For several years when my children were young, fall would roll around with all of the commotion of starting a new school year and activities. I would find myself caught off guard when Thanksgiving and Christmas “showed up” as if they were surprise house guests! I quickly realized that making my home holiday ready and on a realistic budget takes just a bit of planning.
Nothing crazy. No spreadsheets to study or Black Friday hours of shopping to be found here! But after going through the stress of last minute chaos, I found that these five tips helped me to stay on budget, and keep my stress at a manageable level (mostly anyway)!
If making your home holiday ready on a budget sounds like just what you need, then read on and let’s do this!
- Start Early and Use Your Regular Routine: Maybe I should say start earlier. There are those of us that don’t think about Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or any holiday that we’re hosting until the week before. Ask me how I know! If you don’t believe me, save your grocery shopping until a few days before the holiday. If you can muscle in there with all of the other procrastinators, with carts full of groceries, more power to you. No judgement! I’ve done it too. I get it that sometimes life is just too busy to get it done early. However, I would guess that you’ll be grocery shopping several times between now and “the last minute.” Why not grab a couple of boxes of crackers, or a frozen Turkey to include with your regular haul? If you watch for sale items, this could be a very budget friendly tactic. Then when the week before shows up (and it will, really) you’ll have plenty of ingredients tucked away in your pantry and freezer. At that point you can just skip through the store for your fresh produce. That’s what I do. I skip through the store, and I also ride the shopping carts in the parking lot, so watch out. Even better, order your groceries online and have them delivered or do a pick- up. No lines to stand in at all!
- Declutter busy locations: I know this one might seem overwhelming or irrelevant. But stick with me a minute and let me make my case! Decluttering areas such as your kitchen counters, dining table, buffet, and bathrooms/bedrooms that guests will be using, is going to ease your stress level by a million times. I’m talking simple solutions such as baskets to put the paper clutter in, getting rid of things you aren’t using, and having more of a clean slate. For example, think about your cleared off dining table. It will be so easy to set a pretty table for dinner or to have an impromptu board game night! If you’re kitchen counters are cleared off, of course there will be more room for food prep. Maybe you’ll actually be excited to put your Grandma’s vintage Christmas cookie jar out! I spent a couple of years very frustrated when it came to Holiday decorating. It just seemed like a chore and I didn’t enjoy it. I realized that part of the issue was that the house was already feeling overstuffed and unorganized. Spending a little time decluttering before the holidays are in full swing, is time well spent, in my opinion. Plus, it doesn’t cost a thing. If you need ideas on how to declutter and organize, then head over to How to Declutter When You Don’t Know Where to Start and Farmhouse Style Organizing for some inspiration.
- Set up a coffee bar/drink station: The last couple of years I’ve set up a “serve yourself” drink and coffee area. It’s been so good! Set it up away from your main cooking area. It can even be in your dining room or a corner of the living room. This way, guests can refill their drinks while you’re busy with other things. Everybody stays happy!
4. Free Decor: If budget is stressing you out, then consider thrifted and free decor. Lowe’s and Home Depot usually have free greenery branches that have been trimmed from their live pines. Often friends or family grow tired of their same holiday decor and will pass it on to you. I know I’ve done this, so be sure to ask! Nature freebies such as pinecones, branches, or acorns look like high end decor when spray painted in a metallic, or white finish. Stick them in the top of your tree and combine with baskets of fresh greenery. What’s more beautiful than nature itself?
5. Keep It Simple Sweetheart: The KISS method. If you’ve read much of my blog, I might sound like a broken record in this area. However, it’s taken me years to finally take this seriously! It has brought me so much joy and reduced stress! That’s why I’m passionate about sharing tips to help others KISS! Effective marketing has led a lot of us to believe that our house has to look like Santa’s North Pole or Martha Stewart’s Estate during the holidays. But keep in mind that Kris Kringle and Martha both have a staff of employees! So unless you want to spend your vacation days being a housekeeper, busboy, waiter, chef, and hotel manager, then it’s best to keep it simple! Plan a couple of outings to see Holiday decor. We have an amusement park less than two hours away that we take the grandkids to every Christmas. There are lights, animations, and huge gingerbread cookies. Everyone gets to be a kid and enjoy it. I don’t have to stinkin’ pack it all up into bins in my attic in a few weeks. “Honey, buy those tickets!” When our kids were little we would make hot chocolate and drive around to admire all of the Christmas lights. Then come home and watch a Christmas movie. FREE! Most everyone is happy if they have some time together, tasty food, and a clean towel! Sure I love home decor and a pretty house as much as anyone out there! I write an entire blog about it. But I’m officially giving you permission to take a little pressure off of yourself this season! Do as much or as little as you want to make yourself happy. Just a few touches are all that’s needed to make a home feel festive. But if you love going all out, just allow yourself enough time to enjoy it! Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and your holiday decor doesn’t have to be perfect that quickly either!
So just to review:
- Start early and use your regular routine (to your advantage).
- Declutter busy locations.
- Set up a drink station.
- Use free decor.
- Keep it simple and enjoy.
Hopefully, with these 5 tips for making your home holiday ready on a budget, this will be the most enjoyable season ever!
If you’re ready to start checking out house tours, I’ve shared my Simple Fall living room and dining room in the video below.
Maybe you’re ready for a Christmas Home Tour? My Farmhouse style Christmas home tour 2018 can be found here.
That’s it until next time. Be sure to check back here and on YouTube for lots more DIY, Home Decor, and Simplified Entertaining through the holidays.
Thanks for reading. I appreciate you, really, really a lot!