After Christmas was over last year, did you promise that next year you would find a way to make the holidays simpler? If so, do you remember of did you forget about it soon after the words left your lips? I believe that many people truly intend to simplify their holidays each year, but because they wait until the last minute to take action, they inevitably fall into the same old habits.

If you dream each year of holidays that you can actually relax and enjoy, make your dream a reality this year by taking action. Consider these positive steps you can take in October and November to set the stage for a less hectic, more enjoyable celebration in December.

  • Shop before the Christmas rush, all the things you can do to make Christmas easier for yourself, this is probably the biggest. Don’t wait until the stores are crowded with thousands of holiday shoppers.
  • Complete Christmas crafts. If your plan for Christmas gifting includes giving handmade gifts, plan to have them finished by Thanksgiving. Work at it in the evenings and each weekend until you’re done.
  • Take care of time-consuming tasks. Writing Christmas cards, wrapping gifts, boxing up presents to mail why wait until December to attend to these time-consuming details?
  • Fill your freezer. Each time you cook, double, or even quadruple the recipe and freeze the extra portions. During the hectic weeks before Christmas, having heat-and-eat meals in the freezer will be a lifesaver.

If your life constantly runs at high speed, you may feel overwhelmed when you read this list of ways to proactively simplify Christmas. Maybe you barely have time to complete the things you have to do each day, much less perform tasks for a holiday months away. Many of the tasks above can be done while you’re doing something you would normally do anyway.