Christmas in July

If you roll your eyes at obsessive, Type-A planners who love a good spreadsheet, then let me save you some time, my friend. This post is not for you! 

Christmas is basically the greatest holiday ever (fight me). (Except don’t because I’m very weak, don’t exercise and am not confrontational). And for me, the self-proclaimed Prime Minister of Christmas, my planning begins in July.

Actually, if I’m being real, my planning starts in January right after Christmas. So, if you find yourself rushing around, getting those last-minute presents and trying to decorate the house, here are a few tips from the Prime Minister herself:

Budget for Christmas

I will not go into debt for Christmas. Every year, I set a budget for each person in a spreadsheet that I buy gifts for. I always add a cushion just in case and I also budget for Christmas parties and Christmas meals. Then, I divide this total by the number of paychecks that I have until Christmas and I set automatic saving withdraws into an account that hits every payday.

As I buy things, I add them to the spreadsheet to keep track. It also helps me keep track of the gifts I buy for my kids. (I buy gifts throughout the year so I have absolutely forgotten a gift or two in the past!)

Target After Christmas Sales

My love of Christmas very much aligns with my love of Target. For the past few years, I have planned after-Christmas shopping trips to score super discounted decor to use the following year. I typically go the day after Christmas (when everything is half off) and then I go again a few days later when it’s 70% off and then again around New Year when it’s 90% off. 90 flipping percent. That’s basically free, you guys.

This system helped me land a $350 tree for $35 – among many other great finds. It’s also like a fun Christmas present to myself because I can never remember what I bought, so unboxing everything on Nov. 1 is like a mini Christmas for me.

Toy Sales in January and July

Target has some amazing toy sales that happen in January/February and July. They are either clearing out the leftovers from Christmas, or making room for upcoming Christmas — and you can score things at 70% off. Add it to the spreadsheet though – things bought in the summer can easily be forgotten!

Amazon Wishlists

I have a private Amazon wishlist for each child. As they mention things they like or want, I add it to their wishlist. That way, I can keep track of what they have been interested in over the year AND it helps me know what is a good deal or not. Amazon will tell you how much the price has dropped since it’s been added to the list, so checking periodically can help score the best deal. It also helps during Prime Day or Black Friday because you can stick to the lists and see if anything is a deal without spending money on things they don’t need or want.

While this title is a bit misleading and my Christmas prep happens year-round, it is important to note that we ARE halfway to Christmas. Planning now can save you a lot of headaches – and money – by using a few of these easy tips! And come November 1, you can catch me laying in my Christmas bed sheets, wrapped up in my Christmas comforter watching Home Alone for the 387th time.

Laurel Hess
Laurel Hess is a mother to 2 young boys, a rescue pup, an off-balance cat and likely a few foster pups. She spends her days as President of a local marketing agency, helping craft integrated digital strategies and leading a team of creative collaborators. Once at home, however, Laurel is just trying to find peace with being the World's Okayest Mom. A Dallas transplant in a Louisiana world, Laurel graduated from Loyola University New Orleans in Broadcast Production. She met her husband while she was evacuated in Lafayette during Hurricane Katrina. They lived 5 wild, kid-free years in New Orleans while Laurel served as the Sales and Marketing Manager for the Superdome, Arena and Champions Square, before finally returning to Lafayette and into the wildest phase of life yet ... Parenthood.


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