Welcome to Day One of Holiday Prep Week on Empty Nest Blessed! All of my posts this week will focus on helping you prepare for the holidays early and joyfully — before the craziness begins! While doing things like making travel plans and planning your gifts are on everyone’s agenda, today, I’m sharing three things you might not have thought of that you can do right now to help you prepare for the holidays. You’re gonna be so organized this year, and I’m here to help you!
1. Update & Upgrade as Needed
When our son got married, and I got a precious daughter-in-law, I realized I was in a Christmas stocking dilemma. (Cue the dramatic music!) My kids’ handmade-by-their-grandmother Christmas stockings were well-loved (read: worn), and now I needed a new one for our family’s new addition. I’d always loved the look of needlepoint stockings, so I started looking for some that were both high-quality and affordable. (It was challenging to find both, lemme tell ya’!) I finally settled on these darling stockings from Land’s End. They’re personalized free, and there are plenty of classic designs that not only let me pick the stocking that I felt suited each person in our family perfectly but that will also allow me plenty of choices in the future as our family expands.
2. Hello! Order Your Holiday Cards
Every year I order our holiday cards from Minted, and this year is no different! I love the quality of Minted’s holiday cards, and I love that they use independent artists to design everything on their site. Unless your kids live close by and you lucked into a family portrait, or you had a wedding or other big family event this year, you may have to opt for one of those collage cards like I did this year! I made sure to get approval from each kid of the pictures I used and Minted made it so easy to put it all together. I uploaded my photos to the site and played around with the sizing and location of each one on the card. When I was satisfied, I placed the order.
If you order now, you can take advantage of early ordering discounts, which will save you a bundle. Through the end of the day today, they’re offering 15% off orders of $150 or more, and 10% off orders of $100 or more. They also throw in FREE recipient addressing, if you’re interested in that! This year I decided to join their new program, Minted More, in order to save 30% off my holiday card order, 15% off year-round orders, and unlimited free shipping. It was $50 for an annual membership, but I almost made the money back in what I saved on our holiday cards! They also sent a gift box with $160 worth of curated items from their site, which was fun! (BTW, this post isn’t sponsored by Minted, I’m just sharing my experience!) In the past, I’ve also used Shutterfly for our holiday photo cards, and they usually have an excellent early-bird sale going this time of year as well.
3. Get Your Gift Wrap On
When the kids were little, I bought the cheapest, thinnest, easiest to tear gift wrap I could find! Did you do that too? Oh sure, it ripped and tore the whole time I was trying to wrap (!), but I knew the kids wouldn’t care when it came time to open their gifts! Now that the kids are gone, I’ve come to really enjoy wrapping gifts! I find it relaxing and like giving a little gift to myself! I love to put a fire in the fireplace, a Hallmark Christmas movie on TV and get my gift wrap on in a big way. I buy beautiful, quality gift wrap, and I love to color coordinate the look under our tree with matching bows and gift tags. I’ve even been known to break out the glue gun and add candy cane, a little pine cone or a sprig of holly berries!
I think the gift wrap at Joy Creative Shop is just the most beautiful, and, well, joyful, color blocked gift wrap I’ve ever seen! You’ve heard me talk about this precious Etsy shop before, and it is one of my favorite places for high-quality paper good and gifts. I even collaborated with Joy Creative Shop to create the “official” Empty Nest Blessed Coffee Talk mug and Gratitude Journal! (Um, which would also make great hostess gifts, just sayin’!) 🙂 Joy Creative Shop’s gift wrap coordinates perfectly with their Merry & Bright and Merry Little Christmas gift tags, and if you prefer stickers, they’ve got Merry & Bright and Merry Little Christmas stickers too!
I reached out to my pal Steph of Joy Creative Shop to see if she would be willing to give away some of her beautiful gift wrap and coordinating tags to one of my readers. She generously said yes, and I’m so grateful! She’s giving away two sets of gift wrap (12 sheets) and a set of 24 tags (design of the winner’s choice). To enter, simply complete the items in the widget at the bottom of this post. The more you complete, the better your chances of winning! If you’ve already completed some of the items (like if you’re already on the Empty Nest Blessed mailing list, for instance), click on it anyway to earn an entry. I’ll be announcing the winner in Wednesday’s post!
What are your best tips to reduce stress and get ahead for the holidays? Do you feel more prepared for the holidays after reading today’s post? I hope so! Be sure to come back Wednesday —not only to see if you won the giveaway, but also to check out my Holiday Shopping Tips + A Guide to Online Retailers Offering Free Shipping. (You won’t believe how many there are now!)
Photos by Megan Weaver.
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