Christmas is almost upon us and there are a whole lot of things to plan for; kids, neighbours, cousins, friends, acquaintances to ‘shove’ in your budget because they will indeed make their trip to your house, invited or no. Is your house a ‘ready-made home’ for them?

Christmas is time to have a lot of fun, and you can only have so much fun if you plan for it, else you end up making a bad job of Christmas for people yourself and people around you.

So here’s 6 ways you can make Christmas in 2016 a pleasurable experience.

  1. Start on a Plan Now!

You can’t get your foot out the door without planning. Whether you plan on making a trip home or experiencing Christmas in the city, you need to write down all procedures. If you have kids, that’s even extra planning. They need to be fed, sheltered and catered for.

Moreover, set realistic expectations about what you should do, it goes a long way to helping you achieve them. Plan small too. It helps you stay within your budget and keeps you ready for any contingencies that may arise.

  1. Make out a Budget

It’s great that you have your plan all laid out, but you can’t carry out a plan without a budget. It doesn’t have to be a fat budget, but it should be enough to cover certain needs, like your immediate family’s presents; friends too who are likely to come around, presents for co-workers who will stop by. Write your budget and discuss with family, that way you know what and what not to indulge in during fun time, to save you from overspending.

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Items like food costs if you will be inviting friends; gifts, if you have children or friend’s children and accommodation expenses if you will be spending Christmas outside of home.

  1. Consider A Contingency Plan

Contingency plans are “plan B’s” that become operational if needed, especially in case of emergencies. And be sure that Christmas is full of uncertainties; not so much in a negative way, but a lot of extra things keep cropping up that is necessary to put in place. For instance, a long-time friend could creep up on you at any time and drag you for shopping or make an unexpected trip half way around the world! Yes! some of us have such friends. Having a contingency plan, will definitely help you enjoy Christmas without missing out on anything.

  1. Plan Your Spending

You have a plan and budget in place, abide by it. You have considered your contingency plan, awesome!  It’s time to plan the way you spend. You wouldn’t want to crunch on your Christmas decorations, food preparations, gift items or shopping; then again, you also wouldn’t want to clear out your bank account because it’s Christmas, so, it’s important you plan on what to spend and what to avoid spending; and probably have some cash to take into the New Year.

  1. Start Shopping Now!

You don’t have to wait till its 2 days to Christmas before you start thinking of what to buy, how much you have and what you need to spend on. Christmas can be a lot of fun, only if you make it so. It can also be not so much fun too if you don’t act smartly and quickly.

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Price of goods increases every day and towards Christmas, it’s almost double the price, so spread out your shopping and start now. Begin with non-perishable items like gifts and drinks, and work your way up.  Tick off items from your list by buying items little by little, until you have ticked off everything from your list.

  1. Make Extra Cash

Some months to Christmas is the perfect time to make extra cash if you want to make the most of Christmas. For sure, we are already closing in on Christmas, but there is still time to make the most of it. Making extra cash doesn’t necessarily have to be working 2 jobs; extra shifts, extra babysitting (if you are a stay-at-home- mum), there are a lot of things that you can do, for example there are online jobs that won’t require a lot of effort, yet will fetch you some good dough.

Christmas comes once a year, so it’s an awesome time to celebrate with and enjoy family, friends and loved ones. It is also very crucial to plan for the event if you want to avoid “going bankrupt” when another year comes calling. Most importantly, planning helps you keep record of what you need and what you do not for future references. Your experiences of this year will be a guide to planning for next year so you can pick the difference between what you need and what you want when Christmas comes knocking again.

Anita Chukwudum

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