It's funny how Christmas has entered our collective cultural consciousness so early in the year, these days. While a cynical part of me cringes to hear the Christmas in July commercials, it's certainly true you can find some very good deals, and get your Christmas chores done super early.
Christmas chores to think about getting out of the way in the summertime:
- Making your gift lists
- Shopping the sales, especially those "Christmas in July" ones...be on the lookout for the true screaming deals to be had; not just the loss leaders
- Tackling the Christmas sections of Goodwill and thrift shops for wrapping paper, good scissors, tape, lights, candles, decorations, ornaments and even gifts. It's all there, and you won't be competing too much with the other shoppers for the best stuff, this early in the year
- Some thrift shops even put out tables of their Christmas stuff on sale for super-cheap prices in the summer, just to help move their huge holiday inventories along. Remember, they will be gearing up for all the holidays soon, starting with Halloween
- Keep your eyes open for the best used items, even at garage sales, for excellent, budget-minded gifts. The idea is not as radical as it sounds. Even CNN.com covered my take on the used gifts theme
- Think ahead about your holiday parties. You can find great deals at thrift shop and budget stores like Ross and the Dollar Tree for party supplies, sets of matching stemmed wine glasses, elegant cloth napkins and napkin rings, pretty holiday thrift bags, inexpensive party favors, festive cookies cutters, baking sheets and cooling racks...even find a nice party dress that you can set aside for later
- Plan your recipes. You can look through your books and files for food themes you wish to try this year, and set aside cookie recipes and dessert ideas while dreaming of that white Christmas on a long, hot afternoon...
- Make a Christmas shelf or set aside a part of a closet for your Christmas aquisitions. Top shelves are good for hiding gifts you don't want youngsters stumbling upon. Get some large baskets from Pier 1, Cost Plus or Ross, and toss your Christmas supplies, all pre-organized, into your new Holiday Strategic Planning Area