We all know that this year has been a bit crazy and hectic. The holiday season will be no different. That doesn’t mean you should panic. Use these tips to prepare for the 2020 holiday season so you won’t lose your mind and may even save some money.
The pandemic has put a strain on a lot of people’s finances and sanity. I love the holiday season and want to be able to enjoy them with my friends and family as much as possible. Getting ready early is key to enjoying a stress free holiday but this year it is even more important to plan ahead.
Your budget may be tighter and items may be harder to find this year compared to others due to the impact the pandemic had on the supply chain. Companies are still trying to catch up.
I put together some ideas to help you prepare for the 2020 holiday season so you can start making lists and getting everything you need even if you are on a budget.
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Ideas to Prepare for the 2020 Holiday Season
Consider Risk Factors
Since we are in the middle of a pandemic, you need to be realistic about the size of family gatherings. You will probably want to have smaller gatherings with immediate family members instead of the bigger Thanksgiving and Christmas parties.
We will have a brand new baby in October so we will most likely be staying home and having smaller Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations this year. Normally, we would go over to my grandparent’s house and have a huge meal with over 30-40 people. Instead, we will probably have a Zoom call with extended family and take lots of pictures and videos to share later.
If you are considered high risk, smaller gatherings will probably be the way to go.
This is key for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many items are already out of stock and the closer we get to the holidays, the harder things are going to be to find.
Start getting things that are on your must have list before they sell out. This even goes for groceries. Baking items may sell out quicker this year so the next time you are at the store, grab an extra bag of sugar or flour just to have on hand in the pantry when you see them go on sale.
Prepare for Thanksgiving 2020
Order Catering Early
If you are planning to order a turkey, premade pies and sides, etc. make sure to place your order early. I know a lot of people get fried turkeys from restaurants or order from grocery stores. You want to make sure that they will have enough inventory to complete your order. I would place my order in early November.
Like I said before, things are going to be harder to find this year. This includes Thanksgiving staples. Start making a menu and buy most of what you will need by early November.
In a normal year staple foods like meats, stuffing mixes, gravy, pre-made pies, and pie crusts are typically the first items to go the weekend before and the week of Thanksgiving. So you need to shop much earlier this year.
Don’t Forget High Risk Family Members
Even though we may not be able to be face to face with certain family members this year, especially the elderly, doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the holiday with them. If you live within driving distance, make them a plate of food and drop it off on their front porch. You can then have a Zoom call set up so that everyone can eat together.
If you are able to eat outside, you may want to do that if you are having people outside of your household come over. If you are lucky enough to have beautiful weather on Thanksgiving, this is a great option to enjoy company in a safe way.
Take Some Stress off Yourself
Don’t be the only one cooking. If you are inviting people over, have it be a potluck where everyone brings a dish. This not only saves you time in the kitchen but money as well. Use these slow cooker Thanksgiving side dish recipes to help cut down on the stress even more.
Prepare for Black Friday 2020
Check Store Hours and Pick Up Options
Black Friday is going to be very different this year. Most major retailers are going to be closed on Thanksgiving and will be starting sales a lot earlier so there isn’t a mad rush in the stores on Black Friday.
Go ahead and check your store hours to see when they will be open. Most of the Black Friday ads will start becoming available online in early November, if not before then. You can expect to see a lot of deals online compared to doorbusters in store.
If you want to shop Black Friday deals, you may be able to get them all online and then pick them up in store or do free curbside pick up to keep out of a crowded store.
Start Looking for Deals in Mid October
Like I said, stores are going to start having deals much earlier this year compared to previous years. Amazon has announced that Prime Day will be October 13-14th so we can bet on other stores to start competing with deals around this time.
Veteran’s Day is another great time to score some deals. I was actually able to get better deals on Veteran’s Day last year compared to Black Friday on certain items! Make sure to compare Veteran’s Day ads with the Black Friday ads to see when you can get the better deal.
Keep in mind that you will also have more inventory to choose from on Veteran’s Day as well.
Sign up for Cash Back Sites Now
A lot of people will be doing most of their shopping online this year. A great way to save even more on your purchases is to shop through cash back sites or apps.
Prepare for Christmas 2020
Set a Budget and Make a List
You want to be honest with yourself about how much you can afford to spend not only on gifts but on holiday meals as well. I know that a lot of people have lost jobs or had their hours reduced over this past year so you need to be realistic about what you can purchase this holiday.
Make a list of everyone you need to buy for and how much you will spend per person. Maybe you need to cut some people like co-workers or neighbor gifts. If you can’t buy something, you can always make homemade treats to show that you care and are thinking about them.
Have a Talk with your Kids
Kids are smart, they know that this year is going to be different. They have already seen it with going back to school. I sat down with my daughter, she is 6, and we said that Santa may not be able to bring as many gifts as usual because he may not be able to find all of the parts to make them this year.
We sat down and made her list of the top 10 things she wanted this year for Christmas. This way I can start looking for these items in the store before they sell out and I have some options if I’m not able to get them. She knows she isn’t going to get all of them, but I have more things to choose from.
Check the Hot Toy Lists Early
This is another reason why we went ahead and made my daughter’s list early. She wanted something that was going to be on Walmart’s Hot Toy List that they just released. This is a good idea of what the popular toys will be and what may sell out quickly.
If your child wants something on this list, you may want to go ahead and buy it instead of waiting for the best deal to come around. Inventory is going to be tight this year due to the fact that supply chains are still trying to catch up from the shut down so if you really want to make sure you have it on Christmas morning, start buying now.
Keep in mind that you aren’t just competing with other parents, there are people that will go in and clear the shelves of “hot” toy items to resell on Amazon or Ebay for three times what they are worth.
Call the Stores
Some popular items aren’t even out yet but you can go ahead and pre-order them online. Amazon has a pre-order price guarantee that is awesome for this purpose.
Electronics like TVs, computers, and gaming systems are already hard to find because everyone bought them to stay entertained during the shut down.
Something you might want to do with a hard to find item is to actually pick up the phone and start calling stores. Ask them if they are expecting any new shipments and what day the trucks arrive so you can make sure to be there on that day when they are restocking the shelves.
Save Money for Holiday Shopping
I like using these tips to save for Christmas year round. You can start using these ideas no matter what time of year it is. Every little bit helps.
You can also start thinking about ways to make extra money during the pandemic. This can be taking a seasonal job or just selling things you no longer need. Big retailers like Walmart, Target, and Amazon are already hiring warehouse workers due to the huge demand in online shopping.
If you are struggling financially and are going to need help with food or gifts for your kids this year, make sure you sign up with local charities early to get your name on the list. I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of people that need help this year so make sure you get your family on their radar. Charities like Toys for Tots and The Angel Tree are some ones to start looking into.
I hope these tips will give you are good starting off point to help you prepare for the 2020 holiday season. Try to avoid holiday burnout and really be grateful for everything we have gotten through this year.