Planning ahead for Christmas 2013

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Bokeh Christmas Party

Christmas is long-gone, but it’s never too early to start planning for next year. When you start now, you save money. You’ll also be able to focus more on enjoying the season in 2013.

Why should you plan ahead?

Off-season sales offer discounts on everything from wrapping supplies to holiday décor. Now is the best time to stock up and save big.

Did you use all your gift wrapping supplies to decorate presents this year? You can save a lot as department stores, grocery stores and dollar stores sell surplus wrapping supplies for up to 75 percent off after the holidays. Stock up on wrapping paper, bows, ribbon, gift bags, boxes, tape and gift labels.

Now’s also the best time to buy an artificial tree. It’s a great addition to your holiday décor.

  • It’s less messy than a live tree because it doesn’t shed needles or sap.
  • It doesn’t aggravate allergies or asthma.
  • It’s affordable, particularly since you can reuse it year after year.

Maybe you’re hesitant to buy an artificial tree because you prefer the fresh smell of pine. Buy a pine-scented candle on sale, and use it to create a seasonal indoor aroma next year.

Other decorations are also on sale and assist you in decking out your house on a budget. Check out bargains on garland, wreaths and wall hangings. Replace worn holiday lights, and buy replacement bulbs and fuses so you’re prepared to trim the tree and the house.

Your holiday guests appreciate your hospitality. Make their stay more pleasant with guest room amenities. Find great deals on a seasonal comforter or lotion dispenser. Decorative hand towels and washcloths dress up the bathroom. Set the table with decorative napkins, paper plates and cups that welcome your guests.

Keep in touch with seasonal cards. Stock party invitations, Christmas cards and thank you cards while they’re marked down.

Do you like to bake sweet treats? Buy seasonally wrapped candy for up to 90 percent off. Use it to try out new treat recipes. Make notes of any adjustments you want to make then save the recipes for next year. Your early baking experiments increase your baking repertoire before the holiday rush starts next year.

In addition to sweet treats, you might want to make handmade gifts for your loved ones next year. Stock up on seasonal yarn, glitter glue and other crafting supplies. You’ll be able to knit hats, crochet tree skirts or paint photo frames for everyone on your list.

How to plan ahead

When you write a list of everything you need, you’re on your way to saving big bucks. While the sales are huge, stick to a list so you don’t overspend. Stock up on gift wrap or Christmas cards if you need them, but don’t spend money just so you can brag about your great deals.

You’ll find discounted Christmas items almost everywhere. The sales start the day after Christmas and extend until the inventory runs out. Even dollar stores offer discounts that stretch your budget.

Planning now for Christmas 2013 gives you a head start on the holiday. You’ll save money and feel more peaceful since you’re prepared. Those facts alone make the season brighter.

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