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

4 Reasons to Start Planning Your DIY Christmas Now

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 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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9 replies
  1. Cathy down on the farm... says:

    Spot on, as always, Mary. I started in June of this year. There is almost no better feeling than not facing a pile of credit card debt at the first of the year! This year may be tricky for many with high inflation! I am going super practical. I have even already purchased my little Christmas ham and have it in the deep freeze in anticipation of prices continuing to rise as well as many of my sides dish ingredients for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Just cannot be prepared enough…

  2. Linda D Radosevich says:

    Just a head’s-up! One of the deli guys at my local grocery store said they’d gotten word that turkey was expected to be in short supply for the holiday season, so shop early and freeze it!

  3. Bonnie says:

    I found your column about a year ago and have loved it ever since. I am now making my own laundry detergent, dryer sheets and dishwasher tablets. Not to mention cleaning solutions as well. You’ve really taught me to cut down on needless expenditures. Thank you Mary. I appreciate you so much!!

  4. Diane says:

    I love your newsletter and the many creative, practical, and helpful information you always seem to provide us! Thanks and I will continue to implement as much of your advice here as I can! Blessings!

  5. Gail says:

    You are so right about saving money now to have an all cash Christmas. In fact, my mother taught me years ago how to create my own Christmas club. She was a bank teller at a local bank. She told me how the bank would have patrons deposit money in the bank throughout the year so it would be there for shopping. The banks didn’t pay interest, just held the money for customers. My mom took it one step further. She opened a savings account and would budget a 12th of what she would spend on Christmas and each month put it into the interest bearing account. I have been doing this for 40 years. Every Christmas, I enjoy shopping knowing I won’t have debt going into the New Year. I even budget for decorations, postage for Christmas letters and other extra holiday expenditures. Thanks for all you great ideas!

  6. Wanda Myers says:

    Last year was my “pandemic” Christmas. I started early in the spring and made hand stitched quilts for my two daughters. It was comforting to do while we were home more and my girls loved them.

  7. Ann says:

    I shop all year long ,coming across sales and put them in a large plastic storage bin.I place items in bags with names.This way I get to Enjoy Christmas festivities.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Great article. Thank you for keeping us on our toes as usual.I have been enjoying your writing for over 20 years now.woukdn’t miss it
    Blessings and prayers


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