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Overwhelmed by Christmas? How to Buy Your Gifts, Send Your Cards, and Put up the Tree in Just 7 Days – Home Ever After

‘Tis the season to be stressed, overwhelmed, and basically feeling like your best efforts are just not good enough. Right? Well, no more!
Christmas is supposed to be a season of festive merriment, enjoying time with family, and relaxing as the year winds down to a close.
I’m not immune from the holiday stress, but I have picked up some “survival techniques” over the years! And now, with 6 kids (2 of which are twin infants), time is at an absolute premium. So I’m here to share with you my best methods for getting the holiday musts done in just one week so you can have the rest of the month to relax!

Christmas Presents

The fastest way and the best way to buy Christmas presents are not necessarily the same! I have a double-pronged approach to buying Christmas gifts, which involves to key components:
hidden bins and Black Friday.

More Christmas: If you’re Christmas shopping for relatives too, get our free printable Christmas Shopping List planner.

Hidden Bins

I use the slow and steady approach all year long for presents. At garage sales, consignment sales, gift shops, and just during plain old regular store shopping, I look for items which would make good holiday gifts. But I look all year long.
I buy them and stash them! I have a bin for each family member hidden in the garage with secret code labels (so no one will know what they are or bother to look inside).
Truth be told, when it comes to November I have almost enough in the bins to pull off a full holiday gift spread. This takes the pressure off so that I can put on the finishing touches on Black Friday weekend.

Black Friday (1 Day)

Gone are the days of crowded stores and mayhem for Black Friday! Luckily, most stores offer their best deals (except for the doorbusters) online as well as in the store. You can easily round out your present stash (or do complete gift shopping if you weren’t secret shopping all year long) on Black Friday weekend.
I used to hit 3-5 stores, but now I stick to just 1 or 2 on Friday. I also used to go out shopping on Thursday night after turkey, but no more! I’ve found I’m just too tired after a huge feast to hustle through the aisles!
So I do the online portion of my shopping that night after the kids are in bed. If the price is available in store and online, grab it online now so you don’t have to stress about finding it in the store tomorrow. Less to pile in the cart, less bags to lug to the car.
Then, I get up the next morning, leave the kids with dad, grab a coffee, and knock out my holiday shopping in 1 day. Hit all the major categories: big gifts, small gifts, stocking stuffers, and Santa presents.
Don’t price check unless it’s for high ticket items. The time it eats up will keep you from doing all your shopping in a few stops and just 1 day.
Plus, most stores have already comparison shopped each other for Black Friday and the prices are competitive, if not identical.
And before you leave the store, stop by the wrapping section and pick up reusable holiday drawstring bags. This is essential for the next step!

Wrapping All the Presents (1 Day)

If your store or mall offers gift wrapping by cute little kids at a wrapping table for donations, do it. They can wrap while you do the rest of your shopping and it usually is a fundraiser for kids’ school groups.
Otherwise, you’ll need the drawstring bags and stick on labels. These labels absolutely save my sanity. Plus, they’re much more environmentally friendly than wrapping paper.
Throw in a toy, pull the strings, write a sticker, stick it on. Under the tree it goes. Next! My husband and I bust out the gift wrapping in one night.

Putting Up the Christmas Tree (1 Day)

If speed is the name of your game, artificial trees are the way to go. The reason for this is that you want the ease of a tree pre-wrapped with Christmas lights.
Most artificial trees will last 3-5 years, so pick one that you like and won’t mind decorating for the next few seasons.
We divide and conquer when it comes to erecting and trimming the tree. Dad unboxes and assembles it. I put on the fabric ribbons. Then the whole family puts on the ornaments together.
Then we plug in the lights and AHHHHHHHHH! Glorious!
These days, the big kids do a lot of the ornament hanging and mom and dad do a lot of the helping and supervising (and baby and toddler wrangling).
But it works. We have Christmas music playing and it’s a festive time singing carols and spending time together.

Wait – We’re Done Already?

And you’re done! I know, I know, it was supposed to be a 7 day plan. It still can be. You see, each of these 3 monumental tasks – shopping, wrapping, and trimming – really can be done in just 1 day each.
But you don’t have to do them in a row. You can space it out. Take a break after Black Friday (you’ll need it) and have a wrapping party a few days later. Save the tree for next Saturday when everyone is home.
See? A week and all of your holiday essentials are done!
Do you want more helpful Christmas tips? Let me know in the comments below what your biggest holiday problem areas are. Do you have great Christmas hacks to share with us? I’d love to hear them!

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