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4 Reasons to Start Planning Your DIY Christmas Now

Brisk mornings, fall colors, pumpkin pie and apple cider. Autumn is just the best time of year, right? And our minds are leaning toward Halloween and Thanksgiving. Consider this a strong nudge to put a DIY Christmas on your list. Start planning now and you’ll benefit in so many ways come December.

Before I find myself dealing with angry responses from readers who take offense to “Christmas creep” (a phenomenon in which retailers exploit the commercialized status of Christmas by introducing Christmas-themed merchandise earlier and earlier each year), that’s not what I’m talking about. In fact, I find that quite objectionable myself. I don’t want the Christmas season to start until we’ve cleaned up the last of the Thanksgiving turkey.


I’m talking about planning and getting organized now without the overwhelming pressure and panic I know will come once I’ve waited too long and believe my only option is to rack up a pile of debt to get through the season. I despise that feeling of being under the gun, driven by guilt and remorse to mark names off a list, compelled to buy something — anything! — to get through the holiday.

So, why get started now? To give yourself the gift of time:

1. Time to make it an all-cash Christmas

2. Time to establish or rekindle family traditions

3. Time to separate the chores from the celebrations

4. Time to embrace the idea of a DIY Christmas.

Even if you are not crafty and have no desire to be, you can get many things planned, some things done and even DIY gifts this year.


Christmas may be the most beautiful time of the year, but it’s also one of the most stressful and expensive. Expectations run high, and it’s tempting to whip out the credit cards to create the perfect Christmas for your family, with lavish meals, new decorations and the latest, greatest gadgets and fashions for everyone on your gift list. But you don’t have to overspend or go into debt to have a fabulous holiday.

Whether getting started means simply making gift lists, studying the calendar, renegotiating the ways you’ve exchanged gifts in the past or exploring new ideas for workplace celebrations — starting holiday preparations now will relieve so much stress and pressure in the days and weeks ahead. And should you want to make this a homemade Christmas, you’ll have plenty of time to not just start but actually finish those holiday gifts and crafts.


You’ll find plenty of resources on sites such as Pinterest and Etsy. Search “homemade gifts” and prepare for thousands of results. My book “The Affordable Christmas” (available in Kindle and Paperback) is filled with inspiration, specific ideas for family traditions, gifts of experience and more.

Christmas can be magical, but not when it hits us with guilt-induced stress, financial pressure and no time to counter its attack. A long lead-in to the holiday season is the way to break down the work into small, easy-to-achieve steps. Do a few chores each week, and you’ll be ready to celebrate the season more joyously — and without the stress of too much to do and too little time and money to do it.

Start planning for Christmas now. I promise it’s the way to do less and enjoy more!

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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