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One of the ways that I try to reduce stress is to get started, like, suuuper early on Christmas prep. Last year, immediately after Thanksgiving in October (Canada rocks y’all!) I started my online shopping and let me tell you how I was done Christmas shopping by early November. It was perfect. Then I found out that I wasn’t done, that there were half a dozen people still left to buy gifts for, and that I’d be in malls in December. Not cool.

I almost died.

There I was, the beginning of December, having to start Christmas shopping all over again! I got it done, but last year the Holidays almost broke me.

So here I am, early November and I’ve started my shopping as per usual. Hopefully I’ve got everyone on my list that needs to be there and there won’t be any surprises. That said, this is the perfect time for me to get some easy things out of the way.

Here are the Top 5 Things on my to-do list along with some tips for you on getting ready for this Holiday season EARLY.


  1. Book those Santa Photo sessions! If making the kids get photos with Santa is a thing you do, check with your local mall. Mine lets you pre-book your session as early as mid-November so that you don’t have to stand in a long, hot, sweaty line with your well-dressed, hangry kids. You get to pick your day and time and avoid the lineups. If you can’t book an appointment, make sure you go early enough in the season when there are no lineups. Pro-Tip, If you work 9-5 like I do, the golden hour is weekdays during the dinner hour from Mid-November through to about the first or second week in December. Grab the kids after work and drive them to the mall. You can be in and out in like 20 minutes. It’s amazing and no one cries!*
  2. Get those school photos ordered and ready to go. Along with the Santa photos, I put the kid’s school photos in my Christmas Cards that I send out to family every year. Yes, school photos cost a ton, but I love them so I make sure I budget for them every year.
  3. Online shopping is your friend. Figure out what everyone wants and get those online orders in! A) early orders means you won’t have to worry about late arriving packages, and 2, you can avoid shopping mall parking lots. ‘Nuff said.
  4. Christmas cards, if you’re an analogue card giver, get those bad boys in the mail within the first week or two of December. That way they’re off your plate and your friends and family will be all like “wow, (insert your name here)’s really got their crap together this year! I wish I could be like them).” They’ll be jealous and you’ll be awesome. Trust me.
  5. If you have kids, have them craft their letter to Santa early. This way you’ll 1) know what to buy them (what do 9yo boys like? I have no idea. Is there such a thing as Fortnite toys?), and b), be able to help them mail their letter to Santa and maybe even get a response! Send Santa letters to Canada Post by December 10th for a response. He’ll even respond to kids who don’t live in Canada. Santa’s elves are awesome that way!

So there you have it, my early holiday prep to-do list.

Hope this helps you if you’re into getting ready for the Holidays super-early like I am. And if you’re not, I hope this list helps you get started. I like to laugh and shake my head at my friends who tweet and Facebook about their shopping horror stories the week before Christmas. Don’t be one of the people I laugh at, m’kay?

Holiday Budget Bullet Journal Spread Collection via PreshusMe

*There may still be crying if your kid is terrified of Santa. Also in years past the peanut didn’t quite understand that Santa wasn’t going to immediately give him a gift that day, so he refused to leave Santa’s photo village and then cried all the way home when we had to take him home. Fun times, but lesson learned. I’ll be taking him to the Lego Store for a good behaviour mini-fig treat this year. There’s my #AutismMom hack for ya.

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