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 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 the darling needlepoint stockings in this photo from Land’s End. That was several years ago, and these have up in price, although they’re on sale right now for a steal at $20.97 with free shipping (use code EERIE). They are high-quality and velvet backed, which I love, and the monogram is free. Click through on the image below to see all of the options!
I did want to offer you another option or two! I had to really search to find the same high-quality and affordable prices for you! After looking around a lot (and even ordering and returning a few to check the quality), I’ve linked these from L.L.Bean. They’re only $29.95, and you can personalize them with up to ten letters ($8 or free if you have an L.L.Bean Mastercard). Unlike the Land’s End stockings, these are cotton backed. There are seven classic designs so you can pick the stocking that you feel suits each person in your family perfectly.
If you don’t mind paying a little bit more, these from Overstock.com are also nice (but you’d have to either personalize them yourself or have someone do it for you. (And I absolutely adore this dog stocking I found at Orvis! (Personalize for $8.)
2. Hello! Order Your Holiday Cards
Every year I do my best to order our holiday cards early, and this year is no different! This year, I ordered our cards from Minted. Yep, this is our actual card for 2019! 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 another big family event this year, you may have to opt for one of those collage cards like I did this year! I asked each of my kids to send me the picture they wanted me to use, and Minted made it easy to put it all together. I uploaded my photos onto 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. They provide you with a template, and you enter your addresses into it and upload it to their site!
I think so much of Minted, that last 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 get unlimited free shipping. It was $38 for an annual membership, but I saved double that in the money I saved on our holiday cards with my 30% off! 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 most cases, if you order now, you can take advantage of early ordering discounts, which will save you a bundle. Below is a list of the sites I suggest. I’ve used all of them for holiday cards at one time or another, except Vistaprint (but I used them recently for my new business cards and had a good experience.)
SNAPFISH | Save 60% on all orders with ON6019. Get 20 4×6 Prints or 4×5.3 Prints FREE + FREE shipping with 20PRTOCT. Also, 75% off holiday cards + free shipping with code ONCARD75; 99 4×6 prints for 1 cent each with code 990NPNY. See all their current deals HERE.
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 creative! 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 canes, pine cones, or a sprig of holly berries from our tree out front!
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 goods and gifts. Joy Creative Shop’s gift wrap coordinates perfectly with their gift tags, and if you prefer stickers, they’ve got those too!
I reached out to my pal Steph of Joy Creative Shop to see if she would be willing to offer a discount exclusively for Empty Nest Blessed readers. She generously said yes, and I’m so grateful! Starting today, through Sunday, November 10, she’s offering 15% off your entire purchase on the Joy Creative Shop site with the code emptynest15!
In addition to gift wrap, tags, and stickers, Joy Creative Shop is an awesome spot for gifts! In fact, several items from her shop made the Empty Nest Blessed gift guide. (For a sneak peek, use the arrows on the side of the images and scroll through the items below. Click on any of them for more information.)
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 to check out my Six Holiday Shopping Tips For Empty Nesters. Then on Friday, November 1, my newsletter subscribers will receive a secret password to allow them exclusive access to the Empty Nest Blessed Holiday Gift Guide for three days before I release it to the public on Monday, November 4! If you haven’t joined my email list yet, you can do that HERE. (I don’t want you to miss a thing! 😊)
Photos by Megan Weaver.
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