season is the way to break down the work into small, easy-to-achieve steps. Do a few chores each week, and you’ll be ready to celebrate the season more joyously—and without the stress of too much to do and too little time and money to do it.

Start planning for Christmas now. I promise it’s the way to do less and enjoy more!

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