This serene scene is what I imagine when I think of the holidays… but more and more often, I am caught at the last minute with all my good intentions gone by the wayside, and yet another holiday season weighing me down as I scramble to keep up.
Like a fast-moving train, once you see the Halloween decorations in the stores (like now!), the holiday season charges forward, and we’re always running to catch it.
This year, I’m going back to my roots as a mom of six – overwhelmed every single day, and convinced the entire world would fall apart if Christmas wasn’t perfect. And it always was. Because I planned, planned, planned – and finally mastered – the art of being ready for anything.
These days, with just one nine-year-old boy to focus on, I’ve become a holiday slacker. Christmas and Thanksgiving – even Halloween – have had a way of sneaking up on me over the last few years, and it’s time to fight back.
If you’re feeling the same way, maybe my notes from the early days will help you. If not, use the contact form below for a personal consultation and complete holiday planning and decor by NolaBubble.
Things you can do NOW that will help you enjoy the holidays and get all the work done early:
- TODAY, get online or go to Costco and get the kids’ costumes. Halloween, in my opinion, is the VERY BEST holiday in New Orleans. So much fun for all ages, and the kids will not mind talking about and planning their costumes a month early. Plus, Costco sells out before mid-October, and you’ll find there are many more sizes and options available online if you do it early. There’s also a Spirit of Halloween store open at Elmwood already. Just bite the bullet and check this one off your list. You’re going to have school party stuff at the last minute, neighborhood plans, and plenty of other things to do as Halloween gets closer.
- Decorating for Halloween? Why not get the decorations out of the attic or garage this weekend – Sunday morning before the game is a good time. Throw out things you know you’re done with, save the good stuff, and add to it this week as you run errands. Go online and pull coupons for Michael’s, World Market and other places you like – you don’t have to wait for the sales. They’re already discounting like crazy, and with the online coupons, you can get those prices, plus great selection. This also makes it easier to set a budget – and stick to it!
- Double Dip. As you prepare for Halloween, you may as well think about Thanksgiving. After all, the stores are going to push us ahead to November even before Halloween, so, why not pick up those beautiful autumn wreaths, pumpkin and fall flower decorations, and even house and garden plants in fall colors. You can “overdo” Halloween with the fall decor a bit, then you’re ready to use it all for Thanksgiving – just put the Zombies back in the attic! Decorating doesn’t have to be hell-day all at once. You can “putter” at it a bit when you get a minute… just letting things evolve when you’re in the mood.
- Start a Tradition. If you don’t already have one, you have plenty of time right now to come up with something cool for your kids to do this year, and every year, as your own Halloween tradition. Maybe a haunted house in the foyer that they can enjoy creating over the coming weeks, some homemade treats might be fun to pass out, and if you think about it now, you can buy the ingredients and supplies and do the baking on a whim any time before the big day – you’ll already have all the things you need at home. (We make Oreo zombies for Bryce’s class – super easy, just make Xs with white frosting for the eyes and a jagged mouth – super cute, super easy). We also take a different route home from school every day during October, checking out the coolest decorations and getting pictures of the really funny stuff. And there’s tons of it. All over town.
- Buy the candy. Buy it now at Costco or Sams. You can buy huge bags, which can be split between home (for passing out) and school (for the inevitable class party e-mail you will get the day before the class party). Plus… you can stash some to eat at your desk while refusing to let the kids touch any until Halloween. That’s your right as a parent.
- Thanksgiving Menu. Why not? Everything is so much easier with a list. Get a holiday notebook. Put it beside your TV chair. During commercials or breaks in the game… jot down all the things you always have for Thanksgiving. If you see a recipe you want to add to it, clip it to it. Text your grandmother for her recipe for pumpkin bread… make a list of who is coming. Write down all the little things you may forget – like a decent table cloth in fall colors. Just get started now, then you can organize it the first week of November. You’re so all over it!
- Long Distance Christmas… I know it’s WAY too early for Christmas, but there are a few things you can knock out right now, leaving you more time during the holiday season to, you know, enjoy the holidays! So, for now, just buy or design your Christmas cards and get your list up to date. If possible, you can go ahead and address the envelopes, so you’re ready to mail December 1. You don’t even have to make a big deal of this. Bring them to work and do a few at a time when things are quiet, or, do it while you’re watching TV with the kids – during something you hate to watch, maybe… Another thing you can do now is order any long-distance gifts and schedule shipping dates. I like to order Bryce’s grandmothers and aunts photo items and calendars with our family photos. It always takes a while to work with that software online, so by doing it early, that’s one less aggravation I have in December. Baby steps, and a few more things are done that I usually stress about at the last minute.
- Make and Freeze. What I ALWAYS forget when planning big holiday meals is that people actually want to eat other meals while I’m trying to get everything ready. Breakfast on Thanksgiving and Christmas morning absolutely blow up my plan in the kitchen. So… this year I’ll be making and freezing my sister-in-law’s breakfast casserole. It’s brilliant. Has all the breakfast foods in it, and you just throw it in the oven and bake. It looks like you put some effort into it, and it’s filling, which keeps everyone full until time to eat the big meal of the day. This also works with pancakes, waffles, french toast, etc. And this can also be done during this “slower” time of fall.
- HAVE FUN. By starting early in the fall, the holidays can actually be fun for parents, too! Instead of having a running “to-do” list buzzing in my head, I can begin to see the holidays through a child’s eyes again, soak up the chaos of Halloween, make some fun Zombies for our garden, plan a fun night of trick-or-treating, and know that everything else will be done on time, because I’m all over it this year!
Let’s not let the world of commercial holidays take away our joy during this season. Kids are only young once. Moms and Dads only get to “do holidays” with the kids when they’re young… and life is just better when we don’t have to rush.
NEED A LITTLE HELP?
NolaBubble can help you get organized for the holidays, using your own plans, traditions, recipes and decor – or helping you start some new traditions with updates to your Thanksgiving table and menu, and your Christmas season. If you could use a little help, send us a note in the contact form below for a custom consultation to help you get ready: